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If you build a transit village, will they come? More transit oriented development near BART stations

By dcuff
Saturday, August 14th, 2010 at 12:05 pm in Uncategorized.

A new parking garage is going up at the Richmond BART station as part of a trend of building transit-oriented development near rapid transit stations. Work began Tuesday on a six-story parking garage that will free up space for construction of 100 homes at the station, reports Katherine Tam in the Contra Costa Times.

The parking garage at McDonald Avenue and 15th Street is part of the city’s 16-acre Richmond Transit Village. The project is  is aimed at revitalizing downtown Richmond and easing congestion and air pollution by providing homes and businesses close to BART. If BART is so near, residents of the transit villages won’t drive so much, the thinking goes. A similar strategy is behind transit village projects finished or underway near the following stations: Pleasant Hill, Dublin, west Dublin (the station under construction), El Cerrito Del Norte, Fruitvale, South San Francisco and Union City. 

As I drive to work past the Pleasant Hill BART station on Treat Boulevard,  I see the multi-story apartment and condo project being built there. The Avalon Walnut Creek project (it’s actually in an unincorporated area outside any city limits) will have 422 apartments and 100 condos. As far as riding public transit, these units couldn’t be in a more convenient spot. It will be a short stroll to the BART station turnstyle. How easy  if you want to hop a train to a job near a BART station, or go to San Francisco on the weekends. But as Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge asked about the project, if you build a transit village, will they come?

It’s a soft rental market these days. One bedroom apartments at Avalon Walnut Creek are renting for $1,845 to $2095 a month; two bedroom apartments are being advertised at $2,300 to $2,700 per month, according to the Web site for the development. You can rent houses with yards at or below those prices in many areas of Central Contra Costa County. But then again, those houses won’t be a short stroll from a BART station.

Would these new apartments near BART appeal to you? Would you or you friends live there? Share your thoughts below.

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