Berryessa/North San Jose BART Station
VTA’s Berryessa Transit Center Honored for Commitment to Sustainability
Gretchen Baisa

VTA’s Berryessa Transit Center has been awarded the Envision Platinum Award by The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s (ISI) awards program. The Envision Platinum award recognizes the commitment that VTA has made in improving the area’s environmental resiliency, long-term sustainability, and increasing mobility for local residents. 

Envision sets the standard for sustainable infrastructure. To achieve a Platinum award, a project must demonstrate that it delivers a heightened range of environmental, social and economic benefits to the project implementor  and surrounding  communities. The Envision system examines the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole, through five distinct categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World and Climate, and Resilience. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.

Projects are evaluated based on a robust set of criteria, including traditional methods, such as recycling materials, reducing emissions, and using renewable energy sources.  Construction of the Berryessa Transit Center incorporated aggressive waste diversion goals, potable water reduction, recycled content in concrete, and a project-wide “carbon footprint” analysis was required during construction. Evaluation criteria also includes examining indicators of social and economic sustainability, including the incorporation of community feedback, minimizing construction impacts, providing employment opportunities, and improving mobility options.

Completed as part of the first phase of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley (BSV) Program that will ultimately extend BART service for 16 miles into Santa Clara County, the Berryessa Transit Center currently serves as the southern-most station in the BART system. The second phase of the BSV Program will extend service from the Berryessa Transit Center through Downtown San Jose and terminate in Santa Clara, with early construction anticipated to begin in 2022.

When the 16-mile extension is complete, VTA will have delivered  regional rail service to nearly 2 million county residents ringing the Bay with frequent and reliable rail service. Overall, the Berryessa Transit Center enhances transit and multi-modal connectivity and spurs urban planning efforts that will greatly improve the quality of life for the surrounding community. 

The Berryessa Transit Center incorporates a number of elements, including:
•    A BART commuter rail station 
•    A bus transit center connecting riders to VTA’s frequent and express bus service to downtown San Jose and other destinations throughout Santa Clara County
•    Bicycle storage and cyclist and pedestrian trail connections.
•    A drop-off and pick-up area for passengers and employer shuttles.
•    A multi-story parking garage equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, motion-sensor lighting, and solar panels.
•    A stream and riparian habitat restoration, including a widened floodplain, with all areas replanted with native species to support local wildlife and improve water quality.
•    Public spaces featuring locally created public art and a contemplative garden.

Building on this legacy of sustainability efforts and actions, VTA has issued a Sustainability Charter for the BART to Silicon Valley Phase II Project.  The Charter affirms the project's commitment to sustainability and ultimately commits the project to use the Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system and to be an Envision certified project.  The design teams will include several sustainability elements in design and contract documents to ensure that VTA's sustainability goals and objectives are achieved.

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