College Avenue Safeway rebuild

 Complaints and  emergency information:

 Retrofit work progress:

 Construction overview:

Impacted areas

BART Sept. 08 Town Hall presentation

 Construction standards:

  • Noise
  • Light standards coming!

 Archived articles:



May 1, 2009: New BART Retrofit Stage Disrupts Parking

Stage one of the BART Earthquake Safety Program construction at the Rockridge Station is currently nearing completion. The contractor will be moving into stages two and three on the opposite (east) side of College Ave. 

The construction impacts will be similar to the work currently underway. The new work requires temporary relocation of some disabled parking spaces, but BART says the total number of disabled spaces will not be reduced.  Relocated disabled spaces will temporarily replace adjacent monthly reserved permit parking spaces, but additional monthly reserved permit parking spaces will be available in the western lot on the opposite side of College Ave. In addition, the elevator will remain open and in service. Please watch for relocation signs and other information.  BART also says they will attempt to minimize construction-related noise, dust and inconvenience.upcoming work

A related project to strengthen columns over the remainder of the western parking lot and nearby streets will occur in the future.  Earthquake Safety Program construction will be underway at various locations throughout the BART system over the next five years, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

RCPC has been working with BART to mitigate noise problems.  If you would like to report any issues with the project please email  If you would like more information about the project from BART, please visit the BART website at or call (510) 874-7425.

May 1, 2009: RCPC takes BART to task on project noise

Rockridge residents have, since January, become familiar with the routine annoyances associated with the seismic retrofit project at the Rockridge BART station. Blocked sidewalks, coned-off traffic lanes, missing spaces in the BART parking lot, giant trucks full of construction debris – they’ve all had to be accepted as a necessary part of protecting BART and area residents from major post-earthquake damage.

The construction noise, however, has often been almost unbearable. It’s also violated BART’s own construction site regulations. RCPC brought the problem to BART’s attention, and changes for the better can already be seen and (not) noise signheard.

When BART put forward its plans for the seismic retrofit project several years ago, federal law required the agency to consider and to mitigate the project’s environmental impacts. One mitigation required that sound levels be limited and barriers be in place in particularly noisy work areas. BART was granted a legislative exemption from state environmental law (the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)), premised on the agency’s promise to alleviate project impacts.

When construction began, however, the contractor was apparently unaware of the sound level requirements. The project involves removing and replacing large sections of the subterranean concrete supports for the pillars supporting BART’s elevated structures. Breaking up concrete is noisy work; the only barriers installed were sheets of green canvas partially surrounding the construction sites.

BART had promised to keep sound levels below 85 decibels (dB). RCPC measured construction sound levels at the nearby AC Transit bus stop on the east side of College Avenue at above 90 dB. Sound levels along the pedestrian walkway BART had opened on the west side of the station to replace barricaded sidewalk areas were even higher – above 95 dB.

RCPC brought the matter to BART’s attention in late February, and used the California Public Records Act to obtain copies of the sound measurements made by BART’s contractor. The records also showed the regulations were being violated.

BART has begun to change the contrac-tor’s behavior, and the results are evident. Sound barriers have been placed around noise-intensive operations. At least one piece of equipment not meeting BART’s construc-tion regulations has been banished.

RCPC will continue to monitor sound levels at the BART retrofit construction site, especially as the work moves closer to Claremont Middle School and residences.

December 31, 2008: BART Station Retrofit Underway

District 3 BART Board Director and Rockridge resident Bob Franklin points to the beginnings of the Rockridge station seismic retrofit construction program. When the project is completed, the station and tracks will be able to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

Proceding in stages, the retrofit work will first reinforce the station’s stairways and escalators, and the canopy over the train platform. Subsequent work will reinforce every support column for the overhead tracks.

“Ironically,” said Franklin, “the current economic environment has enabled BART to expand its seismic refit projects.” The bids to retrofit the BART system have been extremely competitive, coming in at half the expected cost, he explained. “As a result, BART is able to expand its seismic safety program beyond its initial scope to additional parts of the District.

The additional retrofit work will improve the survivability for an expanded portion of the BART system, including the Concord maintenance shop. If a large earthquake were to hit, access to an additional shop would help greatly in servicing cars and facilities on the Pittsburg/ Bay Point line,” Franklin said.

Current project information is available by phone at 510/874-7425, and at BART’s construction information Web site: http://


As part of BART's system-wide Earthquake Safety Program, they will begin strengthening structures at the Rockridge Station to withstand future earthquakes. The work requires temporary relocation of some reserved permit parking spaces, but the number of monthly reserved permit spaces will not be reduced. Relocated permit spaces will temporarily replace adjacent daily fee parking spaces. The total number of daily fee parking spaces will be reduced to make space for the work. Please watch for relocation signs and other information.

Work will occur in four stages, beginning early December in the western permit parking area. The diagram below shows the approximate location of each stage. To reduce the effect of the loss of spaces in Stage 4, attended parking will be provided. Stage 4 will likely begin mid 2009. Attendants will issue tickets to ensure safe return of your vehicle, and normal BART fees and validation will remain in effect. Attendants will be in uniform and present during Stage 4 between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, Monday through Friday. BART appreciates your patience and cooperation during this work and will attempt to minimize construction-related noise, dust and inconvenience.

October 3, 2008: BART SETS LATE NOVEMBER 2008 START DATE FOR MASSIVE STATION RETROFIT. "It is heavy-duty construction; we don’t want to sugarcoat that.” That was how BART spokeswoman Catherine Westphall described the earthquake retrofit work scheduled to begin at the Rockridge station at the end of 2008. At the RCPC Town Hall meeting held at the Rockridge Library on September 18, Westphall and BART colleague Molly McArthur outlined the construction plans and answered questions from residents concerned about the project’s impact on the neighborhood.

Station work areasBART’s key priority, according to Westphall, is to keep the station open and the trains running throughout the year-long project. The work will, therefore, be done in two phases: the first will include the station itself and the east parking lot; the second phase will involve the larger west lot. In the station, stairways and escalators will be reinforced, along with the canopy over the train platform.

Column retrofit detailIn the parking lot, each and every support column for the overhead tracks must be retrofitted to survive a 7.5 earthquake. First, the buried foundation will be excavated, and then expanded and reinforced with steel and concrete. After that, a steel jacket will be welded around the pillar above ground, similar to the freeway supports retrofitted by CalTrans several years ago.

With such extensive work going on in the parking lot, as many as 100 parking stalls at a time will not be usable. To ease the impact, BART plans to use attendants to park cars. By squeezing the vehicles close together in areas not affected by construction, BART hopes to keep the loss of parking to only 40 spaces. The parking procedures and hours of operation are still being worked out, but McArthur said there will be no additional fee for the attended parking. The lost spaces will be taken from the allotment of daily parking stalls. The number of reserved stalls will remain the same, as will the existing parking reservation program.

Noise was a major concern brought up by residents attending the meeting. McArthur explained that there will be a monitoring system in place, and residents are encouraged to call with their noise complaints. If the decibel limit is exceeded, a duty officer will have the authority to shut down the work and the contractor will be penalized.

Most construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but some work — particularly work done to the station — will have to go on during the night. Also of concern was the effect the construction would have on nearby Claremont Middle School. BART has met with Claremont principal David Chambliss three times to discuss security and safety for students. Halting construction during school hours was not practical, McArthur explained. “The faster this construction gets done and away from the school, the better for everybody,” she said.

BART expects the work to start as early as November, but the actual construction schedule has not been determined by the contractor, the William P. Young Company of San Leandro. BART plans to distribute flyers to passengers and residents before any work begins. There will also be an information hotline at 510/874-7425.

Residents can sign up for e-mail alerts and check the construction schedule at the BART Web site:

The $4.9 million project at the Rockridge station is just a small part of the entire BART earthquake retrofit program. Other raised track support columns throughout the Rockridge area will also be reinforced, including those at the intersection of Hudson Street and Claremont Avenue. This will affect Hardy Park and the casual carpool loading zone some time in the coming year. Part of the Hardy Park basketball courts and the dog run will be taken up by construction work, but the unaffected portions will remain open to the public. The carpool loading zone will be moved farther east on Hudson Street until the work is done.

The BART officials emphasized that the project will not be considered complete until all areas are returned to their original condition. BART will withhold 10% of the contract amount from contractor until the restoration is approved. Funding for the entire BART retrofit comes from Proposition AA, a $980 million bond measure passed in 2004 by voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties.