BART’s South Bay Expansion Triggers Milpitas Housing Boom

MILPITAS (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County’s history-making first BART train won’t rumble down the track until sometime next summer, but the foundation has already been laid for a massive construction boom that’s poised to transform the transit corridor.

“We’ve planned and approved and constructed nearly 7,000 high density housing units for sale or rent in that area,” said Milpitas Mayor Richard Tran.

The area around the planned Milpitas BART station was once home to office parks and industrial complexes. Most of that has been torn down in favor of brand-new townhomes and apartments.

The idea of pairing transit with housing is not new. But it does begin to reverse a decades-long trend of sprawl — of building far-flung communities further and further from the city center and public transit.

Mayor Tran hopes the people moving into the area will take advantage of the public transportation that forms the backbone of their new neighborhoods.

“We really want to get people off the roads,” Tran said. “Not just for the city but for the region.”

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, roughly 60% of the 22,000 homes built in the Bay Area in 2015, the most recent year for which the data is available, were near and serviced by public transit.

The agency says when people live in close proximity to public transportation, it dramatically increases the likelihood they’ll actually use it.

“For a lot of folks who don’t want to drive, who want to have easy access to transit, these locations are ideal because they can walk to BART or Caltrain or other transit options,” said Ken Kirkey, Director of Development for MTA.

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