City Council Review: BART to Santa Clara? Maybe, Maybe Not

By Robert Haugh

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) staff gave an update on the “BART Phase II Project and the associated Transit Oriented Development Corridor Strategies and Access Planning Study.”

The VTA staff gave a lot of interesting info. But they couldn’t answer some big questions.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Karen Hardy raised the issue of how VTA proposed cutting the Santa Clara BART station in the past. So lots of people in this community don’t trust them. (Thanks to the Mayor for referencing the people who read our story on NextDoor.)

The VTA staff said a Santa Clara station was important for lots of reasons. One of them is that they need tracks in Santa Clara for a maintenance facility. But they couldn’t offer any guarantees.

Councilwoman Debi Davis asked about land acquisition and funding. VTA hasn’t purchased a key property on Brokaw for the Santa Clara station. VTA staff said they’ll try and do without it by redesigning the station.  They also couldn’t say if we’ll need another tax if federal funds don’t come through.

New Friendship City for the Mission City

Earlier this month, the Cultural Commission recommended Santa Clara become a Friendship City with Icheon City, Republic of Korea. The Council made it official last night. Mayor Gillmor will do a video “signing ceremony” today.

Our current Sister Cities are:

  • Coimbra, Portugal, established on August 4, 1974;

  • Izumo, Japan, established on October 11, 1986; and

  • Limerick, Ireland, established on August 1, 2014.

A “Friendship City” is different from a Sister City. It’s often the first stage before cities become Sister Cities. It’s not required, but Santa Clara has a practice of setting up Friendship City relationships. We did that with Limerick, Ireland and, most recently, Nagpur, India.

Healthier Kids Foundation

The Council decided to withhold a Request for Funding from the Healthier Kids Foundation. They wanted $210,000 for FY2019/20 to FY2021/22 for Dental, Hearing and Vision screenings and Case Management Services.

Some council members asked questions about why this issue was funded in the past without a competitive bid. Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill asked whether or not this was a top city priority. No one really answered.

But they decided to extend the current contract until the end of the year. That will allow City staff to figure out a competitive process.

Editor’s Note: All Council Members were in attendance at this meeting.


  1. Why bring BART into our city at all? The criminal element that comes with it will not be good. Just look at all the problems with BART-associated crime in Alameda County. Being the end of the line makes it even worse.

    • Stanley, your comment is ridiculous, this entire entire needs to be connected to BART and other forms of public transit. I traffic in this area is ungodly and the only way around it is to have better public transit. If you want to live in an area that is not well connected, I would suggest you move further into the country but this is a city and part of a very large area.

  2. Using Santa Clara’s precious property to park 200 trains is something only BART could propose. San Jose has miles and miles of undeveloped property, Santa Clara does not.

    This could be just part of their ongoing fantasy. Let’s hope the genius’s at BART find another place to park their trains.

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