West Berkeley Rail Stop & Transit Plaza Improvements

Berkeley, California

City of Berkeley

Redevelopment Agency

Lead Consultant

1999 - 2006

In 2000 the City of Berkeley decided to begin design development for the Amtrak Stop and Transit Plaza improvements. For this design effort, Community Design + Architecture led a team that included Land Studio - landscape architects, LCC, Inc. - civil engineers, and Silverman & Light - lighting. The project also involved a variety of city departments (planning, engineering, transportation, redevelopment, and the City Managers Office), and on-going coordination with transportation agencies and organizations (AC Transit, Capitol Corridor JPA, Amtrak, Pacific, and Caltrans).

The Rail Stop and Transit Plaza are located under the University Avenue overpass and are served by the increasingly popular Capitol Corridor rail service and three AC Transit bus lines. The buses also use the transit plaza for lay over. In their previous condition the transit facilities were an uncomfortable place to wait for train or bus service and patrons reported a general lack of safety. The new design focuses on improvements of the pedestrian environment by providing widened sidewalks, landscape buffers to adjacent parking lots, new site furniture, and new, brighter, and pedestrian-scale lighting. A custom-design steel and glass canopy gives identity to the previously nondescript appearance of the rail stop and provides additional shelter from the elements. Information kiosks offer visitors viable information about the City, its cultural and arts scene, and the East Bay Parks system. Underneath the overpass, the parking spaces have been reorganized around a new, raised path that provides enhanced access to the transit facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. Planting beds between the boarding platforms and adjacent uses, and a row of trees along the historic train station round out the transformation of the area into an environment that supports a pleasant transit experience.

Construction of the project was completed in February of 2006.