Will BART Spend Big Bucks To Change Station's Name?

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Take us to the 'Centre'! Tally-ho!
BART's board of directors is scheduled today to vote on whether the name of one of its stations should be made longer, more complicated -- and more expensive.

At the behest of both municipal and corporate interests, BART may today opt to change the name of Pleasant Hill station to Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre in order to reflect the 140-acre, 2,800 residential unit development adjacent to the station, which is also a business park. And while altering signage, maps, and schedules would cost an estimated $413,000, one director we spoke with is leaning toward making the change. 

"I think I'm okay with it. I wasn't before," said San Francisco BART board member Tom Radulovich. "We've been trying for a long time to create a place around that station through the joint development we've been doing and direct development. I thought 'Contra Costa Centre' sounded a little too much like a business park. And the 're' bugs me. But that's increasingly what the county, the businesses, and the residents all call it."

It warrants mentioning that Pleasant Hill Station, counter-intuitively, is not in Pleasant Hill. It sits in unincorporated land within Walnut Creek's "sphere of influence" and has a Walnut Creek address -- but it isn't technically there, either.

Radulovich says he'll cast his vote based on how much money  the Contra Costa County Redevelopment Agency and developer AvalonBay Communities are willing to kick in to offset the aforementioned costs. "Hopefully, they'll pay for all of it."

But even if BART doesn't get this move subsidized by outside interests, Radulovich figures the name change still isn't off the table. That's because he sees the $413,000 figure as the costs that would be incurred if BART immediately ran out and changed all of its maps, signage, schedules, etc. He'd rather save that money by changing the name on materials at the time they're due to be replaced rather than replacing them solely for this potential name change.

"If the developers aren't interested in paying for it, I don't know we have half a million dollars to reprint everything. So we could do it incrementally," he says. "People have called it 'Pleasant Hill BART' [since 1973]. They're not going to call it 'Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre' immediately. I don't think it'd be any great tragedy if some of our printed materials say 'Pleasant Hill.'"

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