Downtown Berkeley station

Last updated
Downtown Berkeley
Richmond-bound train at Downtown Berkeley station, June 2019.JPG
Richmond-bound train at Downtown Berkeley station in June 2019
Location2160 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California
Coordinates 37°52′11″N122°16′06″W / 37.869799°N 122.268197°W / 37.869799; -122.268197 Coordinates: 37°52′11″N122°16′06″W / 37.869799°N 122.268197°W / 37.869799; -122.268197
Owned by BART
Line(s) BART R-Line
Platforms1 island platform
ConnectionsAiga bus trans.svg AC Transit: 6, 7, 18, 51B, 52, 65, 67, 79, 88, 800, 851, F, FS
Aiga bus trans.svg Bear Transit: C, H, P, R, RFS
Disabled accessYes
OpenedJanuary 29, 1973
Previous namesBerkeley (1973-1995)
202010,917 (weekday average) [1]
Preceding station Bart compact logo.svg Bay Area Rapid Transit Following station
toward Millbrae
Richmond–​Millbrae North Berkeley
toward Richmond
Ashby Berryessa/​North San José–​Richmond
Downtown Berkeley station

Downtown Berkeley is a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway station located in Downtown Berkeley of Berkeley, California, United States, one of three stations in the city.



Southern Pacific

The Central Pacific Railroad opened its Berkeley Branch Railroad to the intersection of Shattuck and University Avenues on August 16, 1876. [2] Early civic leader Francis K. Shattuck donated land for the railroad and its depot, and subsidized the initial construction. [3] Berkeley was the terminus of the line until 1878, when it was extended northwest along Shattuck. The Central Pacific was leased by the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) in 1885, then transferred to its Northern Railway subsidiary in 1888. [2] The first Berkeley station was a small wooden building at the northwest corner of Center Street and Shattuck; it was replaced in the 1890s by a slightly larger by still modest station. [3] [4]

On October 26, 1903, the Key System began electric commuter rail operation from Berkeley to the San Francisco ferries - a direct threat to the SP's steam-hauled trains - on a line that paralleled the SP tracks on Shattuck. [5] Around that time, Cal president Benjamin Ide Wheeler and other prominent Berkeley academics lobbied SP president E. H. Harriman for an improved train station to complement John Galen Howard's emerging architectural style for the nearby University of California, Berkeley. [3] Finally, the devastating 1906 earthquake and subsequent rebuilding "served as a powerful incentive to expedite the project". [3]

Surveying work began in June 1906; that September, SP management announced their intentions to convert their suburban lines to a frequent electric service to compete with the Key System. [3] The new station, an elegant red brick structure with buff terracotta trim, red tile roof, and a colonnade, opened on April 9, 1908. It was officially designed by SP architect Daniel J. Patterson in a similar style to Émile Bénard's original plans for the university, though the high quality of its design and circumstantial evidence led some historians to believe it was actually designed by Howard. [3] The SP lines were fully electrified in 1911. [5]


Entrance to the Berkeley BART station (bottom right) as seen shortly after the station opened in 1973 Berkeley BART Station 1973 Postcard.jpg
Entrance to the Berkeley BART station (bottom right) as seen shortly after the station opened in 1973

Downtown Berkeley opened on January 29, 1973, as part of the extension from MacArthur to Richmond, with service southward to Fremont until the opening of the Transbay Tube and subsequent service to San Francisco later that year. [6] The station was designed by Maher & Martens of San Francisco in collaboration with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tudor Construction, and Bechtel. [7]

In 1995, BART changed the name of the station from "Berkeley" to "Downtown Berkeley" in an effort to minimize confusion between this station and North Berkeley.[ citation needed ]

Removal of rotunda

New main entrance to the station. New Downtown Berkeley BART entrance.jpg
New main entrance to the station.

A station and plaza renovation project began construction on August 29, 2016 [8] and opened to the public on October 19, 2018. [9] The new plaza includes new lighting, landscaping, drainage, paving, and bus shelters in the overground plaza of the station. The old main rotunda entrance has been removed and was replaced by a glass entrance structure similar to those in Downtown Oakland. [10] The $11.2 million project is funded primarily by BART, with additional funding from the City of Berkeley, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Alameda County. A further project to renovate the underground station interior is in the planning stages. [11]

The entrances on the southern end of the station were closed from April 13, 2020, to June 12, 2021, due to low ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic. [12]

Station layout

Like most underground BART stations, Downtown Berkeley has two levels: a mezzanine containing the faregates and an island platform with two tracks. Access to the station is provided by five street-level entrances on Shattuck Avenue, with two at Addison Street and Allston Way each and one at the southwest corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. [13] The escalators at the latter were topped by an 24-sided rotunda featuring artwork of the UCB Botanical Garden.

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  1. "Monthly Ridership Reports". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. February 2020.
  2. 1 2 Robertson, Donald B. (1986). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: California. Caxton Press. p. 77. ISBN   9780870043857 via Google Books.
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  4. "Berkeley, Alameda Co., Cal". Charles A. Bailey. 1890 via Online Archive of California.
  5. 1 2 "A pictorial history of public transportation in the East Bay, commemorating the achievements of the last century - from the beginning of the first train and ferry service in 1863 to the vast transportation network of today operated by the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District" (PDF). Transit Times. Vol. 6 no. 5. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District. September 1963. pp. 17, 26.
  6. "BART CHRONOLOGY" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-13.
  7. Cerny, Susan (2007). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Gibbs Smith. p. 502. ISBN   978-1-58685-432-4.
  8. Pao, Roann (30 August 2016). "Construction begins on Downtown Berkeley BART station plaza". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  9. Dinkelspiel, Frances (October 19, 2018). "New Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza opens to fanfare". Berkeleyside. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  10. Bay Area Rapid Transit District. "Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza and Transit Area Improvement Project" . Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  11. Bay Area Rapid Transit District. "Downtown Berkeley Station Modernization" . Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  12. "BART opens all entrances/exits that were previously closed due to pandemic" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. June 12, 2021.
  13. "Downtown Berkeley Station map". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2019.