The biggest parking lot in the South County could end up being built in Lathrop.

Ultimately 30 acres of parking that will be built as part of the Valley Link/Altamont Corridor Express transfer station on unused federal land that was once part of the Sharpe Army Depot could accommodate upwards of 3,500 vehicles.

In comparison, there are 550 parking spaces at the Big League Dreams sports complex and 1,922 parking spaces at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops.

The parking lot for the transfer stations is referenced in the environmental document for Valley Link approved in May by the Tri Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority.

The initial demand calls for 10 acres of parking to be developed. The remaining 20 acres are anticipated to handle increased demand through 2040.

 The authority board adopted the preferred alternative for the 42-mile 7-station Valley Link project. The decision will allow the authority to move forward with design and step up efforts to secure additional funding to bring relief to the Altamont Pass corridor that currently accommodates more than 97,000 commuters on a daily basis.

The new commuter rail service will connect the Central Valley with the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station. The project will provide 74 daily round trips and is expected to carry more than 33,000 daily riders by 2040. The EIR determined the project will result in the reduction of approximately 141 million vehicle miles traveled per year by 2040, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The first Valley Link trains could be placed into service in 2028.  

Stations will also be built at River Islands, Tracy, Mountain House, Greenville Road, Isabel Avenue in Livermore and adjacent to the Pleasanton/Dublin BART station.

The River Islands station will have two parking lots. One accessed from River Islands and the other from a lot with access to Manthey Road that has an interchange with Interstate 5 between the 120 Bypass and Interstate 205.

“People continue to suffer in their daily lives with anguishing super commutes,” noted Tracy Mayor Pro Tem, who serves as chair of the Valley Link board. “This hurts our environment. It hurts our economy. But importantly, it translates to the loss of 28 days per year on average for each individual commuter – and this hurts our communities and our families.”

The Valley Link job will create 22,000 jobs during construction. Once the system is operational it will support 400 jobs.

ACE is expected to start running three trains from Ceres to Natomas north of Sacramento in 2023 that would eventually stop in North Lathrop to allow transfers to Valley Link. A fourth train will run from Ceres to San Jose.

All four trains will stop in Modesto, Ripon, and downtown Manteca. The Natomas bound trains will also stop in Stockton and Elk Grove.