BART, VTA in agreement on how to extend rapid transit to San Jose

Authorities say they will likely take a new, innovative and less disruptive approach when bringing BART to downtown San Jose. And local businesses like The City Fish are calling that a victory.

Nestor Zubizarreta of The City Fish says, "There is a relief to that only because they were talking about the double bore being such a mess outside on Santa Clara Street."

The project calls for building five miles of subway over five years, right down the bustling street.

And now the two agencies involved, BART and VTA, announced in a letter that they're in agreement.

They'll forgo a more traditional two-bore project, with trains running in each direction, in favor of a single bore.

This has never been done in the U.S and would involve stacking one set of tracks right on top of the other.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says, "I was able to witness a single bore and how it was being deployed in Europe. I know this is an innovative approach that can save time and can save money and can deliver a safer product."

Critics of the single bore option say the technology is too new and that it would involve learning different safety procedures, but supporters say it may save downtown.

Because it involves a deeper tunnel, utilities and streetscape are left untouched and customers can still access restaurants and shops.

Scott Knies with the San Jose Downtown Business Association says, "The difference between digging up the street for twin bore is like open heart surgery in the middle of the city, versus arthroscopic surgery, laser focused, underneath the street."

At Diaz Menswear, they're hopeful they can survive this construction, like they did when light rail came to downtown decades ago.

Owner, Alfredo Diaz Velasquez says, "Same with VTA, we were worried about it. At the end it brought more customers and so that's a good thing."

Both VTA and BART declined to comment on the recommendation, until after their respective boards vote on it later this month. If all goes well, construction could start in fall of 2019.