Gilroy Crossings Connection to start up Nov. 12; will end in
front of new Wal-Mart
Gilroy – Buses will soon be running to the Wal-Mart Supercenter.
For the first time, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will provide bus service to the Pacheco Pass Shopping Center north of Highway 152.
“This is awesome,” said Dina Campeau, a social services expert who works on transportation issues in Gilroy. “The Wal-Mart stop is right in front of the store, which is a great thing because you don’t want older people walking across that huge parking lot.”
The center has been without service for more than a year even though it employs thousands of workers and attracts tens of thousands of shoppers to Costco, Best Buy and more than 730,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Buses could not service the center because the road that leads into it, Camino Arroyo, is a dead-end without room for a 40-foot VTA bus to turn around. Until now, shoppers and workers had to take a bus to the Gilroy Crossing Shopping Center, make a long walk and risk crossing eight lanes of busy Pacheco Pass traffic.
Campeau said the problem lingered as long as it did in part because transportation has not dominated the city’s agenda.
“Until very recently, [city leaders] did not care very much about transportation issues of Gilroy residents,” Campeau said. “It has not been a priority.
To solve the problem, Wal-Mart agreed to allow VTA buses into its parking lot. Wal-Mart employees declined to comment for this article, but VTA spokeswoman Jayme Kunz said the critical issue was responsibility for the damage heavy buses will ultimately do to the asphalt in the store’s parking lot. Wal-Mart ultimately agreed to maintain its lot.
Craig Gartman, who suggested the route the VTA adopted for Wal-Mart service, praised the agency for addressing a long-standing problem.
“I am pleasantly surprised at the expedience on both Wal-Mart and VTA’s part to make this happen,” Gartman said. “It just shows that when you go up there and present your case, great things can happen.”
Called the Gilroy Crossings Connection, the new service will begin Saturday, Nov. 12. It will originate at the Caltrain station, make stops south and north of Pacheco Pass and terminate in front of Wal-Mart. In January, the service will be incorporated into the regular route 17 bus service.
Ultimately, the problem will be solved by a planned bridge that will cross over Llagas Creek and connect the shopping centers north and south of Sixth Street. But that bridge is at least two years away.