Hercules is a city in western Contra Costa County, California. Situated along the coast of San Pablo Bay, it is located in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 10 miles (16 km) north of Berkeley. Hercules has a 2010 population of 24,060 according to the U.S. Census.
Public transportation is available through the WestCat bus system. The operator provides local and school buses throughout Hercules and to the neighboring cities of Rodeo, Pinole, and Richmond among other areas. WestCat also offers express buses to the county seat at Martinez, the El Cerrito del Norte BART station and the San Francisco Transbay Terminal. Its major hub is Hercules Transit Center the proposed location of a future Bay Area Rapid Transit station in BART’s 20 year plan.
In 2000, the City of Hercules chartered an urban-design-based land use planning effort. This plan attempted to balance the preservation of the city’s undeveloped land against continued suburban sprawl and to redevelop the city’s formerly industrial waterfront.
The resulting plan directs that Hercules be turned into a transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use town.
On May 23, 2006, the Hercules city council voted unanimously to use its power of eminent domain to prevent Wal-Mart from building a store on an undeveloped 17-acre (69,000 m2) property overlooking San Pablo Bay which it deemed incompatible with the industrial waterfront redevelopment project. In 2009 the city purchased the land back from Wal-Mart.