Infrastructure and Reliability
Many of our current BART trains were purchased in 1972, and have been driven over a million miles. Some cars are so old that BART staff are forced to find replacement parts on eBay, and are running on the same technology Atari used to create Pong. It is impossible to get the functionality we need out of our current equipment.
The recently passed BART Bond is intended to address the infrastructure needs of the system, including track, tunnels, and mechanical infrastructure. These measures are important but not enough to make up for the decades of deferred maintenance. I will ensure that bond funds are appropriately spent and expeditiously used to ensure the long-term functionality of the BART system. I will leverage BART’s unique assets, including land and retail space, to bring in new revenue and replace our aging equipment.
"I have always believed in the original promise of BART: clean, modern, efficient transportation. As an urban planner and a San Franciscan, I know how important BART is to our region. We’ve all relied on BART at some point, whether it’s to get to work, school, or the airport - BART is a critical part of life in the Bay Area."
Quality of Ride: Accessibility, Cleanliness and Safety
When most people think about BART, we don’t think of a safe and comfortable experience. Escalators are frequently out of service and elevators are not frequently cleaned. People who depend on service elevators often find them unpleasant and unsanitary. BART platforms lack garbage receptacles, forcing riders to litter on train cars. Most stations do not have open restrooms, an easy solution that would solve many sanitary issues.
As a BART Director, I would prioritize funding to ensure that our stations are regularly cleaned and address regular repairs of elevators and escalators. Simple, common-sense measures like adding trash bins and opening clean public restrooms would help to alleviate the unsanitary behavior that happens on platforms, elevators and trains.
Overcrowding and Congestion
Over the last year, BART has seen a decline in ridership. On-time performance is down to 87% - meaning some riders are late almost once a week. Extreme overcrowding on train cars and platforms have led to uncomfortable and unsafe conditions for passengers.
As a result, commuters are choosing other ways to travel outside of BART, including driving. More drivers on our highways and streets not only hurts the environment, but brings more congestion into San Francisco.
New train cars are coming online to increase capacity and reduce overcrowding. I will continue to find ways to upgrade our trains to keep up with the modern demands of BART riders, improve reliability, and provide a better rider experience. As a BART Director, I will fiercely advocate for a second Transbay Tube for BART from the East Bay to San Francisco - the only real solution to overcrowding and reliability.
Smart Land Use: Affordable and Sustainable
The Bay Area is expected to add 2 million more residents by 2040, causing a 40% increase in ridership for BART. This kind of growth can only be successful with focused maintenance of the core system and thoughtful development. BART owns significant plots of land throughout the Bay Area and has the opportunity to incentivize smart growth.
By using technology to increase ridesharing and carpooling, BART can free up parking spaces. This valuable land can then be used to create housing and economic development opportunities around BART stations - where development should always be focused. BART has a responsibility to be a leader in regional development. As a planner with years of experience in land use and development, I can lead this evolution and hold communities accountable. Every city in the region must do their fair share in building housing - especially dense housing around transit stations.
In addition to the valuable land around the stations, the BART stations themselves have enormous value. Transit stations throughout the world are economic drivers for their cities, and are used to provide retail and services for commuters. BART can do the same. A smart, progressive leasing program can give BART stations coffee shops, small storefronts, and commuter services. Adding active uses to stations not only brings in new revenue, it is a proven strategy to improve safety. We cannot continue to improve BART without leveraging the value of its stations to incentivize sustainable growth and development.
Homelessness in BART
BART stations in San Francisco have become a refuge for the homeless. Neither BART nor the City of San Francisco are willing to engage on the issue - leaving riders and people who are homeless to suffer the consequences.
As BART Director, I would work with the City of San Francisco and homeless advocacy organizations to break this stalemate. The people seeking refuge in our BART stations deserve compassion, dignity and services. They cannot continue to be ignored. The City and BART need to coordinate homeless outreach to help secure housing and services for homeless people.
With my experience working on homeless issues in San Francisco, I have the relationships and expertise to build a bridge between these two local governments. BART can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening in its stations, and the City of San Francisco must care for its residents.