Pitch in on Powell BART station redesign

Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are asking riders what improvements would they like to see inside and outside an upgraded Powell station.

Modernizing the BART Powell station with better lighting on the concourse level and the station platform, a new ceiling, replacing the platform tiles, better Wi-Fi and making sure the station is clean are just some of the items BART will focus on.

Graphic: BART ridership by station, May 2014.

Tim Chan, principal planner for BART, said the station averages around 30,000 riders per day. Chan said the transit projects ridership to increase by 17,000 by year 2040 because of all the planned development and growth in the City:

“It’s going to get busy so we have to make all these upgrades within 20 years.”

Chan listed several problems that BART riders have already identified including cleanliness, difficult-to-understand live announcements, and better accessibility for the disabled.

BART staff were at the Hallidie Plaza entrance during the Monday evening rush-hour commute asking riders to take a survey on what types of improvements they would like to see in the station.

BART rider Charlyne Hardy put cleanliness on top of her list of station improvements. She said BART should keep Powell and the rest of the stations cleaned and well-maintained.

One project that is for sure happening is the replacement of the ceiling. Chan said the transit agency plans to first patch up all the water leaks and then ask riders to choose a ceiling design for the entire station.

Another idea that still in the works is reopening the bathrooms. The transit agency closed the bathrooms since 9/11 because of security reasons, but also for the amount of criminal activity that occurs in them like drug usage and vandalism, said Chan.

He said the transit agency is working on a pilot on reopening the bathrooms, but is not sure at which station yet:

“The pilot will allow us to maybe redesign the restrooms so that it is more transparent. Not completely open so that everyone can see, but at least allowing more transparency so that our BART police can see if there’s any criminal activity going on.”

Officials are also looking to possibly put art pieces to make the station more inviting for visitors.

The transit agency had budgeted $7.5 million just for the ceiling replacement and $10 million for the rest of station’s redesign. Funds for the project are from state Proposition 1B.

Chan said the transit agency has until June 30, 2018 to spend the state funding, which means the Powell station redesign must be completed by that date as well.

He said riders can expect construction to start in 2016.

Riders who missed both open houses earlier this week can also take an online survey until July 7.