BART presents options for Market Street canopies

Broken-down escalators at some Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in San Francisco is something BART riders are familiar with.

Just this Thursday, BART posted an escalator update on its website that one of the Powell Street station street level escalators will be out of service until April 24 to replace the steps.

Some good news is coming, though, for riders tired of seeing escalators out of service. Still a few years away from completion, BART officials are moving forward with adding canopy enclosures and replacing some of its worst performing escalators at BART station entrances in San Francisco along Market Street.

Tim Chan, a manager of planning with BART, said the transit agency is holding another round of public outreach events next week to share preliminary designs of the canopy entrance from VIA Architecture. It held outreach events last December in the Civic and Powell BART stations.

Chan presented some of those designs at a meeting with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Policy and Governance board Friday. He discussed the next phase of the project with SFMTA staff and directors.

Phase One of the project includes adding canopies at two Powell station entrances, one in front of Ross and the other in front of the Diesel store. The other canopy is for the Civic Center station in front of the CVS Pharmacy store, Chan said.

BART said it plans get to the final design completed by this fall and then request for bids for the construction of the canopies in spring 2016. Chan said the completion date of the first phase is late 2017.

Chan said the plan includes replacing escalators which have been among the transit agency’s worst performing:

“We’re coming in with new manufacturers with tested technology.”

A quarterly report from BART between October and December of last year showed escalator availability on the street level was 89.37 percent, which was down from 93.17 percent from the previous quarter. The transit agency’s goal is 95 percent.

The December storm last year caused problems for many of the escalators, said BART.

Chan said the canopies will help protect the escalators from weather-related issues and also quality of life issues like encampment:

“It’s going to allow it to function better. That’s a huge part of the operability and performance of that.”

Other considerations for the design included transparent materials for visibility and safety, making sure the canopies does not impact adjacent storefronts and also providing a structure that is not climbable.

BART is also seeking the riders opinion on what type of artwork they would like to see on the ceiling of the canopy like historic photos or something more contemporary. Chan said the ceiling has great potential for artwork:

“We’ve been talking a lot about art both internally and with The City and how we develop a process that is going to allow local and international artists to come in and put their stamp and doing something meaningful and really wow our users and stakeholders and really put this canopy on the world map.”

He said BART is developing an art policy in the next several months, which would include the how artists can submit work to potential projects and also establishing a budget.

About $12 million from state Proposition 1B funds will go toward for the first phase of the project, said Chan.

The second phase of the project, which will include the rest of Civic Center and Powell station entrances, will be funded through a mix of the 2014 San Francisco voter-approved Proposition A and state Prop. 1B funds. Chan said the funds will provide an additional $48 million for the second phase of the project.

Funding has not been identified yet for the Montgomery and Embarcadero stations.

The canopies are part of BART’s efforts to modernize and improve stations. In March, BART debuted a glass canopy at the 19th Street station entrance.

Outreach Events

  • April 21
    BART Civic Center Station 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    BART Powell Station 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • April 23
    BART Powell Station 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    BART Civic Center Station 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.