Noe Valley Voice April 2002

BART to Unveil 30th Street Station Study

By Karen Topakian

Would it be practical to build a new underground BART station at 30th and Mission streets? That is the question the Bay Area Rapid Transit system has been trying to answer for the past year and a half.

BART is now ready to present the findings of its 30th Street/Mission Station Feasibility Study and to get feedback from the public at a community meeting on Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m., at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Avenue.

The study, funded through a $400,000 grant secured by BART Director Tom Radulovich and California Assemblywoman Carole Migden, allowed BART to hire engineers to assess the costs of construction and operation of a new station at that site. Transit planners also looked at the impact a new stop would have on service throughout the system.

BART has previously co-hosted two community meetings at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on the 30th Street station idea. At the first meeting in November 2000, BART staff described the project and asked residents and merchants to help narrow down the options for review. At a second meeting, held last October, BART outlined several possible station configurations and explained why some might have "fatal flaws." The planners then presented two alternatives, which were to be further evaluated for construction, operation, and maintenance costs.

The upcoming April meeting is the third and last in the process of incorporating all the concerns of residents living in the Mission, Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, and Fairmount neighborhoods.

Peter Albert, manager of BART planning for San Francisco and the West Bay, says he hopes to have the study in hand at the April meeting, but at a minimum he will provide an executive summary for the people in attendance.

"We've done our part as a planning agency," says Albert. However, many hurdles remain before a station can be built. He points out that one of the criteria for establishing a new BART station is showing ample ridership within walking distance of the stop.

"The next step in developing this idea would be some intensive planning with the community. The city would have to co-lead any planning process if it is serious about the station, because the decisions about land use, housing, transit access, and traffic in the surrounding area are out of BART's jurisdiction," Albert says. "The city would also have to help find the money to pay for that planning process."

Albert notes that one of the primary incentives for studying the new station was the distance between the 24th Street and Glen Park stations, which is the longest between any two BART stations in San Francisco. BART opened the last San Francisco station at the Embarcadero in 1976.

In other BART news, Albert reports that the southwest plaza at 16th Street is 50 percent complete, with a scheduled completion date of late summer 2002.

As for the 24th Street Station, which is closest to Noe Valley, BART is planning to hold community meetings this spring to discuss implementing the recommendations in the 24th Street BART Plaza Community Design Plan published last summer. This redesign is intended to make the 24th Street plaza function better as open space and provide better access to the station for bus users, pedestrians, and bicycle riders, Albert says.

Meanwhile, local residents, BART and city staff, the San Francisco Public Library, and representatives of the owner of the Diamond Super property in Glen Park Village have been meeting with Supervisor Mark Leno's office to address a variety of issues, including rebuilding the supermarket, building a new neighborhood branch library, finding locations for City Car Share vehicles, and improving access to and from the Glen Park BART Station.

To give BART your input, get on a mailing list, or receive more information on any of these projects, call BART planner Peter Albert at 510-287-4702.