Efforts are underway to keep escalators from breaking down at BART and Muni entrances to BART and Muni along Market Street.
Officials with BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency cut the ribbon to the first of two canopies at the Market and Ellis entrance of Powell Station to protect escalators from rain and debris.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican said:
“Today these canopies will serve to keep out the weather and trash, but they also have a lock down gate that at night will help us with security and help on the cleanliness issue in our stations.”
Additionally, the canopy features a digital sign that shows when BART trains are arriving and also the arrival of Muni subway trains and buses near Market at Fourth streets.
Construction on the first canopy at the Powell station street-level entrance began on Nov. 6, 2017. Construction on the canopy at the Civic Center station street-level entrance began a month later.
The combined cost of the canopies is $4.4 million and part of a pilot project. BART first opened a street-level canopy entrance at its Oakland 19th Street station in 2015. Officials said that, since installing the canopy, they have seen a 30 percent decrease in downtime for maintenance.
SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said the downtown rail network of BART and Muni plays a significant role in how commuters travel and that the goal is to make sure it is safe, reliable and enjoyable for commuters stepping in and out of the stations:
“These canopies are going to be a big part of us being able to achieve that goal for our riders.”
BART board member Bevan Dufty, who represents parts of San Francisco, sent a message to riders who may have lost confidence in the transit agency to ride BART again:
“This is the future. This what BART is going to be like. You’re going to have a safe entrance.”
Dufty also touted some BART’s latest efforts to keep the transit system safe and reliable, including the addition of new BART trains. a new elevator attendant program at the Powell and Civic Center stations, which has shown positive results so far in keeping escalators safe and clean, and having outreach teams in The City reach out to the homeless inside the stations.
BART station agent Dee Malabuyo, who would try to partner up with another station agent when opening up the station, said the new lockdown gate at the street-level will make a difference in terms of feeling safer when opening the station up early in the morning:
“It’s scary to come down and having your back turned and having to get into the station. You still have people on the stairs sometimes when you try to open.
BART plans to work on adding canopies at the other 22 street-level downtown entrances it shares with Muni by 2025.
Contracts to build the remaining canopies are partially funded through the $3.5 billion bond measure passed by voters in 2016 and will be awarded in 2019.
The project will also replace 41 escalators at all of the downtown stations, including 23 escalators from the street-level to the concourse and 18 escalators from the concourse to the station platform.