The Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors will cast votes Thursday to approve or reject an additional 19 canopies at shared Muni and BART street-level subway entrances.

The cost of the proposed contract is approximately $71 million — The City will contribute $45 million from the voter-approved transportation Proposition A bond measure. Shimmick Construction Company, Inc. came in with the lowest bid, according to BART documents.

Officials said not only will canopies protect the escalators, but will enable staff to lock up the street-level entrances at the top of the escalators. The entrances are currently secured at the bottom of escalator areas, leaving stairwells and escalators accessible to individuals overnight.

Ching Wong/SFBay Dee Malabuyo, a BART station agent, demonstrates the facility of the new canopy completed at the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

BART Director Bevan Dufty, who represents parts of San Francisco, said Monday that canopies already installed as part of a pilot at two downtown locations — one at Market and Ellis streets and another at Market and Seventh streets — have effectively improved safety for BART frontline staff who arrive at work before service starts.

Dufty said:

“It’s much safer to come to work. You’re able to come in and not have to climb over people and not be uncertain how things are going to go. That’s tremendously important.”

Dufty added that canopies provide protection from mechanical problems caused by weather exposure and by objects left on equipment.

BART is in the process of replacing the system’s escalators, some of which are 25 to 30 years old, Dufty said.

A state law requires that transit agencies install some form of cover when escalators are replaced.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

Adding that canopies will also protect areas inside the subway, Vice Chair of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Gwyneth Borden said:

“These canopies aren’t just about safety. They’re also about protecting our core asset. As we know weather-related incidents really affect our transit system detrimentally, especially for us in the subway.”

Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents District 6 where a majority of the street-level BART and Muni entrances are located, said:

“We want to make sure we are making investments in transit stations we are proud of and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

BART officials say they expect to complete the canopy project by 2026.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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