As your District 3 BART Director, I have worked tirelessly to move BART in a new direction. For the Bay Area to thrive, its public transportation systems need to be built for the realities of the 21st century. I have had three priorities during my term: fiscal and environmental sustainability, accessibility, and equity.
Environmental and Financial Sustainability
My top priority has been keeping the BART system running reliably and sustainably. BART’s infrastructure is more than 40 years old. In order to ensure BART’s reliability, I have prioritized BART’s spending on fixing the existing system with a “Fix It First” policy. In the past four years, the BART Board more than doubled the percentage of the capital budget spent on system reinvestment, including new train cars, track repairs, and modernized, cleaner stations.
I have worked on improving BART’s environmental sustainability by championing solar projects at stations and maintenance facilities, energy efficient lighting throughout the system, and transitioning to drought tolerant landscaping. A priority for my second term is for the BART Board to adopt a goal to use 100% renewable energy and a plan to reach this goal.
Getting You to BART
BART must focus on making it easier for riders to get to BART by transit, biking, and walking. I have advocated for and supported increased secure bike parking at stations and investments in pedestrian infrastructure. Several projects are planned for or currently under construction at stations in BART District 3, including an improved pedestrian and bicycle path to the Orinda station, a remodel of the Downtown Berkeley BART plaza and entrances to increase access, and a complete modernization of the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station, including bike and pedestrian improvements.
I co-chair the BART-AC Transit Interagency Liaison Committee, which is focused on making the systems work better for riders who use both BART and AC Transit. Together, BART and AC Transit launched increased weekend late night bus service, which runs when BART must do critical repair work on the system. With the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the agencies recently completed a pilot program to offer increased discounts for riders transferring between the systems, and a priority for my second term will be making these discounts permanent.
I have also strongly supported making BART trains and stations accessible for all and will continue to focus on accessibility in my second term.
Making BART Affordable for All
In my first term, I helped pass BART’s affordable housing policy, which mandates that at least 20% of housing at BART developments be affordable and sets a system-wide goal for 30% affordable housing. In BART District 3, a 100% affordable housing development is under construction at the San Leandro BART station, and I am working with the City of El Cerrito on studying a project at the El Cerrito Plaza station, which will include affordable housing, retail, and potentially a public library.
Recently, the BART Board approved the first BART discount program for college students, at San Francisco State University. I also strongly supported a pilot program to provide free or reduced bus and BART fares to middle and high school students, and I voted for it in my capacity as BART’s representative on the Alameda County Transportation Commission.
In my second term, one of my priorities will be offering reduced BART fares for low income riders. We need to make BART affordable to all.