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Staff Blog

Guest Post: Nick Josefowitz

Nick Josefowitz

We have a transportation crisis in San Francisco. Our commutes are getting longer and less reliable. A recent report showed that San Francisco’s roads are the second most congested in the country, only trailing LA.

Our transportation crisis has local dimensions, but it also has regional ones. 43 million vehicles come into San Francisco across the Bay Bridge annually. The Bay Bridge traffic has gotten so bad, that if you want to avoid the congestion on the Bay Bridge, you have to be at the toll plazas before 5:30 AM.

We need regional solutions to our regional transportation problems. BART is the only regional transit operator with the capacity and independence to start solving them. Unfortunately, over the past twenty-four years, the BART Directors have let the system deteriorate and wasted billions of dollars of our money.

Since 1990, BART Directors authorized the construction of 10 extensions at a cost of billions of dollars. Those extensions only generate about 11% of BART’s average daily ridership. The extensions have massively under-performed compared to BART’s expectations, and many of them do not even generate enough fare revenue to cover their costs.

Through building these extensions to nowhere, the BART Directors have drained BART’s core system of resources. BART Directors have failed to purchase sufficient new train cars to cope with expanding demand, so that even at commute times, BART now runs 8-car trains rather than 10-car trains. These shorter trains are so jammed, that often commuters can’t even get on them when they stop at their station and have to wait for several trains before finding even a place to stand.

Additionally, the BART Directors have failed to upgrade many BART stations in decades. Many of the escalators are so old that replacement parts have to be fabricated, as they’re no longer commercially available. Stations in San Francisco like Balboa Park and Civic Center are falling apart and in sore need of a complete, top-to-bottom, renovation.

Least excusable of all, is that while the BART Directors have been focused on building further and further out into the East Bay they have let the San Francisco systems become filthy. They’re some of the dirtiest places in the city. A clean station and a clean train are the very basis of a dignified commute, and it is unacceptable that the stations are left in the state that they are.

Over the past twenty-four years, the BART Directors have taken the system in the wrong direction and left it in a dirty mess. This November, it’s critical to get out and vote in the BART Director races to start moving BART in the right direction. I urge you to vote for me so we can start to clean up the stations, renovate the core infrastructure, and restore some dignity to our commutes. Please check out http://www.getsfmoving.com for more information on my campaign.