June Rail Mail
I hope this edition of “Rail Mail” finds you well.
The June 30 deadline for donation reporting is rapidly approaching. Reaching our goal by that date is critically important to our campaign. If you haven't already, please make a contribution today to our campaign.
Several of my reforms and initiatives at BART have recently yielded dividends. You might have seen the recent news that the BART Board voted to support the Fleet of the Future design to include the bike racks in the center door area and will continue to evaluate the wheelchair and pole design during the prototype train testing in late 2016. The Board also followed my lead in adopting a $6 fare for the Oakland Airport Connector. This is a reasonable fare rather than ask our 400,000 daily passengers to subsidize the ongoing operations and maintenance for this costly new extension.
Inside you can read about the adopted budgets for both BART and the State of California. I am proud to have promoted reinvestment in BART’s core system, and Transit Oriented Development to reduce statewide emissions. We are making progress!
New BART Cars
Read the Metro-Magazine: Transportation Professionals throughout the nation recognize BART's leadership for engaging the public in the new car design process.
“In an inspired, yet practical move, BART’s Board of Directors has decided that the design should be informed by the riding public.” –Reuters (image courtesy of Bombardier and Morellli Designers Team)
It was an honor to unveil the prototype car during the Blue Sky Festival in San Francisco on April 16, 2014 (Click for short video). Acquiring new cars is my highest priority to serve BART passengers who crowd into BART’s aging trains. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, BART does not have enough cars to routinely operate longer trains (ten-cars) during the peak commute, nor can BART offer more frequent service without additional vehicles. About 17,500 riders reviewed the realistic ½-length car at 10 locations during April and May. The customer surveys showed overwhelming support for the new designs. To date, over 35,000 riders have participated in the design process where the public commented at numerous seat labs and design workshops in 2011-12 and the wooden mock-up displayed at MacArthur in 2013. I'm pleased to have successfully encouraged this public process that yielded many valuable suggestions to improve the car design for BART’s passengers.
Lake Merritt Tai Chi 30th Anniversary
Who has not enjoyed seeing or participating in the strong Chinatown community spirit at Lake Merritt BART? The daily exercise assembly in the station area, on the BART Plaza, and in Madison Park improves the health of individuals and health of the station area. Passengers and BART workers appreciate the activity and added sense of security. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Healthy Exercise on April 13, 2014, I shared with the community two shade canopy design concepts for the BART Plaza where the Administration building once stood. The crowd voted overwhelming support for the beautiful multi-panel design. BART will soon contract to install the canopy as part of a broad station modernization campaign, in part funded by parking fee revenues.
Coliseum Crime & Grime Reduction
New security fence surrounding Coliseum parking lot.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a proven strategy that I am promoting throughout the BART system. Let’s face it, BART cannot station a police officer on every train and BART facility. My priority to build a fence around the Coliseum Station parking lot promised to reduce the opportunity for criminals to enter and flee the lot in any direction, but the project had been stalled by a lack of funds. However, using new parking fee revenues, BART is currently installing a handsome all-metal fence. Earlier, BART crews replaced burned-out street lamps, added security cameras, and pruned trees so that the lights and cameras can work as intended.
In the coming months, BART crews will begin removing grime and worn elements at the Coliseum Station. The platform and concourse will benefit from overall brightening that includes painting, pigeon control, removal of the funky “My Ticket” booth, modernization of the station agent booth, and decluttering of the narrow platform. Post-game crowds are certain to appreciate improved circulation on the platform!
19th Street Station
Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhenney visited the 19th St Station public outreach.
Existing street escalators are vulnerable to the elements and lack capacity.
Oakland’s booming Uptown district is continuing to attract new transit-dependent residents, workers, and visitors to the First Friday events, restaurants and entertainment. I met with hundreds of passengers at the Station on June 6th and 12th as BART launched public surveys to prioritize improvements to the 42-year old station. Some of the most popular proposals would increase capacity, add escalators and elevators, and reopen restrooms. To review the concepts and contribute your own suggestions please visit: http://www.bart.gov/about/planning/19th.
State Budget Highlights
Since the loss of redevelopment State funds in 2011, I have argued that new Cap and Trade revenue intended to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions should support construction of affordable housing at transit developments. Perhaps no other investment can reduce emissions more than reshaping our cities to reduce driving. A strong coalition of environmental and housing advocates joined the campaign that succeeded when State lawmakers voted on Sunday, June 15 to adopt the budget that allocates 35% of Cap and Trade funds to transit and affordable housing near transit stations.
BART Budget Highlights
The BART Board approved the FY 15 Budget (Operations and Capital) of $1.56 billion on June 12. I was particularly pleased to hear staff report, “for the first time, our renovations exceed our expansion expenses.” Reinvestment in new train cars, station rehabilitation, and keeping BART equipment in a reliable “State of Good Repair” have been my overarching budget priorities. Each investment promises to improve future service. In the meantime, I also successfully promoted added spending on maintaining the aging fleet to provide more cars to alleviate crowding on weekend trains and trains that operate during the weekday commute “shoulder” periods.
BART crews are cleaning mechanical parts and the underside of trains with dry ice instead of water. On May 16th, I invited a group of Geography and Environmental Studies students from California State University East Bay to tour BART’s Hayward Maintenance Complex. We witnessed the innovative ways that BART’s maintenance workers are conserving water and reducing waste-water pollution.
Thanks so much for reading,
Paid for by Robert Raburn for BART District 4 2014, FPPC#1328457