Candidates chime in on 'BART to the beach'

I am a candidate for the BART Board seat that James Fang currently holds. Last month, Mr. Fang wrote an article for the Richmond Review in which he proposed the idea of bringing BART service to the western part of the City - "BART to the beach" as he called it.

I am an unabashed advocate for bringing rail service to the northwest part of the City. It is the only part of the City that does not have Muni Metro service, something I stressed in my boutique-level campaign for District 1 supervisor in 2008.

I still hold that view, but have become more confident that we can have it by extending the Muni Metro - not BART - through a tunnel. A tunnel would provide an unimpeded ride from the outer avenues to the downtown area so locals can make that trip as quickly as people coming from Walnut Creek to the City do it on BART. Simple stations (not possible with BART) would keep costs manageable, and use of tunnel boring machines would minimize construction impacts.

BART is great for what it does, but it wouldn't be good for providing neighborhood service for many reasons, many of which are obvious to even the occasional rider. As a 20-plus year transit professional (nearly 10 years of that working for BART on capital programs), I could list many more. One is the cost - I figure BART to cost at least twice what Muni Metro service would, and the severity and duration of BART construction-related impacts would be dire.

After five terms and 20 years, Director Fang has suggested we start a dialog on bringing "BART to the beach." Dialog means talk; talk is cheap. We in the western part of the City need action the action that a transit professional with inside knowledge of how BART works can bring to its board of directors.