Fourteen years on, the BART board is mulling a proposal to remodel and reopen 10 underground BART station restrooms, all of which have remained closed to the public since the week of September 11th, 2001. Because terrorism. The board will be discussing the possibility at their meeting today, as the Chronicle reports, and this comes years after most BART bathroom facilities have reopened without incident.
But rather than reopen them as-is, the proposal on the table is to remodel the restrooms in order to make them all unisex, ADA accessible, and more "open," putting sink areas under surveillance and outside the closed-stall areas. Also, tall solid doors would be replaced with semi-opaque doors that are open at the top and bottom.
And of course, in addition to terrorism, the restrooms have to be monitored for drug use and vandalism, much like the toilets along Market Street and the pernicious public library restrooms.
The changes would affect all downtown SF and downtown Oakland BART stations, as well as others. The list: Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, Civic Center, 16th Street, 24th Street, Lake Merritt, 12th Street, 19th Street, and Downtown Berkeley.
Many commuters blame the persistent urine and poop problems at stations like Powell and Civic Center on the continued lack of public restrooms, though the poop-on-escalators problem is more one that occurs after hours when stations are closed.
The remodeling of restrooms is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $525,000 per station, and with ongoing maintenance the reopening of the restrooms will cost BART $1 million a year.
But at least you won't have to hold it all the way to your destination any longer.