Planners say they see a light at the end of the tunnel for one beleaguered BART station that, “at its worst... looks like an unsupervised construction site,” according to San Francisco BART director Nick Josefowitz.
Of the of 45-stop system's and it's third busiest hub at Powell Street, he told the Chronicle that “[a] lot of what BART built in the ’70s doesn’t work today," adding that "[we] need to fix it not only for passengers but for easier and better maintenance.” According to the paper, a new "modernization" study of the station recommends $94 million in improvements, with $30 to $40 million to be invested to start with.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and first up for repairs is the very squeaky entrance near Hallidie Plaza. There, one particular eyesore is uncompleted work begun in 2011 to remove asbestos and stop leaks. The work has left a partially removed and fully bedraggled ceiling.
At the concourse level, riders can expect a new one, complete with LED lighting. Further, look forward to the relocation of that island of ticket machines, the inclusion of a new glass wall, and improvements to both escalators and elevators. Those changes go out to bid in 2016 and are scheduled to be completed within two years' time.
“It will be a much easier station to move through,” Tom Radulovich, a San Francisco BART director, promised. “It will be a lot cleaner and brighter.”
More updates are farther down the pipeline, including a "suspended metal grate-like ceiling," replacement flooring, and new waiting seats. Of the recommended $94 million, it would take just $7.4 million to reopen restrooms, build bicycle parking within the station, and improve soundproofing and wall placement.
Clean energy engineer Ryan Sookhoo witheringly told the Chronicle “As far as aesthetics, [Powell] could use a little help... [it's] very basic.” But does he mean the station is "basic," or the improvements.
Perhaps both. Hey, those new retail booths can't hurt.