Due to Gentrification Concerns BART to Put 24th/Mission Bike-Share Dock at Library
After a contentious vote, board approves a bike share location near but not at train station
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The BART board, in a five-to-three vote, opted this morning to shelve plans to put a Ford GoBike station on the plaza at the 24th and Mission station. “I wish things had gone more smoothly, but there has been a stalemate,” said Bevan Dufty, BART Director for District 9, which encompasses the station. “The way to move forward is to bring bikes to the library.”
The “stalemate” Dufty was referring to is between Latino advocates from the Mission who view the 24th/Mission station plaza as an important center for vendors, public meetings and cultural activities versus bike-share advocates who want the Ford GoBike docking stations as close as possible to the station entrances.
“I’ve been in this neighborhood for 24 years and due to gentrification it has seen 10,000 wrongful evictions, 8,000 of them being Latino families,” said John Mendoza of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, during public comment on the issue. He is opposed to putting the bike dock on the plaza “…to combat gentrification, so we can preserve our neighborhood, so we can be respected instead of just walked over.”
BART planning staff, meanwhile, were recommending the board install bike docks in two locations: one at the Mission Branch library and the other along the Bank of the West-edge of the southwest plaza, as indicated by the green lines on the map below:
The BART board was also presented with the idea of having a dock at the back of the northeast plaza, as indicated by the red and yellow stripe on the map. From BART’s staff report, the idea was to avoid areas of the plaza used for dance and cultural activities–along the edge of Mission Street, for example–and instead only have a dock on a part of the station that is not utilized.
The second station would be located at the Mission Branch Library, about 200 feet to the west.
The recommendations were seen as a compromise by staff, after an earlier proposal to put bike-share stations at both plaza entrances was rejected.
But few at this morning’s meeting seemed interested in compromise.
The stations would be “tucked away against the walls where activity normally does not takes place,” said Jean Walsh, who is in charge of outreach for Bay Area Motivate, operator of Ford GoBikes. “And we can move it for festivals and carnivals.” She added that motivate conducted surveys in the area, and that out of the 620 people who answered it, 82 percent were supportive of putting bike share docks at the station entrances.
“Bicycles are a form of transit,” said Gillian Gillett, formerly the S.F. Mayor’s transportation policy director and one of the speakers. “We would never stop a bus a block away or two blocks away from a transit station.”
Another advocate for bike-share argued that putting it at the library means “far fewer people will see it or use it, and that puts Uber and Lyft above bike-share; lots of TNCs pickups are right at the BART station, not two blocks away, so why should the bikes?”
“I timed and walked from the plaza to the library and it was 100 steps and it was 45 seconds,” said an impassioned Dufty, who supported putting a dock at the library location only. Director Rebecca Saltzman who supported having a dock on the station plaza, pointed out that for women especially, even a short walk from the station to a bike dock can be intimidating at night and encourages more people to use Uber and Lyft, which will come right to the station entrance. “The difference between a block or two at night is really a big difference,” she managed to get out, after Dufty interrupted her to say that it was only one block from the station to the library.
Saltzman pointed out that there were arguments at the Rockridge BART station, in her district, over the placement of a bike dock and its proximity to a mural on the plaza. A compromise was reached and the dock was moved a few feet. “We can have these discussion and make it work for folks who want to use the plaza,” she said. Director Deborah Allen, who ultimately voted for installing the dock only at the library, rejected the idea that a bike dock would really cut into the space on the plaza enough to interfere with cultural activities. “In visiting that plaza, I see homeless people on benches, I saw two people doing a drug deal… I saw vendors, and I asked were these vendor booths permitted, and the answer was ‘no.'”
The Board’s plan, meanwhile, is to revisit the question in the future when the library will undergo renovations and the dock may have to be moved again. “I’m willing to go with the proposals to put the bikes before the library for 18 months, but when it comes back I believe there should be bikes on those plazas,” said Allen.