It’s no secret that San Francisco BART stations have all the cleanliness of a used petri dish. The problem can be seen and sniffed at Civic Center, 24th Street, and 16th Street stations, just to name a few.
In fact, the situation has turned so dire that now two local politicians have taken it upon themselves to do a weekly cleaning of the 16th Street station.
Heather Knight’s (excellent) piece, which received heavy traction over the weekend, has the details:
[...] Every Wednesday morning, Bevan Dufty, a former supervisor and current member of the BART board, and Supervisor Hillary Ronen pull on blue latex gloves and grab brooms and dustpans to clean the grossness that pervades the street-level plazas at BART’s 16th Street Mission Station.
It doesn’t seem to be a publicity stunt—if it is, they’re very good actors. They’ve been there like clockwork for weeks, and I watched them one morning as they got down in the depths.
The duo’s cleaning efforts go beyond sweeping scraps of paper and cigarette butts into a dustpan. Bodily waste of the worst kind and used syringes are just two items of horror the two politicos tackle.
Now Supervisor Ronen seeks additional help from BART directors, asking them to get on their knees with them to help tidy up the station’s plaza.
In a statement released Monday morning, she said, in part:
BART and the City must do better. I am escalating this issue by calling on each of the other eight BART Directors to join Bevan and me in these weekly cleanings, to see for themselves the conditions they have created for our community and to commit to immediate improvements.
I knew the situation was bad from my own experience and from the complaints I hear from my constituents; now that I am cleaning it myself, I realize how unbelievably filthy it is. It is disgraceful that we have allowed this plaza to become this dirty, this uncared for, this dangerous. The smell, the garbage, and the potential for disease are completely unacceptable. The elected BART Directors need to see this for themselves, and I am asking that they clean with us.
We urgently need BART to commit to staff a full-time cleaning position 7 days a week at the plaza. We also need increased social services.
While janitors do clean the area, none of them are full-time. Dufty and Ronen have asked BART to hire a new permanent janitor at the station.
“Bevan and I will continue cleaning each week until these changes are implemented,” says Ronen, “because we need and must do better to address this central transit hub in one of the most active commercial corridors in San Francisco.”
Now if only something can be done about the Powell Street station and its dismal underground corridor.