Saturday, January 22, 2011

A new direction for the BART Board of Directors: The choice is ours

If there is a silver lining to be found in the protracted Oakland Airport Connector debate and other BART drama that has ensued over the past couple of years, it’s that BART’s Board of Directors and the agency generally have been subject to an extra measure of public scrutiny.  There’s a related silver lining: candidates emerging to challenge lackluster incumbent directors.  And not just any challengers, but serious, compelling challengers that deserve our attention.  This election, we’re talking about District 8 (the north and west side of  San Francisco) and District 4 (Oakland, east of Broadway, and Alameda).
Vigorous but misguided advocacy of the senseless Oakland Airport Connector, coupled with an insensitive brushing aside of well-reasoned opposition expressed by members of the public, is reason enough to unseat current District 4 director Carole Ward Allen.  Do we even need a clearer example showing her faulty grasp of riders’ true priorities? Insert a too little, too late approach to police reform, and one cannot help but draw the conclusion that Oakland and Alameda deserve better.
 Meanwhile, current District 8 director James Fang is a lonely Republican in San Francisco who has presided for far too long over a district that is gerrymandered if there ever was one (see above map).  He has pursued an approach that values flash over substance (cell phone fare payment), not to mention flash over basic common sense  (the infamous fare rollback, overwhelmingly disdained by rider surveys).  Okay, so he did recently express his support for a BART line to serve the Richmond District — that’s at least something we can agree would be a good thing.  But then again, given that he apparently sees BART as primarily a supplier of construction jobs (rather than, you know, a transit operator), Fang is happy to build BART anywhere and everywhere, indiscriminately.

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BART in Oackland, photo by /\/\ichael Patric|{
more articles about urban transportation in the United States:

Rail stops that make sense

Have Streetcars Adequately Demonstrated Their Development-Generation Potential?

How a Road Can Change a City, Even If It Never Gets Built

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