Hillary Ronen's hands-on appraoch to the 16th Street BART plaza was appreciated by her constituents. Photo by Susie Neilson

For months, BART Director Bevan Dufty has been out at 16th and Mission streets on Wednesday morning sweeping the trash on the plaza. A few weeks in, he was joined by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

Appalled at the state of things, Ronen has now called out the other BART directors, inviting them to join in the morning cleanups and asking for a long-term fix.

“The conditions we have seen are truly disturbing and, at times, disgusting, and I am outraged about the health and safety risks to BART riders and my constituents who pass through the plaza every day,” Ronen said in a statement.

The letter asks BART to clean the plaza every day and quadruple the amount of time staff spend power-washing the area. Ronen also says the city should implement an intervention program for drug dealers who ply their trade on the plaza and get homeless outreach teams to regularly talk to homeless people who spend their days in the area.

“While I knew the general conditions of the plaza were bad, cleaning it myself has opened my eyes to the deeply unhealthy conditions at the plaza — conditions that are unacceptable for a major transit hub in the Bay Area,” Ronen wrote to the directors.

Some of the directors remained out of their offices on Monday, and none have responded to a request for comment. We will update this story if any of the directors respond.

Update 1

Debora Allen, BART Director for District 1, which includes Concord, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre and Walnut Creek stations says she responded to Dufty to set up a time to meet with him and Ronen to talk and see how she can help. Allen writes:

I am aware of the terrible conditions at 16th St. Mission and other stations in the BART system. I applaud Director Dufty’s stand against BART management to get adequate janitorial coverage at his stations and believe that as Directors we must demand better from BART Management for all stations.

In my district in Central Contra Costa, there is often one system service worker (janitor) taking care of three and sometimes four stations in a day. That is just unacceptable. We have vacant positions that need to be filled immediately, and I will be working with Director Dufty to get that done.

Update 2

Nick Josefowitz, BART Director for District 8, which includes parts of Balboa Park, Embarcadero, and Montgomery stations, and the liaison for San Francisco Airport station, will be joining the cleanup efforts in January.

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  1. I agree with Peter above, how can BART be entirely responsible? The condition of the BART plaza at street level is appalling, and so far, it seems the City’s most grand effort at fixing things was to paint a popular pee wall with a special coating to reject urine. So now, not only that one spot in the corner smells, but also the shoes and pant legs of everyone who has used it. Yay! Now they can spread that lovely aroma all around, and take it with them wherever they go.

  2. On PCs long ago the police had a Koban at BART. Now and then they even staffed it. Drugs on this corner are the norm. I worked in this area for several years and have lived in the City for 30 years. I recall 16th Street never has been safe or clean.

  3. Approved the 16th & Mission housing development that’s been fought for years by a reactionary vocal minority of your constituents and once it’s built you’ll see that area cleaned up in no time.

    1. Before Mayor Ed Lee comes to the Mission to view a problem area, it is cleaned up!! Lest he be offended? An example is the tents that were at South Van Ness & 26th Street, before it was turned into a Navigation Center. If more SF city and BART officials spent time cleaning the 16th & 24th Street BART stations, they would address the janitor shortage. My thanks go to Supervisors Ronen and Dufty.

  4. Why is Ronen asking BART to clean the plaza every day? BART already power washes the plaza every night! I think that’s plenty; I can’t think of any other public spaces in the city that get that kind of cleaning every day.

    The derelict party here is the City of San Francisco, which isn’t providing the police and other staffing to keep the plaza in a reasonable state. The JC Decaux toilet is a nice start but isn’t enough. Maybe Ronen should start by getting the city to do something instead of pointing the finger at BART?

  5. Need more heat on the Bart Directors to do their job and focus efforts to improve the Bart stations along 16th St Mission and 24th St. Hoping this will continue to garner more media attention to finally fix the existing stations instead of sticking their heads waiting for their pension to kick in.

  6. While I applaud Mr. Duffy and Ms. Ronen’s efforts I do feel they are somewhat misguided and that FINALLY they are doing what needs to be done and that is making a specific request of the agency to provide appropriate services at a necessary frequency AND hold the agency accountable. And its not just 16th and Mission but also to a varying degree 24th and Mission both at street level and ticketing levels including the egregious outages over the last few years of not one but both escalators. I just don’t see how the agency can simply ignore the condition of these stations? Clearly the staff sitting in the booth could give a flying f*&K about the station, I’m not even sure what they do and why they are there?

    1. No applause needed for Ronen. Does anyone think that this is anything other than a publicity stunt/photo op? Is this a good use of Ronen’s salary/benfits that total $135,000 in 2016? (Source State of California: https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/san-francisco/hillary-a-ronen/)

      Similar problems exist on San Bruno Avenue in The Portola District, where Ronen resides. Has she done anything about it? No. Her office is notified of the problems on San Bruno Avenue every week; Ronen and the office do nothing.

      Why???? Because 16th/Mission is where the techies and the rich people that Ronen wants donations from in her quest for higher office in the future. Politicians…they’re all the same. Except this one shovels poo in The Mission and ignores it in The Portola District.