BART’s 16th St. Mission Station may replace an ailing 50-year-old elevator with a new, modern conveyance in coming years — at a total cost of $5 million.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office will propose $3 million in federal funding to supplement the city’s $2 million contribution to the project, part of her Community Project Funding for the fiscal year 2024. The city’s portion of the budget would come from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Proposition L funds, which provided $45 million for BART maintenance.
The modernization work would begin next June and be completed in December, 2029, if the federal budget is approved.
“The project can make a big difference for people with mobility impairments, or with strollers and bikes to access the station,” said Befan Dufty, an elected member of the BART board. “If Congress can approve it this fall, it will move things more quickly.”
The current elevator at 16th Street was built in 1973, and was designed to provide 30 to 40 years of service, according to a letter requesting federal funding for the project from BART. The most recent maintenance happened last year, when the street level elevator was out of service for a month, starting Nov.14.
Michael Jones, the deputy general manager of BART, noted that BART’s elevators are “subject to much harsher conditions than those seen typically in the industry” and that, ideally, they are modernized every 20 years. This 50-year-old elevator has never been modernized.
“It will improve the customer’s experience navigating the station, and will be especially beneficial to customers with mobility limitations who rely on elevators to access our system,” Jones stated in his request for funding.
Three supporting letters, sent from BART, the county transportation authority, and nearby Mission Hiring Hall, all stressed that the current elevator has never been modernized or overhauled.
Michelle Leonard-Bell, the executive director of Mission Hiring Hall on 16th Street, said frequent breakdowns of the elevator, coupled with equally frequent breakdowns of BART’s escalators, have proved challenging for job seekers with disabilities coming into the Mission.
“We have job seekers who struggle to climb the stairs and make it on time for appointments. Job seekers have arrived for services showing signs of exertion, sweating and needing water when they enter the office. The stairs at 16th Street are always mentioned as the culprit,” said Leonard-Bell.
BART has 138 elevators in all its stations . The 16th Street Mission Station has two, one from the street to concourse level, and another from the concourse down to the platform. It’s unclear which elevator would be fixed in the plan yet.
The money will be spent on modernizations to the controller equipment, hoist machines, electrical wiring, cab, call button, doors, and other items. A detailed breakdown of the cost is not available, and the total estimate is not set in stone, but rather based on recent related work, said a BART spokesperson.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority recently allocated nearly $18 million for elevator improvements at five San Francisco stations, according to executive director Tilly Chang.
In 2021, BART requested $6.5 million for the Embarcadero Station Platform Elevator Capacity and Redundancy Project from Pelosi’s Transportation Community Funding, of a total $24 million budget. The project includes installing a new elevator, refurbishing one existing elevator, and widening station stairways.
The 16th Mission BART Station elevator is one of 15 community projects in San Francisco that could receive money from the federal government this year. The Centro del Pueblo at 474 Valencia St., home to eight organizations including La Raza Community Resource Center and Mission Housing Development Corporation, would receive $2 million to repair their roof, floors, walls, and elevators, and to increase building accessibility.