Makeover improves rider experience at Balboa Park BART station 

Transit passengers who use the notoriously neglected Balboa Park BART station will finally see some improvements at the hub today.

A 1,500-square-foot mezzanine, wider walkways to serve disabled passengers, a rehabbed entrance and fare gate area, upgraded lighting and new security measures will be unveiled as part of a $6.5 million project designed to improve the station’s pedestrian experience.

Supervisor John Avalos, whose district includes Balboa Park, said the improvements are long overdue. The station, which serves 12,000 BART passengers daily, is The City’s busiest stop outside downtown.

“We’ve been waiting with bated breath for these upgrades,” Avalos said. “This station has been incredibly overlooked in years past.”

Avalos said curb ramps and wider walkways will allow disabled passengers and parents with strollers better access to the station. Before the improvements, he said it was impossible for those passengers to navigate Balboa Park. The upgrades, situated in the northwest section of the park, replace older walkways beset by narrow, crumbling infrastructure.

BART spokesman Jim Allison said federal funds accounted for $6 million of the project, of which $2 million came from the 2008 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The rest was provided by BART and San Francisco sales tax proceeds.

The new walkway will soon be named in honor of Tony Sacco, a longtime community activist in the Excelsior district who died in 2008, Avalos said.

Avalos and BART directors Tom Radulovich and James Fang will unveil the new improvements at 10 a.m. today.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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