A compromise between a Mission District neighborhood group and BART may see a Ford GoBike station finally installed near — but not at — the agency’s 24th Street Station.
BART board director Bevan Dufty, who helped negotiate with neighbors who previously blocked the “bikeshare” station, is working to get one installed as a pilot in front of the nearby Mission Branch Library, a block away from the train station, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.
The decision must be approved by the BART Board of Directors, which will consider the matter in November or December.
BART board director Rebecca Saltzman characterized the vote as a first.
“We haven’t had to vote before on where to place [bikeshare stations], but we’ve never really had a situation like this before,” Saltzman said.
As first reported by the Examiner, Calle 24, a Mission District neighborhood group, successfully blocked installation of a Ford GoBike station at the 24th Street Mission station in July last year, touting gentrification fears. However, bike advocates remained concerned that the transit mode was unavailable near the busy BART station.
Last year, Erick Arguello, founder of Calle 24, said the tech-enabled bikeshares cater to mostly white newcomers with means, not longtime Latino neighbors.
Since then, Arguello has also expressed concern that the stations would occupy parts of the BART station renovated to allow musicians, vendors and others to use the space. The space is considered a key part of the redesign of 24th Street as a Latino cultural district.
“Our concern is that these spaces were designed for the public,” Arguello said Thursday. “Having that station there will take away from that.”
San Francisco residents have pushed back against the rental bike docks, which are usually placed in parking spaces meant for cars, in many neighborhoods. But this was the first instance where a group publicly opposed them due to gentrification fears.
The bike rental service is on the cusp of its planned expansion to 7,000 bikes Bay Area-wide, and the riders who enjoy the service have penned roughly 50 letters asking Dufty to allow a Ford GoBike dock at the 24th Street BART station.
“There are many people who live in Mission and Noe Valley but quite far (more than a 10-minute walk) from BART,” wrote Mission resident Sidharth Kapur, to Dufty. “A bikeshare station would make it easier for these people access BART.”
Elizabeth Sullivan, a Mission resident, told Dufty that bikeshare docks at 16th Street BART Station have been “a huge success,” adding “the station is easier to get to than ever.”
Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission and other nearby neighborhoods and helped negotiate the effort, said “this seems like a win, win, win.”
The bikeshare dock will be a pilot, she added, allowing staff to analyze if the dock’s distance from the BART station was too far for riders to use it. She said she understood Calle 24’s opposition to bikeshare docks at 24th Street station.
“The Latino community in the Mission has been so under siege for so long, I think there’s a certain trauma of new things coming in and taking up space used historically by lower-income communities,” she said.
BART director Dufty echoed those sentiments at the October 10 meeting of the BART Board of Directors.
“I want to say yes, I take responsibility for having delayed this hoping we can find a compromise,” he told the board. But, “for me as someone who worked in a public fashion for The City for 25 years, I have a heightened sensitivity about all the changes taking place in the Mission.”
Despite that earlier delay, he said, “I think things are going to move forward fairly expeditiously.”