Passengers exit the Muni Metro at Powell Street Station on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Passengers exit the Muni Metro at Powell Street Station on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

After 18 years, BART says it will finally reopen Powell Station bathrooms

BART plans to reopen its Powell Station restrooms in San Francisco for the first time in 18 years.

The agency’s staff announced the move at the BART Board of Directors regular meeting, Thursday as part of the project approval to modernize Powell Station.

A contract for that modernization was awarded to ProVen management of Oakland for up to $14.9 million. The station will see new security upgrades, including five-foot tall glass barriers, additional fare gates, and new LED lighting at the train platform level, according to BART agenda documents.

As part of the modernization, however, restrooms at Powell BART will be reopened for the first time since they were shuttered for security reasons after attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

The restrooms will get upgrades from top to bottom, including all fixtures, and may feature attendants, much like the successful program for elevator attendants that has encouraged better behavior at Powell Station. When closed, the restrooms will also feature roll-down gates.

Also, the restrooms will be all-gender for the first time.

“This is so exciting,” BART board director Janice Li said.

BART closed all restrooms at underground stations in 2001, but it is unclear if Powell will be the first station to see its restrooms reopened. At the meeting, BART board director Robert Rayburn said staff told him that 19th Street Oakland BART Station would have its restrooms opened before Powell Station’s.

“I’m very supportive of the hard work that went into planning here,” Rayburn said, “the restroom is a key component.”

BART has offered some “pit stop” temporary restrooms available aboveground at its stations, including at 16th Street Mission Station, in response to complaints of people urinating in inappropriate places within its stations.

There is no confirmed date for the modernization work to begin, but a BART spokesperson said the bathrooms would be reopened within the next few years.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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