BART officials say they plan to increase cleaning at the 16th and Mission Street BART Plaza. (DavÌd RodrÌguez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

BART to ‘quadruple’ power washing at Mission Street stations

Mission Street’s BART stations are filthy, but that may soon change.

The BART Board of Directors voted Thursday morning to step up its cleaning efforts at the 16th Street and 24th Street BART Stations.

Nightly power-washing at the stations will increase in duration from one to four hours, under the new directive, which also saw a three-year, $982,800 contract awarded to Puma Washing, Inc., to perform cleaning at the stations.

Puma was “outstanding when they were brought in to improve conditions last year at 16th Street,” BART board director Bevan Dufty told the San Francisco Examiner, Thursday. “It’s great that they will quadruple daily BART plaza power washing.”

Increased cleanliness at the stations was also called for by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission District, among other neighborhoods.

SEE RELATED: With staffing win, politicos campaign to personally clean 16th Street BART comes to an end

The vote follows a number of efforts to clean the Mission Street stations, where people from nearby Single Room Occupancy hotels tend to gather as well as people officials have previously identified as homeless.

16th Street BART Station saw its plaza floor covered with thermoplastic to protect against liquids, fences and light poles were repainted, palm trees trimmed and other facilities washed, according to a statement from BART. Earlier this year BART also increased the number of weekly cleaning shifts at the station from six to 14.

Some consternation arose from the homeless community when BART removed benches at 16th Street station during cleaning efforts in September.

SEE RELATED: 16th and Mission BART cleanup results in loss of benches

“I think that it’s really cruel of them to just take the benches away without notice,” a woman who gave her name as Sunshine Sherry, who is homeless, told the Examiner previously. “This is not just a hangout — For some people, this is the only place that a person has that is safe and lit up at night, and there is always movement.”

Dufty, however, delivered some more news Thursday directly addressing those concerns — the benches will return Nov. 1, he said.

“BART staff knows this is important to me and Supervisor Hillary Ronen,” Dufty wrote on Facebook. “My values would not allow the removal of seating areas from people who are vulnerable or just needing a place to sit.”

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