My lament about the shortage of parking at outlying BART stations caught the eye of reader Bob, who lays out a scheme for satisfying that demand:
Photo from www.berkeley.edu
For those purists who believe that only those who use All MASS TRANSIT ALL THE TIME … I say to you phooey! We must accommodate those who are not as pure of heart as you true believers, which means attention must be paid for those who commute to BART. The problem presents itself as to where those people can park when all the lots are already at capacity. Do we engage in a capital campaign to build additional parking, spending millions of dollars to get a limited return on more parking? At most BART stations all usable land is already spoken for with no room for growth, neighborhoods are already overburdened with commuter cars. The value of land, where available, is prohibitively expensive for a non-revenue generating operation. So is this an unassailable problem? Not if we look at it in a creative yet revenue generating way.In many areas that surround BART are malls with vastly underutilized parking lots. What if , rather than building parking structures on existing BART lots, BART leases parking spots from these underutilized lots and runs shuttles from the parking lots to BART. Let’s say in Pleasant Hill, BART leases 200 spots Monday through Friday for $10,000 per month. Let us further assume that to run a shuttle from BART to Pleasant Hill would cost an additional $10,000 per month (3 drivers working 40 hours @ $20.00 per hour). Now if all 200 spots are filled that would mean additional revenue of $35,200 per week (200 spots times $8.80 round trip fair to SF times 4 weeks per month). We could help reduce the numbers of cars on the road, reduce the pollution that those cars produce by giving drivers who want to take BART but are stopped by the parking issue at the suburban locations. It seems like a win-win situation for all around.
I kicked this idea over to BART’s Linton Johnson, who responded:
The person’s observations about limited space to increase parking is dead on, and because of the limited space, we are currently working with shopping malls and other private parking vendors on agreements that will provide a win-win-win solution for the parking problem. That would be a win for the parking vendors, a win for BART and a win for those who drive to BART.
The idea of private paid parking would go part of the way toward satisfying the “purists,” as Bob calls them, because it would serve as a disincentive for driving to BART. Maybe the people who smashed my car windows at work were transit purists? (Hey, it’s a joke! Lighten up, I mean, put down that walking stick!)
For reading to the bottom of this post, I’ll reward you with this cartoon.