This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Bert Hill

Candidate for
Director; San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District; District 8

This information is provided by the candidate

I am running on three basic themes:

  • Service
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Civic Participation

When BART began service on September 11, 1972 America was still in the throes of suburban growth that began after the Second World War. Land was cheap, fuel prices were low, and superhighways encouraged a lifestyle where an hour's commute promised easy living. Each day an exodus of workers left bedroom communities, traveling to jobs in the inner Bay Area cities. The middle class was abandoning San Francisco and many neighborhoods were in decline. Originally BART began offering amenities similar to automobiles: cushioned seats, carpeted floors, and a smooth ride at reasonable costs with reliable service.

Fast forward to 2010. San Francisco is again growing, leading a national trend whose hallmark is revitalizing cities. Resources are no longer limitless. Fuel, highway construction and maintenance, vehicle costs and parking prices are poised to increase beyond affordability. With the shift from the suburbs back to the city, BART becomes more integral in our local and regional lives. In 2008, just prior to the collapse of the economy, BART began to experience over-capacity, reflected by ridership exceeding the designed limits of some stations and cars.

If we focus on service, fiscal responsibility, and civic participation, we can create a BART system that better serves our needs in the 21st century, particularly benefiting all San Franciscans.

Service: Cleanliness, Lighting, Safety, and Security

BART has only two stations with accessible restrooms in San Francisco. As the active grandfather of a two-year-old in toilet training, I am familiar with the very short time between notification and action. Seniors and disabled may also experience similar urgencies. We need to place a higher priority on human factors + comfortable surroundings, ambient noise control, improved hygiene in restrooms and elevators (which sometimes act as ad hoc urinals), well maintained indoor/outdoor facilities, and clean air. We also should better integrate connections with other transit providers, especially late at night and early in the morning. BART should have later service hours, especially on weekends, to accommodate late night revelers and workers. I will focus on improving BART's relationship with the public it serves.

Regarding security, BART has faced a major challenge with the tragic death of Oscar Grant, underscoring the need for improved police training and greater oversight. We need BART police spending more time walking the trains, bicycling parking lots, and patrolling stations on foot.

Fiscal Responsibility: Focus On Maintaining What We Have, Not Building Costly Extensions

Since BART's inception San Franciscans have paid sales and property taxes that enabled BART to become a nationally renowned regional transit system. But many of BART's riders are precluded from using our world class transit system due to their geographic location in the City. I propose to improve access to our indispensable regional rail system. Increasingly, much of BART's operating budget funds expensive extensions to sparsely-populated East Bay bedroom communities. The newest planned extensions, Livermore and Antioch for example, likely cannot operationally sustain themselves. Such projects could force BART to defer system-wide maintenance and cut back on train schedules, ultimately encouraging automobile travel with its commensurate congestion and carbon emissions, both of which detract from the Bay Area's quality of life.

There are other instances where our residents have failed to reap the benefits from paying their fair share of the tax burden. This inequity is especially egregious to riders from our district who, for example, take the 28 MUNI to Daly City and then transfer to BART to get to their destinations. Once at Daly City, they cannot use their fast pass to travel into San Francisco. The Richmond District was robbed of a promised route forty years ago. It should be next in line for consideration before any additional extensions are considered.

San Mateo County, which does not contribute sales tax to BART, agreed to a $346 million contribution to BART for the SFO/Millbrae extension. This money is being diverted to fund East Bay BART extensions. Meanwhile, underserved San Franciscans continue to lack efficient access to BART.

Preparing for the expected ridership over-capacity and transforming BART into a robust, affordable, safe, and appealing transportation alternative will require a willingness to invest capital for the expansion of local BART platforms, designing and purchasing trains with three doors, upgrading the automated train control system, and adding enhanced connections to the new Transbay Terminal and the Central Subway systems under construction. It will also involve improved coordination with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to create seamless transfers between BART and riders using such lines as the 29 Sunset, the 36 Teresita, the 44 O'Shaughnessy, the 28 19th Avenue, and other BART feeder buses.

Civic Participation: Using Transportation To Foster Community

The Bay Area is arguably the most attractive place to live in the nation, unrivaled in climate, cuisine and comity. We must continue rededicating ourselves to this reality, renewing our commitment to improving our city's quality of life. My candidacy recognizes this and is built around making transportation not only more efficient, but more responsive to our human needs. Equally important is the recognition that transportation occurs in public spaces, places where we come together as civil members of a city. Places where people walk between transit stops that are synchronized between MUNI and BART, places where bikeways and sidewalks are dedicated and valued; where the mobility-challenged are regarded in platform design. We have long heard how cyberspace connectivity is shrinking our world. Real space connectivity, on the other hand, can enlarge our world, making us more sensitive to others around us. How we transport ourselves and how we comport ourselves when we do is really what is at the heart of my candidacy. With the expected soaring price of auto use and obesity garnering national headlines, it makes only good sense that we give San Franciscans a public transportation option that allows them safe, reliable, environmentally healthy, and comfortable travel.

Next Page: Additional Endorsements

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
November 2010 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.
Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 18, 2010 10:33
Smart Voter   <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund