BART Broadening to Bernal, Ocean Beach?

A location within a few blocks of a BART station has been a coveted feature among San Francisco house shoppers for nearly four decades.

That feature may soon extend to San Francisco homes in Bernal Heights and Ocean Beach in the Outer Richmond.

As the popular rapid transit system contemplates its 2012 plans, BART finds itself in a more flush cash position than in recent years. BART’s revenue had been negatively affected by the economic downturn. The commuter rail system has rebounded strongly, though, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports that BART is contemplating San Francisco expansion plans involving stations in Bernal Heights and possibly Ocean Beach.

“Over the past few years, we’ve just been trying to keep our heads above water,” Carter Mau, Executive Manager of BART Budget and Planning, told the Chronicle. “Now that we’ve recovered a bit, it’s time to start looking at our future.”

That future might include some convenient new transit perks for owners of homes in Bernal Heights and homes in the Outer Richmond.

The proposed Bernal Heights and Ocean Beach BART stations are unrelated expansion proposals, and neither is contingent upon the other. A betting individual might be more inclined to wager on the proposed Bernal Heights station becoming a reality.

The theoretical Bernal Heights BART station could be built in to the current BART line, between the 24th Street Mission Station and the Balboa Park Station. The proposed “infill station” — a station built in to the already-existing rail line — would be located at Mission and 30th Street.

The BART-to-Ocean-Beach proposal, called “BART to the Beach”, would be a far larger and more time-consuming infrastructure enhancement. If enacted, this plan would build BART stations beneath Geary Boulevard, through The Richmond District, with the line ending at scenic Ocean Beach.

“I’ve always said you could get to downtown San Francisco quicker from Richmond city than from the Richmond District”, BART Director James Fang told the SF Examiner. Fang projects the proposed Ocean Beach line would take seven to eight years to complete.

Additional proposals for new BART stops outside San Francisco include stations in Oakland’s Jack London Square, Livermore, Brentwood, and Crockett.

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