Is BART prepared for the catastrophic weather events climate change will bring?
An article in SFGate highlights the risks that climate change-induced hazards pose to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. In 2019, BART experienced massive systemwide delays due to mechanical problems on a very hot summer day. Even more pressing is the transit system's vulnerability to sea level rise and the associated rise in groundwater, which threatens several BART stations and properties, including the Oakland Airport, Coliseum, Capitol Corridor, San Bruno and Millbrae stations, as well the Oakland yard and shop.
BART has already taken steps to install backup generators at its stations in the event of power outages, as well as cooling systems to protect its control rooms from extreme heat. However, addressing sea level rise may require billions of dollars, as well as a coordinated interagency response-- not something that BART can take on alone.
“We're going to be better off as a region if we don't leave it up to each individual agency to try to manage sea level rise on its own or to try to manage the impacts of climate change on their own,” said Nick Josefowitz, the chief of policy at SPUR, a nonprofit public policy organization, and a former BART director.
“We need an approach that’s going to identify the shared risks we face, but also the shared risks we face as an interconnected region, as a set of interconnected communities.”