BART Permanently Closes Civic Center Entrance

The station's second entrance closure begins Thursday to make room for a power substation that will increase BART's peak capacity.

Starting Thursday, another entrance at Civic Center station will cease to be.

BART is permanently closing of the northern entrance at Eighth and Market streets to make way for a power substation to get more trains running during peak hours. The closure comes one year after the agency closed its so-called Burger King entrance at Grove and Eighth streets.

Riders may have noticed the out-of-service escalator as far back as Oct. 15, when BART began dismantling it. On Thursday, the stairs will also be closed off to eliminate public access. 

Entrances for Civic Center BART station. (Photo courtesy of BART)

The two entrances were connected to six others on Market Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets, by tunnels but will soon hold a new power substation to keep up with increased ridership.

Thanks to funds from Measure RR, which voters passed in 2016, BART will be able to run 30 trains through the Transbay Tube in each direction instead of 24 trains currently run during peak hours.

Construction will begin in 2019 to install a 34.5kv power cable.

“We studied possible locations of the new substations extensively and reached the conclusion that the west end of the concourse level of the Civic Center station is the only place where the new substation can go,” BART said earlier this month. “Though the station will lose two entrances, there are others still available that are located much closer to the platform, fare gates, and ticket vending machines.”

The station entrance closures mark another recent change for Civic Center station, which has spacious, warm hallways long used as a refuge for people experiencing homelessness. In June, then-Mayor Mark Farrell announced officers would spend 500 hours each week patrolling the hallways and platforms — the equivalent of 12 full-time officers inside one station.

Going above the ground isn’t a great option anymore, either. In September, SFPD began stationing a Mobile Command Unit at U.N. Plaza in the name of making it “user-friendly to anybody that wants to come and enjoy it,” Chief Bill Scott said.

With officers swarming the plaza and the station reduced in size down below, the Coalition on Homeless notices unhoused folks being pushed into the Tenderloin and Hayes Valley — far enough away to save BART riders from an uncomfortable reminder of the homelessness crisis as they cross a more efficient Transbay Tube.

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