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Bathrooms at 19th St. Oakland BART Station Have Reopened

The long-closed public restrooms are the second to reopen in the BART system.
By - posted 2/28/2022 No Comment

BART just recently reopened the restrooms at Oakland’s 19th Street Station.

On Friday, February 25, 2022, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee helped mark the reopening of the newly remodeled 19th Street/Oakland Station restrooms, a project for which she played a major role in securing funding.

Restrooms at 10 of BART’s underground stations have been closed since 9/11 because of safety concerns. 19th Street/Oakland Station’s two public restrooms are the second to reopen as part of the agency’s efforts to prioritize the needs of transit riders, especially now during the pandemic recovery. Powell Street Station public restrooms were the first to reopen on February 2, 2022.

“Restrooms play a critical role in meeting the basic needs of riders throughout our entire system,” said BART Director Robert Raburn. “Their reopening can help BART attract new riders including families visiting downtown and Uptown Oakland and essential industry workers.”

The restrooms are all-gender with inclusive signs (signs show a toilet). All-gender options means if one is closed for cleaning, anyone can use the other one. The restrooms offer LED lighting and touchless sink features with the handwashing area located outside of the restroom on the concourse. This is great for those who just want to wash their hands – they don’t have to wait for those using the toilet. A drinking fountain and water bottle filling station are also close by and rules are outlined through a posted sign.

BART will pilot fulltime restroom attendants using community members from the Oakland-based organization District Works. Attendants provide a staff presence to promote proper use of the space and report problems to the appropriate staff. Attendants are not security or janitors. The restrooms will be cleaned when the Attendant goes on break or lunch, up to 6 times daily and as the need arises.

The remodeled restrooms are part of the larger 19th Street/Oakland Station Modernization Project which includes installing new LED lighting throughout the station, a new concourse to platform elevator, replacing existing metal fare barriers with glass barriers, installing glass guardrails on staircases, installing a new station agent booth and relocating the fare gates at the north end of the station, installing a new fare gate array on the south end of the station while enclosing the existing platform elevator into the paid area.

Funding for the 19th Street/Oakland restrooms comes from an FTA TIGER grant (championed by Rep. Lee), ACTC, CA STIP funding and voter approved measures: BART’s Measure RR, Measure BB (Alameda County transportation sales tax), and Prop 1B (statewide infrastructure bond).

BART plans a phased approach to reopening restrooms at the remaining underground stations based on available funding.  Restrooms are set to reopen at Lake Merritt and Montgomery Street stations by summer of 2022 and at Downtown Berkeley and Embarcadero stations in fiscal year 2023. The remaining underground restrooms to be opened are at Civic Center, 16th St. Mission, 24th St. Mission, and 12th St. Oakland stations.

Closed restrooms need to be brought fully to current code compliance and upgraded with improved plumbing, electrical, ventilation, and access. Extensive hazardous abatement is also required. The estimated funding needed to reopen all closed restrooms is approximately $14 million through fiscal year 2026. BART still needs to identify funding.

Read more at BART.gov