A great deal of transportation planning is based in rhetoric–BART to SFO sounds good, BART to San Jose sounds logical, the Oakland Airport Connector sounds necessary. Too often, good projects don’t gain any momentum because they just don’t sound interesting enough to BART’s suburban constituency–a 30th & Mission sounds completely random and unnecessary when BART already has two other stations with “& Mission” in it. In the comments on my last post, Mike Fogel brought up an interesting idea of rebranding BART projects to sound more attractive to suburbanites
BART’s suburban majority will keep focusing on projects that serve the suburbs… if they don’t they’ll just be voted out and replaced by someone who will.
But, that doesn’t mean that all urban projects are necessarily out. They just needed to be billed in a light that’s more attractive to the suburban BART rider/voter.
So, when we talk about expanding BART in the urban areas we should talk about it in terms of what it would provide as a destination of a trip rather than as a source. For example, rather than ‘BART on geary’, how about ‘BART to golden gate park!’ Or not ‘a second transbay tube’ but rather ‘BART to the ball park’. etc.
Expanding upon this idea, below are some potential rebrandings for good but boring projects to increase their suburban appeal, accompanied by the reactions of an average suburbanite:
Geary BART: “Sounds boring. Isn’t Geary near all the drug addicts in the Tenderloin? No way, give us BART to Tracy!!!”
BART to Golden Gate Park: “OMG that would be so great! I never go to Golden Gate Park on weekends because it takes me two hours to drive there, but now I can just hop on in Lafayette and be there in no time! DeYoung here I come!”
San Antonio Station: “Where is San Antonio? Texas? Oh it’s in Oakland? Sounds like a place I wouldn’t want to go, since it’s not the airport, the coliseum, or Emeryville.”
Estuary Station: “Ooooo sounds environmental! Will I get to see sea otters and whales?”
Albany Station: “Well, I guess.”
Solano Ave/Albany: “How North Berkeley! I’ve read about it in the Chronicle’s ‘Yuppie’ section!”
pBart: “BART’s on the Peninsula??? And they built it overnight for free??? Awesome!”
98th Ave Station: well… can’t really think of a way to dress this one up.