© 2022 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Crosscurrents logo 2021

In this election, even BART board races are really about housing

Eli Wirtschafter
Passengers at Ashby Station load onto one of BART’s new cars.";

The fight over housing in the Bay Area has turned up even in the elections for BART’s board of directors. The candidates are divided as to whether the agency should build more housing near its stations, or stay focused on running the trains on time.
A new law, proposed by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu, allows BART to sidestep local zoning rules on BART-owned property near stations. Under the new law, BART can build higher and more densely than the cities might otherwise allow. How BART should use that power has become the most divisive issue in this year’s races to run the agency. KALW’s Hana Baba spoke with transportation reporter Eli Wirtschafter.

"It's really a question of what kind of agency BART should be. Is BART just a transit agency? Or should it be a regional planning agency that's thinking not just about transportation, but also urban design and housing?"

Four out of nine seats on BART’s board of directors are contested this November. Directors are elected from nine districts in the Bay Area, which don’t necessarily line up with city boundaries. You might have a BART candidate on your ballot if you live in San Francisco, Oakland, Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord, Alameda, San Leandro, Fremont, Union City, Newark, or Hayward.

Map of BART Districts

District 2
(Includes parts of Contra Costa County)

Mark Foley
Joel Keller*

District 4
(Includes Alameda, and parts of Oakland and San Leandro)

Paul Cummings
Robert Raburn*

District 6
(Includes Fremont, Union City, Newark, parts of Hayward)

Anu Natarajan
Liz Ames

District 8
(Includes parts of San Francisco)

Eva Chao
Brian Larkin
Janice Li
Jonathan Lyens
Melanie Nutter
William Walker


Eli is the Program Director for KALW's project in state prisons. We teach incarcerated people how to record and edit audio stories, and air them as part of the series Uncuffed.