BART is warning the Bay Area’s homeless population that stricter enforcement started today to stop people from sleeping and lying down in BART station corridors.
Saying that having people lying or sleeping in the stations could impede speedy evacuation, BART police started the campaign with increased enforcement at the Powell Street BART station this morning.
The campaign is intended to bring the stations into compliance with California law requiring that stations have to be able to evacuate safely in four to six minutes, according to BART.
State and local law prohibits blocking the free movement of another person in underground stations by lying down, according to BART.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said today that police started the enforcement measures at Powell Street at about 4 a.m. and that they reported this afternoon it had been going “very well.”
The enforcement will mainly focus on the Powell Street station for the moment but will expand out to other stations in time.
According to BART, the first infraction will provoke a verbal warning and a citation with no fine. The second will come with another citation with no fine, but the third will include a summons for a court appearance and potentially an arrest or fine.
Representatives from the veterans’ assistance group Swords to Plowshares accompanied BART officers making the rounds in stations today, BART said.
“This enforcement is in addition to our ongoing efforts to assist individuals who need help to get the services they need,” BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said in a statement.
Scott Morris, Bay City News