Balboa Park Station is a Bay Area Rapid Transit station located south of Balboa Park in southern San Francisco, California. It consists of two main tracks and a single island platform. Interstate 280 runs along the west side of the station, and City College of San Francisco is to the north.
Balboa Park is currently the busiest BART station outside downtown San Francisco, with seven San Francisco Muni bus lines and three Muni Metro lines connecting in the vicinity. In addition, the station is popular with passengers who kiss and ride, due to its proximity to Interstate 280, a major commuter route into San Francisco. The station is the southernmost in the BART system that passengers can access using an SF Muni FastPass (which is valid for travel only within San Francisco); the next southbound stop, Daly City Station, is just outside San Francisco, across the San Mateo County border in suburban Daly City.
Balboa Park Station serves as an official transfer station in the BART system. Although all four BART lines that pass through the station currently continue southward to Daly City, the Balboa Park Station design offers passengers transfers between trains without having to change platforms. The station also serves as a major intermodal hub by its multiple local transit connections.
Service at this station began on November 3, 1973.
Balboa Park has been a a de facto transfer station since 1996 because that was when Colma opened and has been noted as such for stations south of Daly City since 2003 when the San Francisco Airport extension was built.
In 2011 a new entrance was opened on the north side of the station to facilitate access to San Francisco City College. The new entrance replaces cumbersome pedestrian routes along steep hills, back allies, and Muni train tracks with a tight clearance against a wall, all to use the original south side entrance. The entrance is a rampway from Ocean Avenue however there is no station agent at this end but an intercom and sliding gate was installed for contacting him or her.Architecture
Unlike most other BART stations, which are either completely underground with artificial lighting, or elevated and open to natural daylight, Balboa Park Station has a trench-like design of uncovered, below-grade boarding platforms with a centrally located, at-grade entrance area covering its midsection, such that a significant amount of sunlight can penetrate the uncovered platform areas at each end of the station. The midsection at-grade level spans the platform area using a series of open arches, and most of the interior walls are finished with rough-textured concrete.
The original architects of the station were Corlett & Spackman and Ernest Born. Born also designed the decorative station graphics.