MacArthur Lights Conceptual Designs

Image of the 40th Street underpass from the center median


BART is working to improve the lighting along 40th Street at the I-580 underpass at the MacArthur BART station. To develop the lighting design, BART is coordinating with the City of Oakland, Caltrans and other agencies, with input from riders and the community.

The lighting design is focused on improving the experience for pedestrians accessing the station via the underpass from Martin Luther King Jr. Way along 40th Street to the station entrance. It also will improve the experience for those waiting to get picked up or being dropped off by other transit, shuttle, taxi or ride-hailing services.


BART is developing conceptual designs for lighting up the underpass at 40th Street to:

Aerial image of the MacArthur Station location with the project area under the freeway highlighted

  • Improve safety for people walking through and waiting for buses
  • Create a sense of place that better connects the east and west sides of the neighborhood
  • Encourage walking and biking to the station
  • Encourage spreading pick-up and drop-off activity of shuttle operators along the underpass to take pressure off of the curbs along the plaza.

Other Design Considerations

The consultant team has been tasked with considering additional points in their design, primarily:

  • Cost: The preliminary, high-level estimate for the installation is $0.75M-$1M, and funding has not yet been identified
  • Maintenance: The design should be such that it minimizes maintenance needs. In addition, a maintenance plan must be developed and agreed to by project partners to ensure that the installation continues to benefit the community well into the future.
  • Opportunities to re-use existing infrastructure: There are conduits and power sources already in place. If we can re-use them, then the project cost and time to complete are both minimized.

Community Engagement

BART is working with the community to achieve a shared vision for the lighting design that creates safe and welcoming access to the station. The MacArthur Lighting design project will have several opportunities for community input, through an online survey, neighborhood meetings and this website.

On-line Survey

The online survey has been closed.

Below are the word clouds that resulted from questions asked in the survey.

"Please use single words to describe your experience of the 40th Street underpass at night."

Word cloud describing how people currently feel in the underpass (mostly negative).

"Please use single words to describe what you WOULD LIKE your experience to be in the 40th Street underpass at night."

Word cloud describing how people would like their experience to be in the 40th St underpass.

"Please use single words to describe positive qualities about your neighborhood."

Word cloud describing positive attributes of the survey respondents' neighborhoods

To provide additional input, please use the email address listed below.

Neighborhood Meetings

BART has presented at three regularly-scheduled neighborhood meetings to gather input on the preliminary conceptual designs. This feedback has been incorporated into the final designs. Meeting dates, times, and locations are listed below.

Longfellow Association (DONE!)

Temescal Neighborhood Council (DONE!)

Temescal Business Improvement District (BID) (DONE!)

Lighting Concept Designs

The lighting conceptual designs have two types of lights: The first consists of "white" lights designed to illuminate the space and improve safety and security during both daytime and nighttime. These lights would take advantage of the flat surfaces in the underpass (such as the underside of the freeway and aerial BART structures) to help diffuse and improve the quality of light in the underpass. The second consists of dynamic color lights that would change colors very gradually, so that people moving through the space at low speed (i.e. pedestrians) would notice the change, whereas people moving through the space at higher speeds (i.e. in a car) would not.

Of four initial concepts, two have risen to the top as the clear preferred concepts by the community as well as internal BART stakeholders. They are illustrated below.

Concept 1: Portal

This is the simplest design, which has the advantage of being the easiest one to maintain. The color lights would make use of the existing walls and underside of the structures, and colors would change ever-so-slowly.

Portal concept image 1, blue. Portal concept image 2, red and purple. Portal concept image 3, orange

Concept 2: Crowds in Motion

This concept includes a painted design on the walls such that as the color of the lights changes, portions of the design gradually appear and disappear, creating an interplay of color and light, as in this example .

The renderings below show silhouettes of people for illustration purposes. If this concept becomes the preferred concept, BART will work with the community on the final choice for the painted design.

Crowds in motion concept image one, looking down 40th Street Crowds in motion image 3, view from plaza sidewalk

Crowds in motion concept image 2, wall elevation

During community outreach, the public expressed concern regarding the risk of vandalism of the images. One way to mitigate this risk would be to put the design out of reach, as in the alternate concept below.

Crowds in motion alternate, image 1, with design along the ceiling, blue, red, green Crowds in motion alternate, image 2, with design along the ceiling yellow, pink, cyan, purple

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