Hayward BART renaming initiative postponed

A proposal to rename the Hayward BART station to possible names like “Downtown Hayward” has been postponed until the council meets to discuss the budget. As it stands, it is unlikely to be approved.

According to City Manager Fran David, the cost to have talks with BART and conduct studies to find the exact cost of renaming the station would be close to $2,000. Estimates to rename the BART station could range from $600,000 to $5.4 million, the staff report states.

The name change would emphasize that Hayward is a city and that it has a downtown area. Councilmember Barbara Halliday said the change could potentially attract more attention to the downtown area.

The high cost is due to the work associated with changing all of the maps and trains throughout the BART system, said Frank Holland, Hayward Community and Media Relations Officer.

This cost could be divided with two other parties who are seeking to change the names of other stations in the system. The two stations are Oakland Airport and 19th Street Station, which would like to change its name to “Uptown Oakland,” said Holland.

If the city waited until Warm Springs/South Fremont BART station is expected to open for service in the fall 2015, this would allow for the cost to split four ways; however it is unlikely the Oakland groups will wait that long, said Holland.

According to the lowest estimates by David, this would still cost the city at least $300,000.

Councilmember Francisco Zermeño took a stand against the motion, and stated that he would like the proposition postponed indefinitely until contract negotiations with the three remaining unions that have not come to an agreement with the city are resolved.

“The idea is a good one, but I would advise our colleagues to prioritize our workers first,” said Zermeño.

Last month Hayward City Council passed a one-year contract that imposes a 5 percent pay cut on Local SEIU 1021 city workers in order to secure the city’s long-term finances. The Daily Review reported that clerical workers’ pay was cut by nearly $400 a month and wages for maintenance workers was cut by about $325 a month.

According to the city’s staff report from that meeting, the unions Police HPOA, IFPTE Local 21 are in the process of beginning or resuming negotiations with the city to meet the city’s benchmarks. The Local SEIU 1021 had previously refused to negotiate further pay and benefits cuts with the city. These three unions combined represent clerical, maintenance and technical workers, including engineers, and police officers.

Halliday proposed authorizing the city to spend $2,000 to work with BART to determine a final cost estimate. The proposal was supported by Halliday and Councilmember Mark Salinas, and opposed by the rest of the council. Councilmember Greg Jones called it a “waste of funding dollars.”

“Even if it’s remotely close to $600,000 it’s not something that will be getting my support,” said Mayor Michael Sweeney.

The concept of a BART station’s name being changed is not unprecedented. The most recent case was in 2010, when the Pleasant Hill BART station was officially renamed Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre. According to a BART staff report, updating the name on signs and other paraphernalia cost $413,800.