I'm Barnali & I'm Running for BART Board


One of my favorite BART memories was the day I put on a yellow silk sari, got on BART with my family, and emerged at Civic Center Station for my wedding at San Francisco City Hall during 2004’s Winter of Love. I was also wearing a sari during my worst experience on BART, getting harassed by a racist rider telling me to go back to my own country. The system is amazing, but it also faces some of the same challenges that the Bay Area faces.

BART directors have a big job: they provide oversight, direct policy, and help make sure the system meets everyone's needs. I chaired the City of Berkeley's Transportation Commission and now serve as Vice-chair for its Planning Commission. I've been an advocate with groups like Walk Bike Berkeley and TransForm, pushing for better transportation and fair housing.

You can’t have a BART board that’s afraid of complexity. As an architect, and a landscape architect trained at UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, I've designed and managed the construction of public projects. I'm comfortable with technical details, asking the tough questions, and standing my ground when necessary.

You need to actually ride the system to know what’s working and what could be better. I’ve taken BART to work, meetings, concerts, and protests. But I've also felt the frustration of missing the last train at night, walking into a car that feels messy or unsafe, and unreliable bus connections. I’m running for BART board because the system needs all our love.

We rely on BART board members to listen to community needs, and make sure they’re actually getting heard. I bring a diversity of lived experience to help me listen and connect. I've spent over twenty years in the East Bay, running public immigrant history walking tours, curating arts events, and founding community groups like Brown & Green.

Having a family member with a hidden disability who is mostly dependent on transit, I’ve seen up close how quality transit is an essential lifeline for many people, especially seniors, youth, people with disabilities, marginalized communities, and immigrants like myself.

In 2009-2010 I spent a year traveling the world (without flying) to learn more about the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis. Once I returned home I decided to focus my local efforts on the transportation sector, our state's largest contributor to climate-polluting greenhouse gasses. I’m deeply concerned about environmental justice. and view sound transit policy as a central priority in our collective efforts to overcome the climate crisis and improve lives locally and globally, including in my homeland. If elected, I would be the first person of South Asian origin on the BART Board.

I never thought I’d run for office, but seeing a system I love in crisis has pushed me to step up. If you think BART is worth protecting and improving, I’d appreciate your support.

I will be on the November 2024 ballot running to represent folks who live in District 3, which includes Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules as well as the unincorporated communities of Kensington, El Sobrante, North Richmond, Rodeo, Crockett, and Port Costa. I hope to win your support.

I invite you to learn more about my priorities, donate, and sign up to volunteer. Join me in the fight to make BART the best it can be.