Just as BART is considering how to design new seats for its trains — including what covers to use — local yarnbomber Streetcolor has come up with a suggestion.

Streetcolor, whose most recent major Berkeley installation was the looped bike rack outside the downtown Berkeley Public Library, said she wanted to knit “something really big and ambitious” and hence came up with the BART idea.

“I had been reading about how scary the Bart seats had gotten and I could see for myself that the seats covers were drab and depressing. I thought it would be startling to see really bright clean knitting on a seat instead,” she wrote on her Streetcolor blog.

The Bay Citizen recently ran a series of stories on BART seats, highlighting how unhygienic, even potentially unhealthy, the old seating stock is. It kicked off its coverage on March 5 with a piece that revealed lab tests showing seats contained fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Streetcolor suspected her cover would not last long on BART, so she knitted a slipcover that could slide over the seat and then be removed afterwards . “That way I could yarnbomb several trains with it,” she said.

BART is currently taking potential new seat designs on a “Seat Lab” roadshow for the public to assess its favorites. You can catch it today, June 14th, at Pleasant at Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre Station from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The tour then moves on to Antioch and San Francisco.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Long live the yarn underground.  Lighten up folks.  This isn’t a solution it is installation art, not intended to solve problems.  It’s worthy of a smile.

  2. BART seats are disgusting. I would love to hear from people who think they are a good idea! New York subways feel so much cleaner, simply because they can be wiped down with disinfectant and hosed down with water.

  3. I love the yarnbombing, and wish this seat would have been on my train to San Francisco! Thank you Streetcolor!

  4. yeah.  that would stay clean for about a minute.  i have never witnessed people fighting for standing room!  why can’t they have something steam cleanable, as they seem to have in the boston and new york subways?  they don’t smell like our bart does.  gross!

  5. The last thing Bart seats need is more fabric–of any  color.  Until Bart passengers stop throwing up or spilling their latte and mustard on the seats let’s go for something that can be clean, sanitary and doesn’t stink.

  6. cute, but obviously not a fix for the hygiene problem that has everyone fighting over who gets to stand up on BART.