OAKLAND -- BART will spend $1 million in its ongoing battle against pigeon poop.
After trying everything from protective nets to recorded hawk squawks to keep the birds away, transit system managers have decided the best defense is installing slanted metal sheets and other barriers to keep the birds from perching in high places.
The pigeon poop creates both health and aesthetics problems.
"It's not pleasant for our riders," said BART spokesman Jim Allison, "and it can be a deterrent to attracting riders."
On Thursday, the BART board set aside $1 million for the pigeon defenses from a $10.8 million budget surplus that developed during the last fiscal year, in part because ridership and fare revenues grew faster than expected.
The idea is to install angled metal sheets at key locations in stations to deprive the pigeons of flat places to land. Metal rods and spikes at key places also can ward off the birds.
It's not cheap, though.
"We're talking about installing a new infrastructure," Allison said. "It's designed to save money in the long term, though, by saving on maintenance."
Pigeons have taken a liking to many above-ground stations over the years, including Concord, Pleasant Hill, Colma and Daly City.
BART installed netting to keep the pigeons away from some stations, but the netting has sagged over the years and lost its effectiveness, Allison said.
The transit system also tried piping in recorded hawk calls to scare away the birds. Unfortunately, the pigeons got wise and started ignoring the predator sounds.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.