Balboa Park opened on for BART on November 5, 1973. The station is adjacent to the MUNI Metro's main (and only until the MUNI Metro East facility along T-Third Street Line opened in 2008) maintenance shop, the Curtis E. Green Light Rail Center. This facility is used to store and service both the MUNI Metro's LRVs and the Vintage Cars used on the F Market & Wharves Historic Streetcar line that deadhead using the tracks of the J line to and from downtown. J and K/T cars originate and terminate directly outside the station on a car loop while M cars terminate directly across the street at San Jose and Geneva.
The actual BART station is in a deep open-cut nestled between the MUNI shops and car loop, and I-280. The station has a single island platform for the two BART tracks. The station is listed as the transfer station for passengers switching between S.F. Airport and Millbrae Trains and the East Bay trains that terminate in Daly City, Daly City has three tracks and two platforms, this listing is to avoid making passengers change platforms at Daly City. The island platform has concrete walls with a beam held up from the sides of the open cut for the length of the platform housing a beam with lighting and station name signs. The middle of the exposed portion of the platform has lampposts.
To leave the platform two staircases, an up escalator and a down escalator lead up to the mezzanine level of a concrete station house with plenty of skylights. This mezzanine level is adjacent to the track loop used by the J and K MUNI Metro Lines to terminate and the Green Light Rail Center's concrete building (and track yards) are just beyond. An exit leads directly to this loop, there are actually two loops and stairs lead down and under to the other loop (that is a slightly lower level). MUNI Metro Cars stop at street level (their no proper platforms) and a couple small yellow signs say K Car Stop and J Car Stop towards the exit of these car loops. Terminating cars stop closer to the entrance to BART. To directly leave the BART station escalators and stairs lead directly up to the north side of Geneva Avenue in a pedestrian unfriendly area near an on ramp to I-280. The elevator is also here with a single shaft requiring special fare card validation, stopping at the mezzanine. An addition exit is a staircase up to the south side of Geneva Avenue and a final exit is accessed via a walkway from the northern side of the building between I-280 and the open cut of BART north to Ocean Avenue.
Photo 1-4: 19 April, 2006; 5-7: 19 March, 2008; 8-9: 14 March, 2010; 10-18: 14 June, 2013; 19-32: 15 June, 2013