Cameron Beach’s passing leaves vast transit-knowledge void at SFMTA 

With the sudden passing of board member Cameron Beach on Friday night, the seven-person body that governs the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will now have to replace a vast source of knowledge of the public transit industry.

During his tenure with the board, Beach, a lifelong advocate of San Francisco’s transit system and former chief operating officer of the Sacramento Regional Transit District, routinely displayed wide-ranging expertise of the SFMTA’s daily operations. From the appropriate speed of light-rail vehicles in the Twin Peaks Tunnel to the precise scheduling details of Muni’s array of transit lines, there was little, if anything, that Beach didn’t know intimately about the agency.

Beach’s term on the SFMTA board actually expired on March 1, although his duration had been extended for 60 days while Mayor Ed Lee decided whether to reappoint him.

Lee spokesman Christine Falvey said the mayor’s thoughts are foremost with the well-being of Beach’s family and friends. She said that a decision on his replacement will be made by May 1, the deadline for the 60-day extension of his original term.

According to reports, Beach died of a sudden cardiac arrest at his West Portal home on Friday night. He was 62.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a close friend and colleague, who had an unparalleled passion for Muni, our customers and the future of this system,” SFMTA board chair Tom Nolan said in a statement. “Director Beach has been a pillar of transit expertise and insight on our board and it has been a privilege to know and work with him over these years.”

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Will Reisman

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