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City transit expert, 62, dies unexpectedly

Cameron Beach, one of California’s long-time transit officials and a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, died from a heart attack last Friday, the agency reported over the weekend. He was 62 years old.

Born in 1949, Beach served for 25 years as the chief operating officer for the Sacramento Regional Transit District, and later joined the San Francisco agency as a board member in 2007. Known for his broad expertise of the city transit system, Beach worked intensely with the Muni Restoration Task Force to restore transportation services that were cut due to budget shortfalls in May of 2010.

He earned special recognition in 2009 for the grilling he gave agency staff in response to complaints of slow vehicle running times in the Twin Peaks tunnel.

“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,” Tom Nolan, chairman of the agency’s board of directors, said in a statement.

Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., the executive director of the agency, said Beach’s “strong passion for public transit made significant improvements to the industry,” and “his transit expertise will not only be missed here in San Francisco but across this nation.”

A tribute is being planned in the form of a city streetcar, which is to be named after Beach.