New turnaround poised for Mission Bay could boost Muni’s Central Subway plans 

Turning some T-Third Street trains back before the end of the line would allow Muni to increase service frequency. - ANNA LATINO/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Anna Latino/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Turning some T-Third Street trains back before the end of the line would allow Muni to increase service frequency.

Muni could increase the number of trains it can run on the future Central Subway line by adding turnaround loops in the Dogpatch neighborhood that would also benefit passengers in The City’s southeastern neighborhoods, according to the agency.

Muni’s Central Subway project is a $1.6 billion extension of the T-Third Street line that will eventually connect passengers from Hunters Point to Chinatown.

Muni is proposing adding the turnaround to segments of Illinois, 18th and 19th streets, which would allow trains running on the T-Third line and Central Subway route to double back and head downtown on Third Street instead of making the lengthy trip to the current last stop near the San Mateo County line.

The re-route would allow Muni to shift 24 trains to its Central Subway service plan and extend the N-Judah line’s terminus from the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets to south of Mission Bay, according to Peter Brown, a project manager at the agency.

Brown said Muni would also increase the service frequency of trains heading to Hunters Point and the Bayview, where local redevelopment projects are expected to significantly increase ridership on the T-Third line. Trains will depart for the neighborhoods every 7½ minutes, instead of the current nine-minute gap, Brown said.

The turnaround loop was originally included as part of the T–Third line, a service extension project that was completed in 2007 at a cost of $648 million. However, Muni couldn’t find the money to pay for the project until last year, when the federal government awarded a $5 million grant for construction of the loop, Brown said.

Along with laying down the new rail lines, the project also includes plans to add bike lanes and widen sidewalks along the loop route, which covers one block each of 18th, 19th and Illinois streets.

The agency is holding a community meeting Monday at the UCSF-Mission Bay campus to give an update on the project. Brown said construction is slated to begin in spring 2014 and could be completed by the end of that year.

Corinne Woods, a Mission Bay resident involved in Muni planning issues, said the proposed route  travels through mainly industrial areas, so the project shouldn’t receive much criticism from local community members.

Woods said some residents are interested in extending the loop one more block, to 20th Street, where a major development project is slated at Pier 70. Adding a stop at that site would be a major benefit for locals, she said.

“The transit options in the neighborhood are so poor, anything would be a help,” Woods said. “This project has a real potential to significantly improve the mobility of the neighborhood.”

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Will Reisman

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