An underground light-rail tunnel, a streetcar expansion and solar panels on bus yards are among the projects outlined in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors’ $21 billion, 20-year capital plan. The document is more wish list than blueprint, or, as the S.F. Examiner puts it, “a plan to perhaps plan, which would then be followed by another plan.”
The light-rail tunnel would house the M-Oceanview train line, which the agency would like to run underground, and stretch between West Portal and Parkmerced. Total project cost, including a 19th Avenue redesign, is estimated to be around $2.5 billion, according to the Examiner, and it hasn’t been approved yet.
Another $80 million could go toward expanding the F-Market and Wharves historic streetcar line to Fort Mason. The E-Embarcadero streetcar could also receive its own track loop and terminal, to the tune of $10 million. The news will likely be welcome to streetcar enthusiasts, especially because Muni scrapped several of its historic cars — the Boeing Vertol LRVs, which turned out to be lemons — last year.
The plan also decreases investment in the taxi industry, from $90 million in 2015 to $60 million in 2017. According to the Examiner, the change “was made as the need to fund the accessible taxi rebate program, taxi stand increases and taxi management system ‘decreased in scope,’” which is probably a polite way of saying “was eaten up by the ride-hailing industry.” (As Next City has covered at length, San Francisco is taking an especially aggressive, and somewhat pre-emptive, approach to regulating companies like Uber and Lyft).
Other highlights include upgrading 23 red light cameras and adding 10 more, new light-rail train cars, enhancing disability access to trains and conducting 3D scans of maintenance facilities and trackways.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.