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Pier 70: Even More Reason to Take the E-line There

The Port of San Francisco has gotten a lot more developer interest in historic Pier 70 than they expected, according to the Chronicle's City Insider.  Last fall, we outlined the value of historic streetcar service to Pier 70.  We noted that Muni has already invested significant money in a partially-completed streetcar loop off the T-line that could allow the future E-line historic streetcar service to terminate near front door of Pier 70, just north of the landmark Bethlehem Steel headquarters building, pictured below, at 20th and Illinois Streets.

800px-OldBethelemSteelHeadquartersInSanFranciscoAt20thAndIllinois.jpgMarket Street Railway strongly believes this loop should be completed expeditiously and used as the southern E-line terminal. The current proposed terminal, which would be shared with the N-line at the Caltrain Depot, can only be used by double-end historic streetcars, of which Muni has relatively few, while the Pier 70 terminal can be used by every historic streetcar in the fleet. Adequate low-level boarding platforms already exist along the stretch of the T-line that would be shared, and the existing high-level T-line platforms can be used to board wheelchairs on E-line streetcars.

The E-line streetcars would provide an attractive public transit connection between Pier 70, the fast-developing Mission Bay/UCSF neighborhood, the Giants' ballpark, South Beach, the Ferry Building, the Barbary Coast/Golden Gateway neighborhood, the Cruise Ship terminal, Fisherman's Wharf, and, later, Aquatic Park and Fort Mason.  It would connect more National Landmark Districts than any other transit line in America.

We call on Muni and the Port to work together to bring the E-line to Pier 70, increasing the value of this priceless historic district.

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And with the America’s Cup coming to San Francisco, what a perfect opportunity to use the historic streetcars to showcase the history of San Francisco’s waterfront.

Muni and the Port working together, that seems rather optimistic.

Something, a placard at the terminal perhaps, should inform passengers that the building pictured above was featured in “Vertigo”, where James Stewart (as Scotty) met an old college chum who asked him to tail his suicidal wife…

It won’t last, but some of the ships being prepared at Pier 70 for scrapping are as old as the “F” line cars, including the African Dawn (now simply Dawn) which was built for Grace lines in 1946.

This makes such great sense that I hope will move the process along. Money has already been spent in preparing 90-95% of this extension for service. Let’s go the last 500 yards!

Don’t get your hopes up. I don’t think it has been studied to death yet.

I’d love to see the E-line come back, but having seen how badly the T-line and N-line trains get backed up and delayed at the 4th and King intersection during rush hour, I’m skeptical that it’ll happen before the Central Subway (which still needs funding) is completed and allows MUNI to reduce the number of N-line trains handling commuter traffic.

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