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Warriors Arena in Mission Bay Boosts Importance of Extending the E-Line

The Warriors now say their future lies on the border of Mission Bay and Dogpatch, instead of a mile farther north on Piers 30-32. The 125-foot tall, 18,000-seat arena the basketball team proposed to build over the Bay along the southern Embarcadero is now slated for a site the Warriors just bought on the east side of Third Street, between South and 16th Streets.

Unlike the Pier 30-32 site, this site fits within current zoning and would need only a fraction of the approvals and reviews of the pier site. Prominent opponents of the pier site, including former Mayor Art Agnos and former Supervisor Aaron Peskin, are cheering the Warriors’ choice of the Mission Bay site, so while no proposed development ever encounters totally smooth sailing in San Francisco, this one looks to have a strong chance of actually getting built.

KSheridan 3rd St photo.jpg

A vintage PCC streetcar, in special service, pauses at the station on Third Street that would serve the new Warriors arena, as a T-line light rail vehicle heads in the other direction. Market Street Railway advocates permanent E-line vintage streetcar service through Mission Bay and Dogpatch by the time the Warriors arena opens, slated for 2018. Copyrighted photo by Kevin Sheridan.

That makes the extension of the E-Embarcadero historic streetcar line even more important. Muni’s parent, SFMTA, now says they’ll begin preliminary weekend service on the E-line next year, but only between the Caltrain Depot (Fourth and King Streets) and Fisherman’s Wharf. As our members and readers of this blog know well, Market Street Railway is joined by a growing number of neighborhood and business groups in advocating the extension of the E-line, west from the Wharf to Fort Mason on new track, and south from Caltrain along the existing T-line tracks on Third Street, terminating at Muni Metro East at Cesar Chavez and Illinois Streets.

This southern extension would connect the rapidly multiplying residential developments in Mission Bay and Dogpatch, the fast-growing UCSF Mission Bay campus, the Giants’ mixed-use development just south of China Basin and the large proposed developments at Pier 70 with all the waterfront attractions to the north, including the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium, and the Wharf area.

The E-line extension was already justified, in our view, by the existing and in-process developments alone. Add a new arena that will host in excess of 200 events a year, and an extended E-line becomes a necessity to avoid gridlock in the neighborhood.

Remember that the T-Third light rail line, which currently turns east at Fourth and King to follow the waterfront before dipping into the Market Street Subway, will be rerouted into the Central Subway when it’s finished in 2019. That’s great for those moving between the arena and Moscone Center, Powell Street BART, Union Square, and Chinatown, but it also means no more direct rail service from Mission Bay and Dogpatch to the southern Embarcadero. An extended E-line would provide that service and continue to popular destinations to the north, up to and including Fisherman’s Wharf. The E-line makes it easy to combine a day or meal at the Wharf with an evening event at the arena.

You can read about, and download our comprehensive vision for the E-line here. Note that since we published our vision last year, we’ve joined Dogpatch neighbors and businesses in advocating that the E-line extend farther south than shown in the document, all the way through Dogpatch.

We’ll continue to work with neighborhood and business groups along the E-line to make our vision a reality. It’s clearly needed more now than ever.

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