Historic streetcar service to Aquatic Park and Fort Mason came a step closer today with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the extension. The National Park Service was the lead agency on the DEIS because much of the 0.85 mile extension from Jones and Jefferson Streets to Fort Mason Center traverses federal parkland. However, the final design, construction, and operation of the extension would be done by Muni (part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency).
The DEIS, a lengthy document, can be downloaded and reviewed here. You can offer comments on the DEIS at the same site.
As the map above shows, the DEIS preferred alternative is an extension that extends the existing westbound F-line track one block to Leavenworth and uses that street to jog over to Beach, which would carry the extension on double track in both directions past the Hyde Street turntable, Ghirardelli Square, and the Maritime Museum to the end of Beach Street. From there, the double track would angle across the corner of Aquatic Park, as shown in the illustration below, to reach the historic 1914 railroad tunnel under Fort Mason, and use that single-track tunnel to reach a loop terminal east of Laguna Street, inside the Fort Mason boundaries.
The recommended terminal at Fort Mason would be a loop just outside the west tunnel portal in the Fort Mason Center parking lot, providing convenient service for the 1.8 million people who work or attend events at the facility annually. The photo simulation below shows the terminal would be barely visible from outside the Fort Mason Center gate, yet would be in easy walking distance for thousands of Marina residents.
The estimated cost of constructing this alternative, including rehabilitation of the 1100-foot long tunnel, is $28.9 million. Public comments on the DEIS will be open on the project website until May 17, after which a Final EIS will be prepared. A Record of Decision (ROD), the final step in the federal environmental process, would then be expected by the end of 2011. If the project is certified, detailed design and engineering could then proceed.
Market Street Railway has advocated this project for almost a decade. Our members will receive a far more extensive analysis of the project in the next issue of our member newsletter, Inside Track, which will be mailed next week.