Super Bowl Party Kicks Out F-Line Streetcars

Super Bowl Party on lower Market

The F-line’s historic streetcars will be kicked out of Downtown for at least eight days, probably longer, early next year. Lower Market Street and Ferry Plaza are being taken over by a massive party for Super Bowl 50, the NFL Championship game being played 50 miles away in Santa Clara on February 7.

Still, San Francisco is the official “host city,” and the host committee is touting the economic benefits of one of America’s most hyped — and most watched — sporting events.  The plans, just released, call for closing Market Street east of Beale from January 30 through game day, taking over the plazas around the Ferry Building as well (including the plaza adjoining our San Francisco Railway Museum).

According to an article on the Chronicle’s web site, “The city is expected to add more public transportation to the area and reroute the historic F-line streetcars…”  However, as reporters for the paper should know, there is no way to “reroute” streetcars unless there are tracks for them, and, as the rendering above from the Super Bowl Host Committee shows, the entirety of Market Street is closed to all vehicles, with the tracks blocked by temporary structures in places.

While Muni has not yet announced its plans to handle the Market Street closure, the party would – at a minimum – restrict the F-line streetcars to operating from 11th Street west to Castro during the time lower Market is closed, which could stretch as long as ten days when set up and break down times are added, since there is no place closer than that on Market to turn the streetcars around. Buses would presumably substitute for at least that portion of the F-line, either using Mission Street to get around the parade or turning back at Beale, as the Market Street trolley coach lines likely will.

It’s not clear whether the streetcar tracks on The Embarcadero through Ferry Plaza would remain open. If so, streetcar shuttles could operate between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building. If not, it’s possible the entire F-line would be operated with buses, rerouted off lower Market, for this extended period.

We’ll report more developments as we learn of them.




Comments: 9

  1. If some of the World Series “celebrations” in SF are any indication, it may be wise to keep the streetcars tucked away until the whole thing blows over.

  2. Do the historic street cars fit in the tunnel under Market street? I’d wet myself with pure joy if I was waiting for the L and one of those babies came truckin’ through the tunnel.

    • The Muni Metro overhead is not configured for trolley poles, and there would also be a problem with the platform level. PCC 1008 had a pantograph for many years, but the pan was removed before it went back to Brookville for its restoration. As I recall, Line Car 0304 has a pantograph, but it’s obviously not suitable for passenger service. Perhaps Muni will run the historic streetcars in a preview of the E line–they have over half a year to come up with plans.

      • Not to mention that for Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Van Ness, the platform is on the wrong side for streetcars.

  3. If MUNI wanted to operate streetcars from 11th to Castro, they’d have to move enough of the fleet back to Cam Beach Yard to provide cars and spares for this extended duration since they would be unable to access MME where most of the fleet is now stored. From an ease of operations perspective, it really makes sense to just use all buses with the F line operators driving them and be done with it. Certainly easier than running partial streetcar service and forcing passengers to transfer back and forth at Van Ness for over a week. As to an Embarcadero operation, as noted, it would depend on access to and from MME and availability of the right-of-way in the Ferry Plaza area and the turnaround at Don Chee Way.

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