Support for Fort Mason Extension

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The long-proposed historic streetcar extension west from Fisherman’s Wharf to Fort Mason Center is gaining momentum.

What you see above is how the terminal inside Fort Mason could look. The streetcars in the photo would turn left just before that wall at top and enter the historic 1914 railroad tunnel to reach Aquatic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf, then on to the Ferry Building and beyond.

Yesterday, the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency presented a unanimous resolution to the SFMTA Board of Directors supporting the extension. SFMTA Board Chair Tom Nolan responded with his own strong support for the extension.

Several members of the public added their public endorsement, including Marina District resident Mike Wilmar. Fort Mason Center Board Chair Jim Chappell recounted how the lack of direct Muni connections to regional transit such as BART and Caltrain makes it hard for many non-profit groups to base themselves at Fort Mason. Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher offered his opinion that the project may have been slow to take root within SFMTA staff because the environmental work, now complete, was performed by the National Park Service, whose property forms half the extension’s 0.85 miles. Now, though, with various obstacles cleared away, it’s time to move forward, he said.

The photo above is taken from the National Park Service’s Environmental Impact Statement. It’s a huge document, but you can download individual chapters, or the whole thing, here.

There is much more to this story, and we will have it for our Members in the next issue of our quarterly newsletter, Inside Track. (If you’re not a member, you can join now and get the current issue sent to you, or request it electronically.)  We will also post further developments in the story here. Also, there is a new Facebook group, independent of Market Street Railway, that also supports the extension. On Facebook, search for “@fortmasonstreetcar” or “Bring Streetcars to Fort Mason Project” and Like that page. Visible public support, especially from those who work and live along the route, in the Marina District, at Fort Mason, or in Fisherman’s Wharf, is critical to its success.


Comments: 5

  1. I’d like to see the MSR go all the way to the Presidio along Marina Blvd, but unfortunately, the NIMBYs would never let that happen.

    • From the view of an urban planner, that would be the only logic, sensefull and consequent solution. The SF officials should THINK BIG and in a wider range and LARGER CONTEXT !

      Presidio is another hotspot of tourism and business and not a housing area. Such a place has to be better served by so named “Transportainment” (merger of traffic demand AND tourist attraction), like the MSR is offering it. And by the way, such a solution would be significantly cheaper with closer distances between the stops on the surface, as compared to the new lightrail from Chinatown, in underground with expensive stations 600 meters apart.

      Greetings from Germany

  2. This would have actually been further along but a few years ago, then-Supervisor Michela Alioto Pier blocked funding at the SFCTA for work to be done to make this happen because a few donors of hers to her (many) campaigns were against it because they claimed that commuters from Marin would park en masse all over the Marina and “ruin” the neighborhood. This is a good idea that most people actually support.

  3. I really hope that ground gets broken for constructing this long overdue extension in early 2017. This extension should’ve been built at least a decade ago. I agree with p. chazz but I don’t see the E being extended to the Presidio anytime soon. At the very least I’d love it if more trolleys were restored in conjunction with this extension being built. If say, both Japanese streetcars, the German, Russian and Portuguese streetcars, #798, #351 and #913 get restored along with a few more PCCs I think that’ll help a lot(along with #162 getting its long overdue rebuilding).

    I’m glad there’ll be room for extra streetcars for special event service with the turnaround loop in the Fort Mason parking lot. Considering the multitude of festivals that Fort Mason routinely holds, along with the massively popular Off The Grid weekly food truck events, this further warrants restoring more trolleys.

    I also have an idea that would benefit MUNI, MSR and the passengers who would take the streetcars to Fort Mason to go to Off The Grid on Fridays. Have MSR, MUNI and Off The Grid work out a promotional discount program in that any passenger who takes the trolley to Off The Grid would be handed a discount coupon by the streetcar motorman which would then give them a couple dollars off their first purchase at Off The Grid. In turn, Off The Grid could donate a certain agreed upon percentage of their weekly/monthly proceeds to MSR.

  4. There’s already capacity issues with these historic cars (E & F lines) along the Embarcadero between Fisherman’s Warf and at least the Ferry Building. I’d like to make sure that this plan can properly account for multi-car LRT solutions as well.

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