The L Taraval is a Muni Metro line in San Francisco, California, mainly serving the Parkside District, an area which is immediately south of the Sunset District and which is regarded by some as the southern part of the Sunset District. It was one of San Francisco's streetcar lines in the early 20th century, and was converted to modern light rail operation 1980, as part of the creation of the Muni Metro system in the late 1970s. While many streetcar lines were converted to buses after World War II, the L Taraval remained a streetcar line due to its use of the Twin Peaks Tunnel. The line opened in 1919, running as far as Taraval Street and 33rd Avenue. It was extended along Taraval to 48th in 1923, and subsequently south (turning off of Taraval at 46th) to the Zoo, the line's current outer terminus, on September 15, 1937.
The line runs from the Embarcadero Station in the Financial District to the 46th Avenue and Wawona Street, near the San Francisco Zoo in the Sunset District. The downtown portion of the line runs in the Market Street Subway, which is shared with six other Muni Metro lines. It continues through the much older Twin Peaks Tunnel, shared by the K Ingleside and M Ocean View lines, emerging at West Portal Station. Once out of the tunnel, the L takes Ulloa Street to 15th Avenue and turns onto Taraval Street. It then follows Taraval to 46th Avenue, where it turns south towards the Zoo. The end of the line loops around Vicente, 47th Avenue and Wawona with the terminal stop on Wawona between 46th and 47th Avenues.
Tracks on Taraval Street extend west from 46th Avenue to 48th Avenue/Great Highway, but they are not used in revenue service. However, chartered streetcars and LRVs can operate there if requested.
The L Taraval line stops at large stations for the downtown section of the route and at smaller stops on the rest of the line. Most of the smaller stops are nothing more than a sign on the side of the street designating a stop and a few others are concrete islands in the middle of the street next to the tracks that provide access for wheelchairs. Muni bus routes provide service to all stations and other systems with access to the stations are noted.
The L Taraval operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, primarily with train service beginning at 5 a.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays and running until 12:30 a.m. Frequency headways range from 7 to 10 minutes during the day, and 15 to 20 during nighttime service. Late-night service is provided by the L Owl diesel bus line. This line is generally the same as the daytime L Taraval line, except it follows surface streets instead of going through the streetcar-only Market Street Subway and Twin Peaks Tunnel. The line begins at Steuart Street and Market Street, near Embarcadero Station, and follows Market past all of the Market Street Subway's seven underground stations served by the daytime L Taraval line. West of Castro Street, it turns south on Market Street, which becomes Portola Drive. It follows Portola between the Diamond Heights neighborhood and Twin Peaks, turns onto Woodside and then Laguna Honda Boulevard, where it loops around at Forest Hill Station. It then backtracks on Laguna Honda Boulevard, Dewey, Claremont and Ulloa to West Portal Station, where it rejoins the daytime L line.
- Muni Metro and San Francisco rail map (195KB PDF)
- L Taraval route information from the SF Muni Map Project