Embarcadero station is a combined BART and Muni Metro rapid transit station in the Market Street Subway. Located under Market Street between Drumm Street and Beale Street near The Embarcadero, it serves the Financial District neighborhood and surrounding areas. The three-level station has a large fare mezzanine level, with separate platform levels for Muni Metro and BART below.
With over 42,000 daily passenger entrances on weekdays, Embarcadero is the second-busiest station in the BART system (just behind Montgomery Street station) and a major Bay Area transit hub. Numerous bus routes operated by several agencies stop above the station and on surrounding streets. Embarcadero opened in May 1976 - almost two years after service began through the Transbay Tube - as an infill station.
Service at the station began on May 27, 1976, three years after the other San Francisco stations. The station was not part of the original plans for the system. As a result of increasing development in the lower Market Street area, the basic structure of the station was added into the construction of the Market Street subway, anticipating a later opening. The later opening resulted in the Embarcadero station having a much different design than the other three Market Street stations. The station was designed by chief BART architect Tallie Maule and Hertzka & Knowles & Associates in collaboration with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tudor Construction, and Bechtel. The station cost $30 million to construct.
Muni Metro service began in February 1980 and Embarcadero was originally intended to be the inbound terminus for all of the Muni Metro lines. In 1998 a new extension was opened along the Embarcadero and to the Caltrain station at 4th and King Streets; however, several Muni Metro lines continue to terminate at Embarcadero. On March 4, 2000, F Market & Wharves streetcar service was extended to Fisherman's Wharf, with new stops above Embarcadero station at Main Street (inbound) and Drumm Street (outbound).
Because the station is adjacent to the Transbay Tube, brake dust and other particles from train operations coat the walls of the station. A sandblasting in 2014 revealed the original white terrazzo platform walls under the dark grime.
Since at least 1992 the station was serenaded by Ronald Brewington, known as the "Jazz Man", . He would play saxophone for commuters and entertain them with conversation and charm. He claimed his name was Garrick Sherrod; however, that was an identity he had stolen. The Jazz Man was actually a fugitive from Albuquerque facing capital murder charges stemming from the 1987 murder of his wife Diedre. He was arrested at a BART station in 2012 and extradited to New Mexico. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Although original plans to include public art at every BART station did not come to fruition, several artworks were included in Embarcadero station.:1 The platform walls and street entrances feature circle-based reliefs by William Mitchell.:3, 6 Wall Canyon, a 37-foot (11 m)-high colored ceramic relief by Stephen De Staebler, is partially hidden behind a staircase at the southwest end of the station.:2 It was installed on January 1, 1977. A duotone granite portrait of Tallie Maule - the chief architect of the original BART system - is on the mezzanine level.:6
A 50-foot (15 m)-tall, 7,000-pound (3,200 kg) rope sculpture called Legs was installed at the northwest end of the station in 1976 or 1978. Created by Barbara Shawcroft, the orange-and-white Nomex sculpture moved with the breeze from passing Muni and BART trains. Legs soon accumulated the same dark grime as the station walls, hiding the original color. BART was required by the artist's contract to clean the sculpture but several attempts were unsuccessful. In 2013, BART included removal of Legs in its 2014 budget, which prompted a debate about whether it should be cleaned regardless of cost (which Shawcroft supported), or removed from the unsuitable environment of the station. The sculpture was removed in June 2014 and returned to Shawcroft - a professor emerita at UC Davis School of Design - who planned to repurpose it into other pieces.
Like the three other shared Muni/BART stations in the Market Street Subway, Embarcadero has three underground levels. The first level is a fare mezzanine, with one Muni paid area in the middle flanked by two BART paid areas. The second level has a single island platform (of which only the center portion is used) for Muni Metro, and the third level has an island platform for BART. The station is narrower than the other three - 50 feet (15 m) rather than 60 feet (18 m) - because of adjacent buildings and the high water table. It has six street entrances along its length. The station contains an unused underground entrance to the 388 Market Street building.
Following the 2015 addition of a canopy over an escalator at 19th Street Oakland station, which reduced escalator downtime by one-third, BART decided to add canopies to all downtown Oakland and San Francisco entrances. Construction of the Market Street entrances will begin in 2020, with completion in 2027.
Embarcadero station is located in the busy Financial District; numerous routes by several transit providers stop at or near the station. Most radial Muni bus routes terminate at several nearby locations:
Other Muni routes that stop or terminate near the station include routes 1, 9R, 14R, 14X, 30X, 41, 81X, 82X, 714, L Owl, N Owl, and T Owl. The California Street line of the San Francisco cable car system terminates adjacent to the Drumm Street station entrance. Muni's F Market and Wharves heritage streetcar line stops on the surface at Market and Main (outbound) and Market and Drumm (inbound).
A number of Golden Gate Transit bus routes stop near Embarcadero on Fremont Street (2, 4, 38, 44, 54, 56, 58, 72, 72X, 74, 76) and/or Pine Street (2, 4, 8, 18, 24, 24X). Other transit agencies that stop nearby include SamTrans (292, 397, 398, 713, FCX), PresidiGo (Downtown Shuttle), and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach.
Embarcadero station is the nearest Muni Metro and BART station to the Ferry Building, the primary San Francisco terminal for Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry. The Transbay Transit Center, located about 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) to the south, is the primary San Francisco terminal for AC Transit transbay routes, WestCAT, Greyhound Lines, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses, some Golden Gate Transit routes, and Muni route 25. The second phase of the Transbay Transit Center - the Downtown Rail Extension - will include an 800-foot (240 m)-long pedestrian tunnel under Beale Street connecting Embarcadero station with the underground rail concourse.
- "BART Chronology January 1947 – March 2009" (PDF). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2013.
- Callwell, Robert (September 1999). "Transit in San Francisco: A Selected Chronology, 1850-1995" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Railway. p. 57.
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- Cerny, Susan (2007). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Gibbs Smith. p. 502. ISBN 978-1-58685-432-4.
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- Hatfield, Larry D. (February 18, 1980). "All clear as Muni Metro opens". San Francisco Examiner. p. 6. Retrieved September 4, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Morris, J. D. (March 2, 2000). "New Way to the Wharf / Merchants hope F-Market line will draw locals to tourist attractions". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Allen-Price, Olivia (July 22, 2014). "Embarcadero BART Station Gets Dramatic Cleaning". KQED.
- Huet, Ellen (November 2, 2012). "S.F. BART saxophonist is fugitive killer, cops say". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Weinstein, Dave. "How BART got ART". CA-Modern. Eichler Network.
- Kieselhorst, Felicia. "BART Art: "Wall Canyon"". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.
- Kieselhorst, Felicia. "BARTable Art: "Tallie Maule Portrait"". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.
- Cabanatuan, Michael (June 10, 2014). "Huge rope sculpture to be removed from Embarcadero BART". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Frock, Christian L. (May 27, 2013). "On Permanence: Barbara Shawcroft's 'Legs' and the Challenges of Public Art". KQED.
- "Station Map: Embarcadero Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. August 8, 2019.
- Healy, Michael C. (2016). BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. Heyday. p. 135. ISBN 9781597143707.
- "Ribbon-cutting held for San Francisco BART Station Market St. Canopies" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. November 13, 2018.
- "BART to build canopies over San Francisco Market Street entrances" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 23, 2020.
- "Transit Stops: Embarcadero Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. August 8, 2019.
- "BART/Muni Underground Pedestrian Connector". Transbay Joint Power Authority.
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