L Taraval

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L Taraval
L Taraval logo.svg
Muni Metro trains on Taraval at 24th and 27th Avenues, June 2017.JPG
Two inbound L Taraval trains in 2017
Overview
StatusSuspended, replaced by buses, for road improvement project
OwnerSan Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
LocaleSan Francisco, California
Termini
Stations27
Service
TypeLight rail/streetcar
SystemMuni Metro
Operator(s)San Francisco Municipal Railway
Rolling stockBreda LRV2/LRV3, Siemens LRV4
Daily ridership33,000 (2019)[1]
History
OpenedApril 12, 1919 (1919-04-12)[2]
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line600 V DC
Route diagram

UpperLeft arrow Bay Area Rapid Transit to East Bay | Up arrow N Judah T Third Street
Left arrow F Market & Wharves | J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View S Shuttle turnback
Embarcadero
San Francisco Ferry Building Bay Area Rapid Transit
Montgomery
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Union Square/​Market Street
Central Subway
Powell
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Civic Center
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Van Ness
Church
Castro
F Market & Wharves
to surface tracks on
Market Street (closed 1982)
Eureka Valley
closed
1972
Forest Hill
West Portal
S Shuttle T Third Street
Ulloa and 14th Avenue
15th Avenue and Taraval
Taraval and 17th Avenue
Taraval and 19th Avenue
Taraval and 22nd/23rd Avenues
Taraval and 26th Avenue
Taraval and 30th Avenue
Taraval and 32nd Avenue
Taraval and Sunset
Taraval and 40th Avenue
Taraval and 42nd Avenue
Taraval and 44th Avenue
Taraval and 46th Avenue
Ocean Beach spur
46th Avenue and Taraval
46th Avenue and Ulloa
46th Avenue and Vicente
SF Zoo (Wawona and 46th Avenue)

The L Taraval is a light rail line of the Muni Metro system in San Francisco, California, mainly serving the Parkside District. The line is currently suspended and replaced by buses through the end of 2024 for a road improvement project along Taraval Street.

Route description[edit]

The line begins at Wawona and 46th Avenue station (near the San Francisco Zoo), which is on a one-way loop on Vicente Street, 47th Avenue, Wawona Street, and 46th Avenue. It runs north on 46th Avenue to Taraval Street, then runs east on Taraval Street to 15th Avenue. The line then runs south one block on 15th Avenue, then east on Ulloa Street to West Portal station, where it tags along with the other Muni Metro lines towards Embarcadero.

Operation[edit]

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the L Taraval operated seven days a week, with train service beginning at 5 a.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. Sundays. Trains ran until 12:30 a.m, with daytime headways between 6 and 9 minutes.[3]

Service is provided by overnight Owl buses during the hours that rail service is not running. The L Owl bus serves the full length of the route, as well as along The Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. (The Embarcadero section was added on June 15, 2019, to provide Owl service along the F Market & Wharves route.)[4]

History[edit]

The original end of the L Taraval line, before the 1937 extension south of Taraval Street, with tracks still in place but not normally used. These are the only tracks left in San Francisco that are embedded in granite "Belgian block".

In June 1908, United Railroads (URR) subsidiary Parkside Transit Company laid a single-track line that ran on 20th Avenue from an existing line on H Street (now Lincoln Way) to Wawona Street, then on Wawona one block to 19th Avenue. A connecting shuttle line running from 20th Avenue on Taraval Street, 33rd Avenue, Vicente Street, and 35th Avenue to Sloat Boulevard (meeting the 12 Ocean line) was opened by 1910.[5] This trackage, which saw irregular passenger service, formed a barrier to the continued expansion of the city-owned Municipal Railway into the Parkside district. On November 25, 1918, the city and the private URR signed the "Parkside Agreements", which allowed Muni streetcars to use URR trackage on Taraval Street and on Ocean Avenue in exchange for a cash payment and shared maintenance costs.[6]: 74 

Muni's L Taraval line opened as a shuttle between West Portal and 33rd Avenue (on rebuilt URR trackage west of 20th Avenue) on April 12, 1919. Tracks were was extended along Taraval to 48th Avenue at Ocean Beach by January 14, 1923 and on October 15, the shuttle service was replaced with larger streetcars running through to the Ferry Building.[6]: 75  The URR discontinued their service on the line in late 1927.[7]

The L Taraval was extended south (turning off Taraval at 46th) to the San Francisco Zoo, the line's current outer terminus, on September 15, 1937,[8] leaving a two-block spur line on Taraval, that is used occasionally for temporary storage.[9]

Over the next decade, the line's eastern terminus changed a few times. On January 15, 1939, every other streetcar was routed to the new Transbay Terminal. On January 1, 1941, cars were rerouted back to the Ferry Building. The Transbay Terminal became the inner terminal for all streetcars on June 6, 1948.[7]

By 1950, many streetcar lines in the city 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 L was partially converted to modern light rail operation as part of the opening of the Muni Metro system in 1980.[8]

L Taraval Improvement Project[edit]

New concrete boarding island for inbound passengers at Taraval and 19th Avenue station (Feb 2019)
Painted exclusion zone to protect outbound passengers at Taraval and 40th Avenue station (Jun 2018)

For its first 100 years in operation, the L Taraval operated similar to a bus, with rail vehicles receiving no priority over any other vehicle, obeying all stop signs, and stopping frequently when requested or when flagged down by passengers waiting at marked stops on the sidewalk. Because the rails were laid in the center of a four-lane roadway, passengers boarding or exiting must cross an active traffic lane. Often drivers would not stop for crossing passengers, leading to many being hit and injured getting off and on the L Taraval over the decades.

Starting in the early 2010s, Muni began proposing major changes to the L Taraval corridor to increase pedestrian safety and speed up trains, which would prove to be controversial.

The plan, eventually named the L Taraval Improvement Project, would dedcate the center lanes to rail vehicles, consolidate stops, and where stops remain, add traffic islands between the transit-only lane and the general traffic lane, giving passengers a protected area to exit or wait for the L Taraval. The project would also replace many of the stop signs along the route with traffic signals with transit priority, add additional traffic calming measures like curb extensions, replace the worn rails and overhead wire, along with sewer and water line replacements.

The plan was controversial because adding traffic islands would require the removal of street parking along Taraval, worrying nearby merchants, who feared less parking would reduce traffic in their businesses. The loss of parking along Taraval would be offset by moving parking spaces and meters to side streets and by converting side streets to angled parking to increase density.[10]: 3, 9–11  Seniors and some disability advocates were opposed to the removal of stops, because it would require longer walks for some passengers. Other disability advocates supported the project because it would add wheelchair ramps at additional stops.

Under pressure from these groups, Muni agreed to a pilot project in 2016 to see if better street markings, would get more drivers to stop for crossing passengers.[11] The pilot program was unsuccessful, showing only a two percent increase in drivers stopping behind the L Taraval.

The final plan would add traffic islands at Taraval and 19th, 26th, 30th, 32nd, 40th, 42nd, 44th, and 46th (westbound only), along with an extension of the existing islands at Sunset and 22nd/23rd Avenues.[10]: 16–24  The stops to be removed were at Taraval and 17th (westbound), 22nd (westbound), 24th (eastbound), 28th and 35th, along with Ulloa and 15th.[10]: 19, 21 [12] These closures took place in 2017 and 2018.

Construction began in August 2019, beginning with the replacement of underground utilities.[13][14] Construction on 'Segment A' of the project, between Sunset Boulevard and 46th Avenue, began in September 2019. This first phase was originally scheduled for completion in summer 2020,[15] but work was not completed until July 2021.[16] Bus substitution was scheduled to start for train service covering a superset of the Segment A (from the Zoo to Sunset) in Spring 2020.[17] As part of Segment A work, the original track extending west on Taraval past 46th was replaced, but in a nod to history, the granite "Belgian blocks" were saved and re-set next to the new tracks, this stretch of tracks is the only left in San Francisco that used the blocks to buffer the track from the pavement .[9]

Construction on 'Segment B' of the project, between West Portal and Sunset Boulevard, began in January 2022. Segment B work is expected to last through 2024.[18] On July 7, 2022, the L Bus was shortened to West Portal station and frequency was increased.[19] Additional bus service to downtown, operating weekday middays on 50-minute headways, was added on October 10, 2022.[20]

Station listing[edit]

Station/Stop Neighborhood Muni Metro lines Notes and connections
Disabled access Embarcadero Financial District J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View N Judah S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Montgomery Street J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View N Judah S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Powell Street Civic Center,
Mid-Market,
Tenderloin
J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View N Judah S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Civic Center/UN Plaza J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View N Judah S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Van Ness J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View N Judah S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Church Duboce Triangle,
Mission Dolores
J Church K Ingleside M Ocean View S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Castro The Castro K Ingleside M Ocean View S Shuttle T Third Street
Disabled access Forest Hill Forest Hill K Ingleside M Ocean View S Shuttle T Third Street Bus transport Muni: 36, 43, 44, 52
Disabled access West Portal West Portal K Ingleside M Ocean View S Shuttle T Third Street Bus transport Muni: 48, 57, 91 Owl
Ulloa and 14th Avenue Bus transport Muni: 48
15th Avenue and Taraval (westbound) Parkside
Taraval and 17th Avenue (eastbound)
Disabled access Taraval and 19th Avenue Bus transport Muni: 28, 28R, 91 Owl
Disabled access Taraval and 22nd/23rd Avenues
Taraval and 26th Avenue
Disabled access Taraval and 30th Avenue Bus transport Muni: 66
Taraval and 32nd Avenue
Disabled access Taraval and Sunset Bus transport Muni: 29
Taraval and 40th Avenue
Disabled access Taraval and 42nd Avenue
Taraval and 44th Avenue
Taraval and 46th Avenue (westbound)
46th Avenue and Taraval (eastbound)
Bus transport Muni: 18
46th Avenue and Ulloa
46th Avenue and Vicente
Disabled access SF Zoo

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Short Range Transit Plan: Fiscal Year 2019 - Fiscal Year 2030" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. December 2019. p. 47.
  2. ^ Demery, Jr., Leroy W. (November 2011). "U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980" (PDF). publictransit.us. Archived from the original (pdf) on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  3. ^ Maguire, Mariana (August 18, 2020). "Major Muni Service Expansion August 22" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  4. ^ Barnett, Benjamin (June 10, 2019). "Hoot Hoot – Muni to Provide Additional Nighttime Service" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  5. ^ Brandi, Richard; LaBounty, Woody (March 2008). "San Francisco's Parkside District: 1905 - 1957" (PDF). San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. pp. 24, 30, 34–36.
  6. ^ a b Perles, Anthony (1981). The People's Railway: The History of the Municipal Railway of San Francisco. Interurban Press. ISBN 0916374424.
  7. ^ a b Stindt, Fred A. (October 1990). San Francisco's Century of Street Cars. p. 119, 192. ISBN 0961546514.
  8. ^ a b McKane, John; Perles, Anthony (1982). Inside Muni: The Properties and Operations of the Municipal Railway of San Francisco. Glendale, CA (US): Interurban Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-916374-49-1.
  9. ^ a b "End of (last original) track". Market Street Railway. February 12, 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "L Taraval Rapid Project Webinar" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  11. ^ "Inbound Stop Pilot" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Revised L Stop Proposals" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  13. ^ "L Taraval Improvement Project Work Forecast Aug. 26 - Sept.6, 2019" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. August 26, 2019.
  14. ^ "SFMTA Weekend Transit and Traffic Advisory For Saturday, August 17, 2019" (PDF) (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "Open House Boards" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. October 10, 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  16. ^ "L Taraval Improvement Project Reaches Key Milestone" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. July 9, 2021.
  17. ^ "Open House Boards" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. July 11, 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  18. ^ Chun, Stephen (December 9, 2021). "L Taraval Improvement Project 'Segment B' Geared Up for Early 2022" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  19. ^ Chun, Stephen (2022-06-03). "Muni Adding More Service July 9". SFMTA. Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  20. ^ "L Bus Special Service to Downtown Starting Monday, October 10, 2022" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. October 10, 2022.

External links[edit]

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Media related to L Taraval at Wikimedia Commons