The line runs from Embarcadero station in the Financial District to Geneva Avenue and San Jose Avenue near City College of San Francisco in the Balboa Park neighborhood. The downtown portion of the line runs through the Market Street subway, which it shares with three other Muni Metro lines. It continues through the much older Twin Peaks Tunnel, emerging at West Portal Station. From there, it follows West Portal Avenue to the Saint Francis Circle, where it then takes its own right-of-way to 19th Avenue. The portion of the line on 19th Avenue between where it joins 19th near Eucalyptus Drive and Junipero Serra Boulevard is a right-of-way separated from the street. This section has two stations with high-platforms, one at the Stonestown Galleria on Winston Drive and the other at San Francisco State University on Holloway Avenue. It continues on 19th Avenue past Junipero Serra to Randolph Street. At the end of Randolph, the M uses Orizaba Avenue to get to Broad Street and takes that to San Jose Avenue. The rest of the line follows San Jose Avenue to Geneva Avenue, where the line loops around the Metro yard there on the corner opposite from Balboa Park Station.
The M Ocean View begins service at 5 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays, with the end of service occurring around 12:30 a.m. each night. Daytime headways are 10 to 12 minutes.
Service on most of the route is provided by overnight Owl buses during the hours that rail service is not running. The L Owl serves the portion between Embarcadero and West Portal, and the 91 Owl serves the portion between West Portal and SF State. On weekends, the M Ocean View Bus service runs from 5 a.m. until the start of rail service. The bus line largely follows the rail line, but it uses surface streets to parallel sections where the rail line has dedicated rights-of-way.
The M Ocean View line began operation on October 6, 1925, as a shuttle service from St. Francis Circle to the wye at Broad and Plymouth in the city's Ocean View District. It was extended through the Twin Peaks Tunnel to the downtown Ferry Building on October 31, 1927, but reverted to a shuttle service on February 27, 1928. The shuttle service was replaced by buses on August 6, 1939, but streetcar service returned on the full length of the line on December 17, 1944. On June 6, 1948, the Transbay Terminal became the inner terminus of the line.
While many streetcar lines were permanently converted to buses after World War II, the M Ocean View remained a streetcar line due to its use of the Twin Peaks Tunnel. Service was diverted to Duboce Avenue, Church Street, and 17th Street on December 2, 1972, due to construction of the Market Street subway. On August 30, 1980, the line was extended to Balboa Park BART station. The full line was partially converted to modern light-rail operation with the opening of the Muni Metro system on December 17, 1980. Eureka Valley in the Twin Peaks Tunnel was originally a stop in regular service, but the station was closed in 1972 and replaced, ten years later, by Castro Street Station when the Market Street subway system opened.
In the early 1970s, Muni began planning an extension of the J Church line over new track to Balboa Park station, then over the M Ocean View line to the high-ridership San Francisco State University station and Stonestown Galleria station. A Final Environmental Impact Statement for the new track was released in 1983; it was opened for non-revenue moves in August 1991 and began revenue service in June 1993. Original plans called for the two existing stations to be rebuilt with high-level platforms, and a pocket track to allow J Church trains to turn back. After objections from neighbors, the pocket track was removed from the plan.
The first phase of the 19th Ave. Platform & Trackway Improvement Project required the line to replaced by buses south of St. Francis Circle from June 19 to October 23, 1993; the new platforms at the two stations were opened when service was restored, though several minor stops along 19th Avenue were left permanently closed. The second phase required full bustitution beginning on July 30, 1994; rail service was restored to Stonestown on November 19 for holiday shopping, and on the rest of the line on January 28, 1995. Some weekday J and M service was through-routed beginning on March 27, 1995; this lasted until a rail replacement project on the M in February 1998. Full combined J/M service was planned upon completion of the automated train control system and the Muni Metro Turnback; however, this was never implemented even after the construction projects were finished.
In 2010, Muni replaced the rail junction just south of St. Francis Circle station. Rail service south of West Portal station was replaced with buses from May 17 to September 4. The line was temporarily replaced by buses from June 25 to August 24, 2018 due to the Twin Peaks Tunnel shutdown. During that time, a new traffic signal with transit signal priority was installed where the line crosses the northbound lanes of 19th Avenue at Rossmoor Drive, and red transit-only lanes were painted to indicate that drivers must not block the crossing.
Service modifications during COVID-19
Light-rail service on the M resumed on August 22, 2020, with the routes reconfigured to improve reliability in the subway. M Ocean View and T Third Street service were interlined, running between Sunnydale station and San Jose and Geneva (Balboa Park station). M Light-rail service was re-replaced by the M Bus on August 25 due to issues with malfunctioning overhead wire splices and the need to quarantine control center staff after a COVID-19 case.
M rail service resumed on August 14, 2021, with the line terminating at Embarcadero again, as the K and T are again interlined.
19th Avenue transit study
M Ocean View Project
M Ocean View moves at only
8.5 to 9.5 miles per hour (13.7 to 15.3 km/h) during afternoon commute hours over a 2-mile (3.2 km) distance along 19th Avenue/Highway 1. The slow speed is attributed to trains stopping at multiple busy street crossings. In addition, the majority of riders access 19th Avenue stops from the west side of 19th, since Stonestown Galleria, San Francisco State University and Parkmerced are all located west of 19th. In order to access the stops, which are located in the median of 19th Avenue, pedestrians cross three lanes of traffic and a turn lane. In San Francisco, 55% of severe and fatal pedestrian accidents occur on 7% of its street miles, which includes the 19th Avenue/Highway 1 corridor. In response, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority published studies in 2010 and 2014 which explored options to facilitate pedestrian access and improve travel times.
The full-subway option was chosen for further development and named the Muni Subway Expansion Project (MSXP). Under the preliminary concept for MSXP, the rail line would remain underground past West Portal station. K Ingleside would branch off from the underground line and surface on Junipero Serra Boulevard just south of Saint Francis Circle. M Ocean View will remain underground along the current right of way under West Portal Avenue and 19th Avenue, branching off at Holloway to Parkmerced. The underground line would continue with J Church service along 19th until surfacing just east of the intersection of 19th and Junipero Serra, then continuing on to Balboa Park via Randolph, Broad, and San Jose.
The current West Portal station will most likely have to be redesigned as a two-level station with the J/K/M lines on the lower level and the L line on the upper level. New underground stations would be constructed at Saint Francis Circle (J/K/M lines), Winston Drive (J/M, serving Stonestown), Holloway (J/M, serving SF State), and Parkmerced (M). A potential infill station could be constructed at Ocean Avenue in Lakeside Village. Several existing surface stations would be removed; in most cases, they would be replaced by underground stations except for the Ocean View, Merced Heights, and Ingleside stop near Junipero Serra and 19th.
The proposed full subway line would continue past Parkmerced with a long tail track; that tail track may be extended in the future to connect to the Daly City BART station via the M line. The total cost of the full subway line project is estimated at approximately $3 billion.
The M Ocean View line stops at large stations for the downtown section of the route and on 19th Avenue 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.
|Station/Stop||Neighborhood||Muni Metro lines||Notes and connections|
(at Union Square/Market St)
|Civic Center/UN Plaza|
|Forest Hill||Laguna Honda||Muni: 36, 43, 44, 52|
|West Portal||West Portal||Muni: 48, 57|
|West Portal and 14th Avenue||Muni: 57|
|St. Francis Circle||St. Francis Wood||Muni: 23, 57|
|Right Of Way/Ocean||Merced Manor||Located in Muni's private right-of-way|
|Right Of Way/Eucalyptus|
|San Francisco State University|
|19th Avenue and Junipero Serra (inbound)
19th Avenue and Randolph (outbound)
|Merced Heights||Muni: 28|
|19th Avenue and Randolph|
|Randolph and Arch|
|Randolph and Bright||Ingleside|
|Broad and Orizaba (inbound)
Orizaba and Broad (outbound)
|Broad and Capitol|
|Broad and Plymouth||Muni: 54|
|San Jose and Farallones|
|San Jose and Lakeview|
|San Jose and Mount Vernon|
| San Jose and Geneva (inbound)
San Jose and Niagara (outbound)
- "TEP Route Data & Proposed Changes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Stindt, Fred A. (October 1990). San Francisco's Century of Street Cars. p. 195. ISBN 0-9615465-1-4.
- "General Information". San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- "Permanent Muni Service Changes Starting Saturday, February 22, 2020" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. February 22, 2020.
- Callwell, Robert (September 1999). "Transit in San Francisco: A Selected Chronology, 1850–1995" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Railway.
- McKane, John; Perles, Anthony (1982). Inside Muni: The Properties and Operations of the Municipal Railway of San Francisco. Glendale, CA (US): Interurban Press. p. 198. ISBN 0-916374-49-1.
- Muni J Line Connection Project Final Environmental Impact Statement. Urban Mass Transit Administration and San Francisco Department of City Planning. May 1983 – via Internet Archive.
- Callwell, Robert (September 1999). "Transit in San Francisco: A Selected Chronology, 1850–1995" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Railway. pp. 76–79.
- "SFMTA Announces Details of St. Francis Circle Project to Begin in May" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. April 29, 2010.
- "SFMTA Prepares to Restore 61 Percent of Muni May 8 Service Cuts and Completes St. Francis Circle Project" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. September 2, 2010.
- "Twin Peaks Tunnel Improvements". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. June 25, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018.
- "M Ocean View Improvements (Rossmoor Drive and Junipero Serra)". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 24 July 2017.
- Fowler, Amy (March 26, 2020). "Starting March 30: New Muni Service Changes" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- Maguire, Mariana (August 18, 2020). "Major Muni Service Expansion August 22" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- "Bus Substitution for All Rail Lines" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. August 25, 2020.
- "Welcoming Back the M Ocean View and 31 Balboa" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. July 15, 2021.
- 19th Avenue Transit Study (PDF) (Report). San Francisco County Transportation Authority. March 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- WalkFirst: Improving Safety & Walking Conditions in San Francisco (PDF) (Report). San Francisco Department of Public Health. October 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
4.3 High-injury-density corridors – The identified corridors shown in blue in Map 3 represent 6.7% of San Francisco's street miles, and include 55% of all severe and fatal injuries and 51% of total pedestrian injuries in the five-year period.
- 19th Avenue Corridor Study (PDF) (Report). City and County of San Francisco. February 12, 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- "Muni Subway Expansion Project". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- 19th Avenue/M Ocean View Project: Subway Station Entrances | New, Upgraded & Removed Stations (PDF) (Report). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. February 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
Media related to M Ocean View at Wikimedia Commons