The N Judah is a Muni Metro light rail line in San Francisco, California, so named as it runs along Judah Street for much of its length, named after railroad engineer Theodore Judah. It links downtown San Francisco to the Cole Valley and Sunset neighborhoods. It is the busiest line in the Muni Metro system, serving an average of 41,439 weekday passengers in 2013. It was one of San Francisco's streetcar lines, beginning operation in 1928, and was partially converted to modern light-rail operation with the opening of the Muni Metro system in 1980. While many streetcar lines were converted to bus lines after World War II, the N Judah remained a streetcar line due to its use of the Sunset Tunnel.
The line runs from the Caltrain depot in the Mission Bay district to Ocean Beach and the Great Highway in the Sunset District. From the Caltrain depot at Fourth and King Streets, it runs along King Street and the Embarcadero, passing by AT&T Park. It then enters the Market Street Subway, which it shares with the five other Muni Metro lines. It exits the tunnel at Church Street and, after a brief stretch along Duboce Avenue to Duboce Park, enters the older Sunset Tunnel. This tunnel serves to avoid a hill and contains no underground stations. From the western end of the tunnel, the route goes along Carl Street, past UCSF-Parnassus Campus, on Irving Street, until it turns onto 9th Avenue for one block and reaches Judah Street, which the N runs on for the rest of its route. On Judah between 9th Avenue and 19th Avenue the N runs on a right-of-way that is slightly raised above the surrounding street. There is a loop in the intersection at Judah, La Playa and Great Highway that the N uses to turn around.
The N Judah 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 consist of nothing more than a sign on the side of a street designating a stop, while other stops are concrete "islands" in the middle of a street next to the tracks that provide access for wheelchairs. Muni bus routes provide service to all downtown stations and other systems with access to the stations are noted.
As with all Muni lines, service begins around 5 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. It operates at high frequencies, mainly between 7 and 12 minutes, and mostly utilizes two-car (150-foot (46 m)) trains during Muni Metro hours of operation. Late night service (after 12:55 a.m.) is provided by the N Owl diesel bus line. This line is generally the same as the daytime N Judah line, except it follows surface streets instead of going through the streetcar-only Market Street Subway and Sunset Tunnel. At the Ferry Portal at The Embarcadero and Folsom, it stays on The Embarcadero to Mission/Don Chee Way, then takes Steuart for one block and then turns onto Market Street, which it follows past all five underground stations served by the daytime N Judah line. It then takes Church, Hermann and Fillmore to get to Haight Street, where it bypasses the steep hill above the Sunset Tunnel, and serves the Lower Haight and Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods. It turns off Haight at Cole, and then rejoins the daytime N line at Carl.
Originally, the line was operated on the Market Street Railway before being rerouted underground through the Market Street Subway in 1980. The extension to King Street Station and Caltrain was opened in 1998, and was eliminated after the debut of the T Third Line in 2007 only to be restored soon afterwards due to rider demand. On December 5, 2009, SFMTA eliminated the portion of the N Judah line between Embarcadero and 4th & King/Caltrain on weekends and holidays. (That portion is still served by the T Third Street line.) N Owl service was not affected by this change. Weekend service to the Caltrain depot was restored in October 2011.
After concerns from riders of constant overcrowding of the trains on the N Judah line, Muni debuted an express bus route called the NX Judah Express on June 13, 2011. Starting off as a pilot program, the NX (stylized as Nx) was intended to relieve overcrowding during rush hours every ten minutes. It follows the western end of the N Judah route from Ocean Beach to 19th Avenue, then operates nonstop from there to the Financial District where it stops at Bush and Montgomery Streets.
In September 2016, Muni began running a pair of one-car shuttles between Embarcadero station and Carl and Hillway during morning rush hour to reduce crowding on the inner section of the line. A study after one month showed the shuttles had increased capacity on the inner part of the line by 18% and reduced the number of passengers unable to board overcrowded trains by 63%.
In March 2018, the SFMTA board voted to shorten rush-hour headways from 7 minutes to 4 minutes, but to only use one-car trains on weekends. The changes will take effect in the summer.
Future plans, according to the SFMTA Rail Capacity Strategy, include a new subway tunnel which connects to the Market Street Subway to 9th Avenue. Additionally, the N Judah line will be rebuilt to run three car trains. Further plans include a non-revenue L Taraval to N Judah connector, which may run on 46th Avenue.
Station and stop listing
|4th & King||Mission Bay||*||Inbound terminus|
Connects to E Embarcadero
Serves Caltrain; *Transfer made to T Third Street via separate platform nearby
|2nd & King||Mission Bay||Connects to E Embarcadero|
Serves AT&T Park
|Brannan||South Beach||Connects to E Embarcadero|
Serves The Embarcadero
|Folsom||Financial District||Connects to E Embarcadero|
Serves The Embarcadero
|Embarcadero||Financial District||Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART; within walking distance of E Embarcadero|
Serves Ferry Building
|Montgomery Street||Financial District||Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART|
|Powell Street||Financial District||Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART|
|Civic Center/UN Plaza||Civic Center||Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART|
|Van Ness||Civic Center and Tenderloin||Connects to F Market & Wharves|
|Duboce and Church||Duboce Triangle||Transfer made to J Church via separate platform nearby|
| Duboce and Noe
(Sunset Tunnel east portal)
|Duboce Triangle||At Duboce Park|
|Carl and Cole||Cole Valley|
|Carl and Stanyan||Cole Valley|
|Carl and Hillway||Cole Valley|
| Irving and Arguello (inbound)
Irving and 2nd Avenue (outbound)
|Sunset District||Serves UCSF Parnassus campus|
|Irving and 4th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Irving and 7th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Irving and 9th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 9th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 12th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and Funston||Sunset District|
|Judah and 15th Avenue (inbound)
Judah and 16th Avenue (outbound)
|Judah and 19th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 22nd Avenue (inbound)
Judah and 23rd Avenue (outbound)
|Judah and 25th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 28th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 31st Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 34th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and Sunset||Sunset District|
|Judah and 40th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 43rd Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and 46th Avenue||Sunset District|
|Judah and La Playa||Sunset District||Outbound terminus at Ocean Beach|
- "TEP Route Data & Proposed Changes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "San Francisco Street Names". Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- Nimmo, H. Arlo (2007). Good and Bad Times in a San Francisco Neighborhood: A History of Potomac Street and Duboce Park. San Francisco: October Properties. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-9814509-0-2.
- Epstein, Edward (26 August 1998). "Brown Tries To Soothe Muni Riders / Service on N-Judah line has been abysmal all week". Hearst Communications. SFGate. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Muni open to systemwide remedies". San Francisco Examiner. May 9, 2007. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Gordon, Rachel (June 4, 2007). "T-Third line causing delays, so officials consider new routes". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "Extensive Muni Service Changes Begin Smoothly". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). December 5, 2009. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "SFMTA Launches Muni Improvements this Week". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). October 18, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "SFMTA Board of Directors Makes NX Judah Express Bus and F Market Line Improvements Permanent". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). December 6, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "More Morning Trains Mean Commute Relief on the Inner N Judah" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. September 7, 2016.
- Holland, Kristen (October 18, 2017). "Morning Commute Shuttles Reduce N Judah Pass-Ups 63 Percent" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- Gribbon, Sadie (March 20, 2018). "N-Judah commuters to see service increase". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
- "Draft Rail Capacity Strategy" (PDF). SFMTA. p. 32. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
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