Powell Street station
Powell Street station (often Powell station) is a combined BART and Muni Metro rapid transit station in the Market Street subway. Located under Market Street between 4th Street and 5th Street, 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. The fare mezzanine will also connect to the Union Square/Market Street station when it opens. The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable car lines turn around at Powell and Market adjacent to the station and Hallidie Plaza.
Like the three other shared Muni/BART stations in the Market Street subway, Powell has three underground levels. The first level is a fare mezzanine, with two Muni paid areas and two BART paid areas. The second level has a single island platform for Muni Metro, and the third level has an island platform for BART. The station has eight street entrances (one currently closed) along its length, plus two underground entrances to the fare mezzanine from the concourse level of the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall. A closed passageway leads from the northeast end of the station under Market Street partway to Third Street; this was planned to be a direct entrance from the Yerba Buena Center development, but was never completed.
The under-construction Central Subway, expected to open in 2022, passes under the Powell station complex. The new Union Square/Market Street station will be located north of Powell station under Stockton Street. The stations will be connected outside of fare control by a passageway; the result will be a single integrated underground complex running all the way from Union Square to Market and Fifth Streets. The Stockton/Ellis entrance to the station was closed for a planned five years on April 24, 2013, so that it could be modified to include the connection to the new station. The closure was originally planned for the previous August, but delayed after Muni determined it was not yet needed. Muni purchased the entrance from BART for one dollar.
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. The canopies will protect the escalator from weather damage, improve lighting, allow the escalator to be fully closed off when the station is not open, and provide a location for real-time train arrival information displays. The Powell station entrance at Market and Ellis was chosen for early implementation; it was closed on November 6, 2017, with the new canopy opened on September 29, 2018. Construction of the Market Street entrances will begin in 2020, with completion in 2027. The southern entrance of 5th Street will be closed from January 10, 2022 to July 2022 for canopy construction.
In September 2015, BART released a report on possible modernization of the station. A total of $93 million in potential improvements were identified, including escalator replacement and canopy construction ($25 million), a corridor to Cyril Magnin ($13.7 million), a new mid-station elevator ($6.1 million), platform screen doors ($6 million), additional platform stairs ($5.6 million), and numerous other projects. Bathrooms in underground BART stations were closed due to security concerns after the 9/11 attacks. In 2019, BART indicated plans to open a new bathroom with an attendant at Powell in 2021. In November 2019, the board issued an $11 million contract for improvements at Powell, with the bathroom expected to cost an additional $20 million. The new bathrooms opened on February 2, 2022.
Pigeons living in the station are a nuisance, which has prompted BART to take countermeasures such as installing nets and metal screens to block their nesting spots. The pigeons are attracted by passengers littering and by nearby street food vendors.
After a test at Castro, colored lights were installed on escalators at Muni Metro stations in 2018–19. Those at Powell are yellow and burgundy, reflecting the colors of the cable cars. The entrances on the southern side of the station were closed on April 13, 2020, due to low ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic. The center entrance reopened on May 15, 2021, with the remaining entrances reopened on June 12. BART plans to add a faregate on the platform for the elevator in 2022.
Two Muni heritage streetcar stops are located above Powell Street station: Market and 4th Street (inbound) / Market and Stockton (outbound), and Market and 5th Street. Both are served by the F Market and Wharves line. The Powell and Market turntable of the San Francisco cable car system, terminus of the Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason lines, is located adjacent to the station next to Haladie Plaza. The station is also served by a number of Muni bus and trolleybus routes:
- Local: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 21, 27, 30, 31, 45
- Rapid: 5R, 9R
- Express: 7X, 8AX, 8BX, 81X
- Owl service: 91 Owl, J Bus, KT Bus, K Owl, L Bus, L Owl, M Bus, N Owl, N Bus
Under the planned Better Market Street project, F stops would be consolidated to reduce travel times. The inbound stop at 5th Street and both stops at 4th Street would be discontinued, with a new inbound stop midway between 4th and 5th.
- "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.
- "Monthly Ridership Reports". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. February 2020.
- "Station Map: Powell Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. August 15, 2019.
- "Chapter 2: Alternatives". Central Subway Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement / Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (PDF). Vol. 1. Federal Transit Administration. September 2008. pp. 2–44, 2–45.
- "Powell St. BART Station Modernization Program: Final Report" (PDF). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. September 2015.
- "Stockton and Ellis Street Entrance at Powell Street Station Closing" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. April 18, 2013.
- "Central Subway Construction Closes Apple Store Entrance To Powell Station". San Francisco Appeal. April 24, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
- Walker, Wilson (February 26, 2017). "KPIX Sky Drone 5 Explores the Tunnels of the Central Subway". CBS San Francisco. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
- "SF BART and Muni Escalator/Entrance Project". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Archived from the original on November 15, 2018.
- "BART to build canopies over San Francisco Market Street entrances" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 23, 2020.
- "5th and Market entrance to Powell Street Station in SF to close 1/10/22 for work on new escalator canopy" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. December 21, 2021.
- Swan, Rachel (November 21, 2019). "BART to reopen bathrooms at Powell, 19th Street stations that closed after 9/11". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Board awards contract for Powell St. Station modernization" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. November 21, 2019.
- "Restrooms at Powell Street Station will reopen on 2/2/22" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 31, 2022.
- Costley, Drew (August 20, 2017). "Pigeons won't stop pooping all over the Powell BART station, despite attempts to curb flocks". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Color Lights Installation Coming to Muni Metro Escalators" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. March 14, 2018.
- Phelan, Lori (October 29, 2019). "New Escalators Rising to the Challenge" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority.
- "BART opens all entrances/exits that were previously closed due to pandemic" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. June 12, 2021.
- "New Embarcadero platform fare gate speeds up transfer to Muni, improves accessibility, reduces fare evasion" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. February 9, 2022.
- "Transit Stops: Powell Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Commission. August 10, 2019.
- Better Market Street Project EIR (PDF). Vol. 1. San Francisco Planning Department. February 27, 2019. pp. 2–53.
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