Powell Street station

Coordinates: 37°47′02″N 122°24′29″W / 37.784°N 122.408°W / 37.784; -122.408
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Bay Area Rapid Transit
An outbound Muni Metro train at Powell station in 2017
General information
Location899 Market Street
San Francisco, California
Coordinates37°47′02″N 122°24′29″W / 37.784°N 122.408°W / 37.784; -122.408
Owned bySan Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Line(s)Market Street subway
Platforms1 island platform (BART)
1 island platform (Muni Metro)
Side platforms (Muni surface)
Tracks2 wide gauge (BART)
2 standard gauge (Muni Metro)
2 standard gauge (Muni surface)
Structure typeUnderground
ArchitectSkidmore, Owings & Merrill[1]
OpenedNovember 5, 1973 (1973-11-05) (BART)[2]
February 18, 1980 (1980-02-18) (Muni)[3]
202312,383 (weekday average)[4] (BART)
Preceding station Bay Area Rapid Transit Following station
Civic Center
toward Daly City
Blue Line Montgomery
Green Line Montgomery
Civic Center
toward Millbrae
Red Line Montgomery
toward Richmond
Civic Center Yellow Line Montgomery
Preceding station Muni Following station
Civic Center
towards Balboa Park
J Church Montgomery
towards Embarcadero
K Ingleside
Civic Center
towards SF Zoo
L Taraval
Civic Center M Ocean View
Civic Center
towards Ocean Beach
N Judah Montgomery
towards 4th and King
Civic Center
towards West Portal
S Shuttle Montgomery
towards Embarcadero
At Union Square/Market Street station
T Third Street Yerba Buena/​Moscone
towards Sunnydale
At surface stops
Market and 6th Street / Market and Taylor F Market & Wharves Market and 3rd Street / Market and Kearny

Powell Street station (often Powell station) is a combined BART and Muni Metro rapid transit station in the Market Street subway in downtown San Francisco. 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 also connects to the Union Square/Market Street station. The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable car lines turn around at Powell and Market adjacent to the station and Hallidie Plaza.

BART service at the station began on November 5, 1973, followed by Muni Metro service on February 18, 1980.[2][3]

Station layout[edit]

Hallidie Plaza entrance to the station
The new canopy in March 2019

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.[5] The station has eight street entrances along its length, plus two underground entrances to the fare mezzanine from the concourse level of the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall.[5] The mall pays BART about $750,000 per year for the entrances.[6] 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.[7][8] Powell and nearby Montgomery, both designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, have similar designs – including distinctive domed hexagonal "bubble tiles" on the mezzanine level.[9]

The Central Subway passes under the Powell station complex at Stockton and Fourth streets, with Union Square/Market Street station located north of Powell station under Stockton Street. The stations are connected outside of Muni fare control by a passageway.[7][8] The existing Stockton/Ellis entrance to Powell Street 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.[10] The closure was originally planned for the previous August, but delayed after Muni determined it was not yet needed.[11] Muni purchased the entrance from BART for one dollar.[12] Central Subway service began on November 19, 2022, with the Ellis entrance reopened.[13]

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.[14] 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.[14] Construction of the Market Street entrances will begin in 2020, with completion in 2027.[15] The southern entrance of 5th Street was closed on January 10, 2022, for canopy construction.[16] That entrance was completed on April 24, 2023, with the 4th Street entrance closed for construction at that time.[17][18]

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.[8] 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.[19] In November 2019, the board issued an $11 million contract for improvements at Powell, with the bathroom expected to cost an additional $20 million.[19][20] The new bathrooms opened on February 2, 2022.[21] The renovation was completed in November 2022.[22] It included a ceiling artwork titled Elysium, which depicts an illuminated view of the buildings above the station.[23]

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.[24][25] 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.[26] Thirteen BART stations, including Powell, did not originally have faregates for passengers using the elevator. In 2020, BART started a project to add faregates to elevators at these stations. The new faregate on the BART platform at Powell was installed in April 2023.[27]

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.[28]


F Market and Wharves streetcar at Market and 5th Street

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 & 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:[29]

AC Transit serves Powell Street station with the 800 All Nighter route during hours that BART is not operating.

Additional Muni (14, 14R, 14X, 714), Golden Gate Transit (30, 70, 101, 101X), and SamTrans (FCX, 292, 397, 398) bus routes run on Mission Street, one block away.[29]

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.[30]


  1. ^ Cerny, Susan Dinkelspiel (2007). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area (1st ed.). Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith. pp. 501–502. ISBN 978-1-58685-432-4. OCLC 85623396.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. ^ a b "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.
  3. ^ a b Callwell, Robert (September 1999). "Transit in San Francisco: A Selected Chronology, 1850–1995" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Railway. p. 57.
  4. ^ "Monthly Ridership Reports". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. September 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Station Map: Powell Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Commission. August 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Cano, Ricardo (June 14, 2023). "Westfield's S.F. mall benefits from a rare arrangement with BART. Here's how much it costs the mall". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  7. ^ a b "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.
  8. ^ a b c "Powell St. BART Station Modernization Program: Final Report" (PDF). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. September 2015.
  9. ^ "The story of BART's iconic bubble tiles" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 25, 2023.
  10. ^ "Stockton and Ellis Street Entrance at Powell Street Station Closing" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. April 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Central Subway Construction Closes Apple Store Entrance To Powell Station". San Francisco Appeal. April 24, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Walker, Wilson (February 26, 2017). "KPIX Sky Drone 5 Explores the Tunnels of the Central Subway". CBS San Francisco. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  13. ^ "Central Subway Opens November 19 with Special Weekend Service" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. November 1, 2022.
  14. ^ a b "SF BART and Muni Escalator/Entrance Project". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Archived from the original on November 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "BART to build canopies over San Francisco Market Street entrances" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "BART completes construction of 3 new canopies over downtown San Francisco station entrances" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. May 1, 2023.
  18. ^ "Entrance closure alert: Powell St. Station entrance at Market and 4th St. closed 4/24/23 for work on new canopy" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. April 24, 2023.
  19. ^ a b Swan, Rachel (November 21, 2019). "BART to reopen bathrooms at Powell, 19th Street stations that closed after 9/11". San Francisco Chronicle.
  20. ^ "Board awards contract for Powell St. Station modernization" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. November 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "Restrooms at Powell Street Station will reopen on 2/2/22" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. January 31, 2022.
  22. ^ "BART unveils modernized Powell St. Station in time for holiday shopping" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. November 22, 2022.
  23. ^ "New illuminated artwork brings the sky to Powell St. Station" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. November 23, 2022.
  24. ^ "Color Lights Installation Coming to Muni Metro Escalators" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. March 14, 2018.
  25. ^ Phelan, Lori (October 29, 2019). "New Escalators Rising to the Challenge" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority.
  26. ^ "BART opens all entrances/exits that were previously closed due to pandemic" (Press release). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. June 12, 2021.
  27. ^ "New Fare Gates & Station Hardening". San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. July 2023. Archived from the original on September 4, 2023.
  28. ^ Costley, Drew (August 20, 2017). "Pigeons won't stop pooping all over the Powell BART station, despite attempts to curb flocks". San Francisco Chronicle.
  29. ^ a b "Transit Stops: Powell Station" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Commission. August 10, 2019.
  30. ^ Better Market Street Project EIR (PDF). Vol. 1. San Francisco Planning Department. February 27, 2019. pp. 2–53.

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