Third Street Light Rail Project

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Third Street Light Rail
San Francisco-Third St Light Rail.jpg
New tracks on 3rd Street north of 16th Street in September 2005
Type Light rail
System Muni Metro
Locale San Francisco, California
Stations 18
Opened April 7, 2007
Owner San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Operator(s) San Francisco Municipal Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, 600 V DC
Route map

The Third Street Light Rail Project is the construction project that expanded the Muni Metro system in San Francisco, California along the eastern side of the city. Construction was finished in late 2006, non-revenue weekend service began on January 13, 2007, and full service began on April 7, 2007.[1] The new service, as the T Third Street Metro line, replaced most of the now defunct 15 Third bus line, running south from the Caltrain Depot at 4th and King streets, along Third Street and Bayshore Boulevard to the Visitacion Valley neighborhood.

The extension was supposed to connect directly to the Bayshore Caltrain Station when the station was in San Francisco County. However, as part of Caltrain's 2004 CTX project, Caltrain relocated the Bayshore Station to San Mateo County without informing Muni. To complicate matters, this connection has been plagued by cost and design issues. As a result, the line terminates at the Sunnydale Station on Bayshore Boulevard for the time being.

The T-line officially starts at West Portal, as it become a "T" line from its original "K" line and operates through the Twin Peaks Tunnel and Market Street Subway to the Caltrain Depot at 4th and King streets and then along the new extension. The 15 Third bus line was eliminated and the 8 line was extended to replace the 15 in areas not served by the metro extension, including City College and Fisherman's Wharf.

The project was initially budgeted at $667 million. As of July 2006, the budget increased by $120 million.[1]

The Third Street Light Rail Project is the first part of a two-phase plan to expand the Muni Metro system. The second phase, known as the Central Subway project, has a planned underground extension that would run north from the Caltrain Depot with intermediate stations at 4th and Brannan, Moscone Center, and Union Square before terminating at a station in Chinatown at Stockton and Washington streets.

In the early part of March 2009, media and community groups proposed that, as the Central Subway is being built, plans should be drawn up for the eventual extension of the T-line through North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf neighborhoods, passing Pier 39, using an old coal railroad line underneath Fort Mason and ending up at The Presidio.[citation needed]


18 new stations were built along the line. They consist of high platforms either built between the tracks or with one on each side, similar to the ones used by the N Judah along the Embarcadero.

As part of the project, the entire Third Street corridor was repaved and received new streetlights. Additionally, palm trees were planted, sidewalks reconstructed and the pavement on 3rd Street repaved. Stations along the route have a distinctive marquee pole with a sculpture or mobile.

Light rail vehicles (LRVs) operate in an exclusive right-of-way in the center of the street along most of the line to bypass vehicular congestion and increase speed along the line. LRVs operate in mixed flow traffic at the 4th Street Bridge (the bridge does not have enough room for LRV exclusive right-of-way) and in a 10 block segment in the Bayview business district to maintain parking on both sides of the street for customers of local businesses.

In addition, transit signal priority has been implemented along the entire corridor. The goal is to allow LRVs to have a green light at every intersection so they can travel from station to station without stopping.


  1. ^ a b Cabanatuan, Michael. Muni's Third St. light-rail line finally rolling. San Francisco Chronicle. January 13, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2013.

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