After nine full days of transit disruptions, traffic shutdowns and bike path closures, normalcy returned for hundreds of thousands of commuters Monday.
Centered on construction projects in the Duboce Triangle and Cole Valley neighborhoods, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s “long shutdown” was a big pain for commuters, but there are now big-time improvements as a result of the work.
During the shutdown, crews upgraded sewer mains below Stanyan and Shrader streets, replaced rail tracks on Arguello Boulevard and Willard Street, added a separated bike lane at Church and Duboce streets and installed new traffic signals near Golden Gate Park, among other projects, according to SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.
The breadth of the work forced the SFMTA to shut down its N-Judah light-rail line and partially close the J-Church train line. It also rerouted several bus lines and closed down streets and bike lanes. Collectively, the shutdown, which lasted from 7 p.m. May 25 through 5 a.m. Monday, affected more than 100,000 commuters.
“This shutdown enabled critically important work that helps Muni run better and makes for safer travel for people on bicycles and on foot,” said SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin. “While there was disruption, we tried to make it as painless as possible. We thank our customers for their patience as we continue work to keep our system in a state of good repair.”
The inconveniences of the shutdown were frustrating for Muni passengers, but many of them were well-aware of the future benefits of the project, said Ben Kaufman of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, an advocacy organization.
“We live in a transit-rich city, so most commuters found a way to deal with the delays,” said Kaufman, who lauded the SFMTA for its public outreach before the project. “Ultimately, we know it’s going to benefit the riders.”
Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro Community Benefit District, said many local residents and business owners frequently complained about the high-pitched noises coming from the J-Church line. Thanks to the long shutdown, those issues have been resolved, she said.
“Those rail lines needed to be replaced and improved,” Aiello said. “We’ve been able to accomplish a lot from this work, from nicer landscaping to larger boarding platforms. It’s going to be better for the neighborhood.”
The long shutdown came as a result of the agency’s Carl Street Improvement Project and the Church and Duboce Track and Street Improvement Project. Combined, the two plans entail about $40 million in upgrades. Work related to the projects is still ongoing.
Shutdown work: Service performed during the SFMTA’s long shutdown:
- Sewer main upgrades between Stanyan and Shrader streets
- Sewer main upgrades from Arguello Boulevard to west of Hillway Avenue
- Track and roadway improvements between Willard and Cole Streets
- Track upgrades between Arguello Boulevard and Willard Street
- 1100-foot track replacement from Hillway Avenue to Cole Street
- Separated green bikeway installed at Church and Duboce streets
- Traffic signals installed east of Stanyan Street
- Overhead line improvements installed east of Stanyan Street