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Muni wires may come down for Super Bowl

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A project rendering of the Super Bowl City on Market Street. (Courtesy NFL Super Bowl 50 Host Committee)

Next year’s Super Bowl will be hosted at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, but the official NFL Super Bowl festival will be in San Francisco — much touted by Mayor Ed Lee.

While much controversy surrounded the mayor’s call to relocate Market Street’s homeless population to accommodate the “Super Bowl City” festival, another eviction may occur.

The committee planning Super Bowl City are asking that Muni’s overhead wires be taken down near Justin Herman Plaza, the San Francisco Examiner has learned, potentially disrupting service of Muni’s historic streetcars and wire-dependent buses.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the plaza, said she thought the potential plan was well-known.

“Yeah, that’s real,” she said. “The [Super Bowl] committee has been very open about it. They’ve said that’s what they want.”

She added, “They’ve definitely been asking to take down the overhead wires on Market Street.”

The Super Bowl City’s website describes the event as having games and “activities that highlight the region’s technological prowess, culinary excellence and cultural diversity,” as well as celebrating the Super Bowl.

Dan Weaver sits on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Citizen Advisory Council. He confirmed the potential removal of wires is on the agenda for the council to consider – purely as an informational item – in December.

The CAC makes no actual decisions regarding policy with SFMTA, but does make recommendations to the SFMTA which they may consider moving forward.

Sources with close knowledge of the project also confirmed the potential plan. Those sources, who would not use their names for fear of reprisal from the Mayor’s Office, also said removing numerous wires on Market Street may cost a “seven-figure number” requiring “lots of overtime” to remove correctly.

They also said it may potentially disrupt bus lines and the F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar for weeks.

The 6 Parnassus, 31-Balboa, and 21-Hayes also run on wires by the plaza. It is unclear if the potential construction would affect other bus routes.

Super Bowl Committee spokeswoman Stephanie Martin said, “I don’t know about any of those plans. We will have a road closure from Beale Street to the foot of Market, and we’re working with SFMTA on the rest of the transportation plan, which is still being finalized.”

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose also could not confirm the plan, but said “The SFMTA is working with the event organizers to ensure a safe and minimally disruptive event.”

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