One of San Francisco’s most chaotic intersections is getting an extensive makeover, but it will come at a price to residents in The City’s southwest neighborhoods.
The focus of the construction project will be St. Francis Circle, a heavily used intersection that incorporates five different thoroughfares and two light-rail lines, connecting motorists and passengers from the West Portal neighborhood to Stonestown Galleria and San Francisco State University.
Residents will have to endure numerous lane closures and go without light-rail service on Muni’s two local lines for more than three months this summer.
Preliminary work on the massive undertaking will begin the weekend of May 8, but the project takes off May 17, when Muni is scheduled to shut down light-rail service between the West Portal and Balboa Park stations on its M-Ocean View and K-Ingleside lines. Collectively, the two lines record more than 60,000 daily boardings.
While those lines are shut down — bus shuttles will replace the train service — work will be done to rehabilitate their aging trackway infrastructure, according to spokeswoman Kristen Holland of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which is leading the project.
Along with replacing the 30-year-old railway, workers will repave streets, improve pedestrian access points, re-engineer traffic-signal timing, add new street lighting and adjust boarding ramps — all with the intent of streamlining traffic and transit at St. Francis Circle.
Construction will be extensive, lasting from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends.
None of the roads feeding into St. Francis Circle — which include busy thoroughfares Junipero Serra Boulevard and Sloat Boulevard — will be completely shut down to motorists, but construction will result in frequent lane closures, Holland said, adding that 40,000 motorists use St. Francis Circle every day. Also, service on Muni’s 17-Parkmerced and the 23-Monterey buses will be directly affected by the work.
SFMTA chief Nathaniel Ford said the upgrades are crucial to maintain Muni service standards.
“San Francisco’s infrastructure is at the core of our quality of life,” Ford said. “The SFMTA will continue to aggressively prioritize keeping Muni in a state of good repair in order to provide safe and reliable service to our customers.”
Full service (to Balboa Park station) will be restored on the M-Ocean View and K-Ingleside lines Sept. 1, although the finishing stages of construction will stretch until November.
All told, the project is slated to cost $25.9 million, which will come out of the SFMTA’s capital-programs budget.
A major construction project will take place later this year in the southwest section of San Francisco.
Preliminary work: May 8 and 9
Construction work at St. Francis Circle: May 17 to Sept. 1
Final site construction: September to November
Cost: $25.9 million
Muni lines affected: K-Ingleside, M-Ocean View, 17-Parkmerced, 23-Monterey, 28-19th Avenue, 91-Owl
Streets affected: Junipero Serra Boulevard, Sloat Boulevard, Portola Drive, West Portal Avenue, St. Francis Boulevard