Historic F-line streetcars may extend to Fort Mason

The historic F-line streetcars that run along Market Street and the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf may find their tracks extended out to Fort Mason under a proposal floated by the U.S. Park Service.

The extension could run trains past the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and through a currently abandoned rail tunnel, directly to the heavily usedFort Mason Center.

The U.S. Park Service, the San Francisco Municipal Railway and the Presidio Trust commissioned a feasibility study on the project in 2004. That study determined that the extension would be possible, and came up with several route alternatives, most of which put the tracks through an abandoned 1914 rail tunnel, which is about 1,500 feet long and only wide enough for a single track.

“The money that's funding the work we're doing now came from the Federal Highway Administration. They fund improvements to transit connections to parks,” said Rick Foster, a Golden Gate National Recreation Area planner.

The project is a cooperative effort of four agencies, including the San Francisco Municipal Railway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and the Federal Transportation Administration, Foster said.

The agencies held their first public scoping meeting Tuesday to begin collecting input for an environmental impact report. That report is expected to be finished in about 18 months. After its completion, the agencies will begin looking for funding sources, Foster said, as the extension is not currently in Muni's budget.

The cars currently run along the Embarcadero to Jones Street, just on the eastern edge of Fishermen's Wharf. The proposed extension would add about a mile of track, and would put the end of the line at the Fort Mason Center.

About 3.5 million people visit the maritime historic park each year, Foster said. In addition, about 1.8 million people visit Fort Mason annually.

amartin@examiner.com

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