M-line plans get good response

Some headway and zeroing in has been done in plans to reconstruct the M-Ocean View Muni line and its connections to institutions, businesses and housing in the southwest section of The City.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials at a community meeting Tuesday night introduced two conceptual alternatives to the original plan to reroute the M-line through the Parkmerced housing complex. Both would include a subway from south of St. Francis Circle through Stonestown Galleria, but emerge from underground at different spots farther south.

The Longer Subway and Bridge alternative would follow Font Boulevard in Parkmerced to a light-rail bridge over Junipero Serra Boulevard and continue on Randolph Street, while the Shorter Subway and Tunnel scheme would tunnel under the intersection of 19th Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard and continue on 19th Avenue and Randolph Street.

Officials said the changes in the Longer plan would better reach the 19th Avenue Transit Study's objectives of faster light-rail travel time and pedestrian improvements. They called it the “high-performing alternative.”

The two alternatives represent a narrowing down from three northern and three southern options that were put before the public at the first outreach round that ended in spring. Modifications based on the community's input made for a much better response at Tuesday's meeting, according to Liz Brisson, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority project manager for the study.

“In general, the community felt that we listened to them and what we brought back this round was much stronger,” she said. “There was a lot of excitement about the improvement and what it would mean for southwest San Francisco and what it would mean for improving transportation conditions.”

Kath Tsakalakis, an organizer for Lakeside One Neighborhood Group, agreed that most residents “liked the direction that it was going.”

At her neighborhood group's meeting in April, about 70 percent of residents in a poll supported a longer tunnel, Tsakalakis said. The rest thought the project would be a waste of resources.

Authorities with Parkmerced, the largest private-sector participant with $70 million going toward the estimated $520 million project bill, do not have a preference on the alternatives on the table, said spokesman P.J. Johnston.

“We want to be a whole-hearted participant in the process and we follow the lead of the transportation experts,” he said.

During the second round of outreach this fall, the project team will make presentations at various neighborhood locations and welcomes residents to complete a survey at www.sfcta.org/19thAve. The feasibility study underway now is expected to be completed in early 2014, followed by a year to prepare a conceptual design, environmental review through 2018 and construction starting no sooner than 2020.

M-Ocean View Muni project

Benefits of the Longer Subway and Bridge plan

• $2 million in annual operating cost savings

• 35 to 45 percent (7 to 8 minutes) in light-rail travel time savings in the southwest corridor

• 30 to 50 feet in street space to be repurposed for wider sidewalks, bus stops, landscaped medians

• More reliable vehicle travel

• Safer, more attractive pedestrian and bicycle environment on and around 19th Avenue

Source: SFMTA

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