Muni F-line extension faces setback

Extending the F-line streetcar service west to Fort Mason could be derailed by a lack of financing and planning concerns raised by a supervisor.

Initially projected to debut in 2014, the proposal would extend service on the F-line, which runs from the Castro district to Fisherman’s Wharf, into the Fort Mason Center.

By extending the line, riders would have access to two national parks — the other being the San Francisco Maritime Park, located on Hyde Street — and would have a direct connection from downtown to the Marina district, according to Ann Lazarus, executive director of the Fort Mason Center.

But since the line would run through a national park, it must be studied by local and federal authorities. The National Park Service has posted $1.4 million for an environmental impact review, but the remaining $500,000 needed to finish the report must come from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni.

The SFMTA has requested the $500,000 from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the agency governed by the Board of Supervisors that’s in charge of The City’s transportation tax.

At the request of Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, whose district includes Fort Mason and Fisherman’s Wharf, the TA is considering shelving any further study of extending the F-line, putting a halt to the $500,000 request.

Alioto-Pier said the extended F-line would invite Marin commuters to park their cars all day in the Marina Green lot, increasing traffic congestion for city residents. She also is concerned about the minimal outreach directed at Marina residents and the lack of a coherent funding plan for the $53 million project.

“The F-line project is kind of like a monster without a head right now,” Alioto-Pier said. 

Rick Foster, the National Park Service’s project manager for the study, said he was “a little surprised and disappointed” by Alioto-Pier’s objections to the plan.

“This puts a little monkey wrench into our plans,” Foster said. “But we’ll continue to look for other funding sources to complete this study.”

The F-line extension was originally part of the TA’s five-year prioritization program, which ranks local transit projects according to their necessity. At Alioto-Pier’s behest, the TA’s board of directors is scheduled to vote today on approving a new prioritization plan that doesn’t incorporate the F-line extension.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Laying track

$53.8 million Total cost of F-line extension

$48.5 million Current amount of project that’s unfunded

0.85 miles Total length of proposed extension to F-line service

6 miles Current length of F-line service

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