San Francisco officials cut a ribbon Tuesday on a rebuilt, double-long Muni train platform to serve the Chase Center Arena and UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital.
The platform, which was expanded at a cost of more than $33 million from 160 to 320 feet long to accommodate four two-car trains and serve up to 700 riders at a time, is at the center of a big public transit pitch. Officials are hoping that tens of thousands of Golden State Warriors fans arrive to games chiefly by Muni in the months after the Chase Center opens in September.
Yet only one of those officials actually arrived to the Wednesday press event on the T-Third, the train line that serves the newly rebuilt platform between the hospital and the arena on Third Street.
Mayor London Breed, Golden State Warriors’ President Rick Welts, UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Muni leaders were on hand to grasp the golden scissors and snip.
“This is the station for Dub Nation,” Chiu said at a press conference before the ribbon-cutting, to a number of friendly groans.
Afterwards, Chiu told the San Francisco Examiner he drove to the event because he had to drop his 3-year-old son off at nursery school in the morning. “I would have preferred to take Muni,” he said.
Hawgood’s office is in the UCSF hospital just above the press conference, so he walked. Welts, the Warriors president, told the Examiner he started in San Francisco and took BART to his East Bay office and back again, before hopping in an Uber to the press conference because he was running late.
Gwyneth Borden, vice chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors, said she used Muni for one leg of her trip, but caught a ride with Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru the rest of the way, she said.
Mayor London Breed also did not take Muni to the press conference, her spokesperson confirmed, but she did briefly board a Muni T-Third train and say hello to an operator in a photo-op for news cameras. At the press conference, she urged the public to take a T-Third train downtown.
“You can pull up almost to the front door (of Chase Center Arena) and have a good time” on the T-Third train, she said with a smile.
Only one official who cut the ribbon to the new platform arrived by transit: SFMTA Acting Director of Transportation Tom Maguire.
“I took a T-train. Make sure to write that down!” he said when asked.
The new UCSF/Chase Center Muni Platform is part of a bet bigger than any made on a hobbyist’s fantasy league: SF officials are hoping attendees ditch their cars and ride transit to the new Chase Center Arena.
The Warriors’ are all-in to convince attendees to arrive by Muni train, too, providing free Muni passes for ticket holders.
“They have put their money where their mouth is in supporting transportation in San Francisco,” Breed said at the ribbon-cutting and turned to look right at Welts, the Warriors’ president.
The incentive is aimed at alleviating parking concerns. So far there are only 2,900 parking spaces in the neighborhood and nearby arena, for an estimated 18,000 Chase Center seats in the arena and 9,000 attendees per average events.
SFMTA has promised more robust train service along Third Street near the arena — and rebuilt the platform to accommodate that additional service.
“We’ve been on this journey seven years now,” said Welts. That journey included a public disagreement with some supporters of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, who worried the nearby arena would hurt emergency vehicle traffic and imperil lives.
“We had a common vision but we had to figure out how to get there,” Welts said.
For his part, Hawgood said his office at UCSF faces the arena, providing a unique opportunity to hold Welts accountable.
“I believe I can see right into Rick’s office,” Hawgood said. “We’ll be able to closely monitor how this all works.”
This article has been corrected to reflect the platform would accommodate four two-car trains, not four-car trains as initially written. The number of attendees for Warriors games was initially 9,000 but it was corrected to be 18,000.