Rail repairs are ‘necessary evil’

The long-term repairs starting next weekend for the N-Judah rail line will mean short-term traffic diversions, bus service instead of a train, and noise for neighbors.

The projects at the intersections of Judah Street and 19th Avenue as well as Judah Street and Sunset Boulevard will tear up the 30-year-old rail line and replace it with a newer, more durable trackway. Along with the rail replacement, work will also be done to upgrade pedestrian curb ramps, add overhead wiring, replace old water mains and implement Muni signal priority at traffic lights.

To allow for the upgrades, the intersections will be closed to traffic from Friday at 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. Monday. Construction will resume at the two intersections Nov. 20, with the work again lasting throughout the weekend. The final weekend of construction will go from Dec. 4 until Dec. 7.

During the construction times, light-rail service on the N-Judah will run only from downtown stations to Church and Duboce streets.

Bus service will be available to take passengers back and forth to the western terminus at La Playa Street at Ocean Beach.

The construction work will also mean traffic on Judah Street in both directions at the intersections will be closed. There will also be partial closures of 19th Avenue and Sunset Boulevard at Judah Street.

Other impacts from the construction include loss of parking around the construction sites during the work and noise for neighbors that could extend into the evening hours, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Greg Dewar, a local blogger who maintains a Web site called the N-Judah Chronicles, called the construction work a “necessary evil.”

“One of Muni’s problems is that it defers maintenance too long for some projects,” said Dewar. “So, in that regards, it’s good that they’re paying attention to their capital needs out here. It will be a hassle, but we need the work.”

Muni has set up advisory meetings and mailed out 3,500 fliers to area residents, alerting them to the N-Judah service changes, traffic detours, and construction noise, according to department spokeswoman Kristen Holland.

The rehabilitation work to the N-Judah is the first phase of an $18 million overhaul of Muni’s western rail lines. Trackway work on the

J-Church and L-Taraval times will begin early next year, Holland said.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, will be shutting down two intersections during three weekends for upgrades to light-rail tracks and other parts of the intersection.

Intersections: Judah Street and 19th Avenue; Judah Street and Sunset Boulevard

Weekends: Nov. 13, Nov. 20, Dec. 3

Times: From 8 p.m. Fridays through 4 a.m. the following Mondays

 What the repairs will mean for you

Whether you ride Muni, drive through The City or live near the intersections being repaired, the fixes on the N-Judah rail line will likely affect you in some way.

Drivers

  • Traffic on Judah Street will be closed in both directions at 19th Avenue and Sunset Boulevard
  • Vehicles will need to follow the detour signs around the closure
  • 19th Avenue and Sunset Boulevard will be partially closed

Muni riders

  • The N-Judah outbound from downtown will end at Church and Duboce streets
  • Bus shuttles will substitute rail service from there to the end
  • of the line at Ocean Beach
  • Regular stops around the construction site may not be available during the repairs

Neighbors

  • Residents close to the construction may experience noise during the evening hours while repairs are being done
  • Some street parking around the construction sites may be unavailable
  • All sidewalks and driveways will remain open during construction
     

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

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