On the way to Ocean Beach, Muni’s outbound N-Judah trains emerge from the Sunset Tunnel at Carl and Cole streets and come to a brisk stop — it is the busiest passenger loading and unloading zone for the metro trains outside of downtown San Francisco and Muni wants to revamp it to increase pedestrian safety and access.
In the last five years, there have been 10 accidents involving trains and vehicles and one accident involving a train and a pedestrian at the stop at Carl and Cole streets, according to Muni officials who recently met with concerned neighbors and N-Judah riders about the bustling intersection.
While no decisions have been made, Muni is proposing to relocate the stops for both inbound and outbound N-Judah trains for better access, while also building boarding platforms, corner bulb outs and curb ramps.
“It’s really important we address pedestrian safety,” said Julie Kirschbaum, manager of Muni’s Transit Effectiveness Project, the first in-depth analysis of the system done in more than two decades and meant to increase system reliability, on-time performance and passenger satisfaction.
Transit planners for Muni, which serves nearly 700,000 weekday riders on 1,000 buses, streetcars and trolleys, also want to replace dilapidated phone booths, trashcans and transit shelters at the intersection and add a ticket-vending machine to speed up the boarding process.
Currently, N-Judah trains — Muni’s most popular metro line carrying as many as 40,000 people each weekday — compete with drivers who double park on Carl Street near the western portal of the Sunset Tunnel.
A perforated white line is meant to keep drivers from blocking the space that train operators need to clear the corner out of the tunnel, but drivers ignore the road rule all too often, which delays the trains, said Javad Mirabdal, head of Muni’s transit preferential streets program.
Passengers boarding the outbound trains also have to navigate the illegally parked cars, which is not a “safe and comfortable environment” for riders, Mirabdal said.
“It sounds great, but nowhere in here did I hear more trains,” said Bradley Burch, an N-Judah rider who attended the Muni meeting on Carl and Cole streets last week. “Most people in here want more trains to get downtown faster.”
Muni officials said the N-Judah line receives more trains than any other metro route.