(Ryan McNulty/2016 Special to SF Examiner)

Supe requests funding to study BART extension to the Richmond District

BART to the Richmond District may be studied in the near future, bringing a long held transportation dream perhaps closer than ever to fruition.

That’s the ask of Supervisor Sandra Fewer and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority in a request for funds approved Tuesday.

That request is part of a Bay Area-wide planning process for Regional Measure 3, a potential ballot measure to request a toll increase of Bay Area bridges between $1 and $3 that’s now being explored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Transportation agencies across the Bay Area are proposing funding requests for the MTC to forward to the state legislature toward that potential ballot measure, all in the aim of reducing traffic congestion on bridges.

The toll increases itself, what they may fund and when the ballot measure would go before voters are all up still in the air.

“Each of those questions remains unanswered,” said John Goodwin, a spokesperson for the MTC. “It’s safe to say that we’re probably in the third or fourth inning in a long game.”

The SFCTA initially requested some toll funding to go toward a second underwater Transbay Tube, which may be used by BART or Caltrain, among other funding asks.

But on Tuesday, Fewer amended that Transbay Tube request to include studying an extension to the Richmond District, potentially as far west as Sixth Avenue. She also hopes the funding would go toward studying a Muni subway along 19th Avenue.

“My residents can’t be connected to the East Bay easily,” she told the San Francisco Examiner, and pointed out that public transit to Oakland from the Richmond District involves a lengthy 38-Geary bus ride to BART downtown, prompting almost half of the neighborhood’s commuters to drive.

“How long do you think I can ask my constituents to do that?” she said.

Commute hour transportation demand is anticipated to grow from 16,200 Richmond District commuters headed downtown today to 18,800 commuters by 2040, according to a recent study by MTC and other agencies.

But the Richmond’s “transit capacity” right now only serves 16,600 people, according to the study, signaling future Richmond District streets strangled by congestion.

An initial $10 million of BART’s recent $3.5 billion bond has been committed to studying a second Transbay Tube already, according to BART funding documents.

BART Board of Directors member Nick Josefowitz said it would “make sense” to explore connecting a second Transbay Tube to western San Francisco.

“It opens up places for people to work in different neighborhoods, to connect with friends and family in different parts of the region,” he said.

Former BART director James Fang long ago proposed a BART line to Ocean Beach. And the study funding, though requested, requires multiple layers of approval, from the MTC to the voters. The cost of the study has not been determined.

“I may not be alive to see this,” Fewer said, “but I’m planning for the future of the Richmond District.”Transit

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