A project rendering of the Super Bowl City on Market Street. (Courtesy NFL Super Bowl 50 Host Committee)

Supervisor Kim to call for hearing on Super Bowl committee’s Muni wire removal

Some San Franciscans are decidedly not happy over the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee’s proposal to remove Muni wires near Market Street, for its “Super Bowl City.”

After the San Francisco Examiner first broke the story on Thursday, more than 100 angry citizens flooded the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency with emails concerning the proposal.

The story even garnered national media attention.

“Public transit in San Francisco is a plodding, inconvenient mess on its very best day, and now the NFL wants the city to tear a portion of it down. No thank you,” wrote SB Nation.

Supervisor Jane Kim heard from those incensed citizens too, and told the San Francisco Examiner she will call for a hearing on the plans to remove Muni wires, at the Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting Tuesday.

“I don’t have a lot of info about the Super Bowl’s proposal,” Kim said. Sources told the Examiner that most of the discussion was between the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and The Mayor’s Office. Kim said the committee didn’t initially talk to her, even though the Super Bowl fan village is located in her district.

“No one’s come to my office about it,” she said, but the committee spoke to her following the initial news coverage.

The hearing will be an opportunity for Kim to get answers, she said, but also “It will give people an opportunity for input.”

Supervisor Malia Cohen also has a hearing on the Super Bowl scheduled, for Dec. 7, but it’s more general and not specific to transit.

The SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council will also hear the topic of the Muni wires Dec. 3., but has no power to stop the project.

Still, more than 100 citizens wrote the council asking them to intervene.

“Tell the Super Bowl Committee to live with some wires. This is supposed to be a green, progressive city. Public transportation is a huge part of that… besides, it already takes me over an hour to get home on the train,” wrote Erin Kerrigan.

“What would Herb Caen say? He’d be appalled,” wrote Darius Aidala, in an email to the committee.

“Please don’t let big business cost us further money and make life difficult for those who live here,” wrote Angela McAllister.

“If SF Muni or Mayor Ed Lee or any supervisor contemplates sanctioning this request they should be run out of town covered in tar and feathers,” wrote Raymond Vitale, of San Francisco.

Erik Ogan, a San Francisco resident and software engineer at Change.org, started an online petition against the proposal called “Keep the MUNI Lines Up on Market Street During Super Bowl Week.”

As of this writing it has 177 signatures. “I love the city,” Ogan told the Examiner, saying the Super Bowl committee’s proposal is “going to make everyone’s commute harder, for what (the committee) said is essentially an asethetic thing.”

Removal of Muni wires on Market Street or on nearby Steuart Street, alongside Justin Herman Plaza, may disrupt many bus lines as well as the historic F-Market & Wharves streetcar. Sources with knowledge of the request said removing numerous wires may cost a “seven-figure number” requiring “lots of overtime” to remove wires correctly.

Stephanie Martin, a spokeswoman for the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, sent this statement to the Examiner: “If there is a need for temporary removal of overhead wires in this area, the Host Committee will cover that cost. We are reviewing those plans with SFMTA to make that determination.

If it is determined that some wires will come down within that three-block area, we are working to make sure that they are down for the shortest possible period of time, but final plans will be announced sometime in the next several weeks in conjunction with our partners at SFMTA.”

Those with an opinion on the Muni wires may also contact Mayor Ed Lee. His email is mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org.

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