An outbound Muni M-Ocean View train arrives at West Portal Station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Letters: Muni should fix its current Metro system before it adds a new subway

Your Sunday September 15 article “S.F.’s newest subway may emerge on West Side” indicates misplaced MUNI metro investment priorities. It is particularly surprising that Supervisor Norman Yee is pushing for this investment. Ask any MUNI rider and they will tell you their priority is fixing the current system, particularly the Metro tunnel operations. We have been given 40-plus years of excuses why the train operation is an embarrassment, but no solutions have been accomplished. Many of Supervisor Yee’s constituents and voters depend on this terrible service. If politicians, managers, staff, train operators, equipment consultants can not fix it, we should replace them all. Perhaps it is time to bring in some Germans and others that know how to operate a metro. There are many excuses, but we are tired of these and operation of a metro in an exclusive tunnel should be child’s play. It is unbelievable that trains sit for 20 seconds entering the tunnel at Embarcadero to initialize. A 12-year old could eliminate this embarrassment. Adding another line to the Market Street Metro tunnel as proposed, will WORSEN operations.

MUNI’s priority investment should be fixed the current network and complete the China Town project underway. Only after these improvements are successfully operating should MUNI look for other investments including:

  • Extend China Town line to Washington Square where it could interface with 30 and 45 trolley bus lines. No impact on Metro tunnel operations. The current contractor should not be permitted to bid on this extension due to performance its record.
  • Extend Third Street line terminating at Illinois Street to the Hunters Point development via Third Street, Evans, Ingalls etc. No impact on metro tunnel operations.
  • Construct Geary Line to Stanyan, Carl/N Judah), 19th Ave subway, Park Merced development, Lake Merce Blvd and John Daly to BART station. Line would be expensive but could be built in stages and would serve: Union Square, CPMC at Van Ness, Fillmore/Western Addition, UCSF/Kaiser, USF, St Mary’s Med Ctr, Golden Gate Park Panhandle, UCSF Parnassus, Irving Street, 19th ave, Stonestown, SFSU, Park Merced, and Daly City BART (probably via moving sidewalk pedestrian connector over I-280. Line would have not impact on metro tunnel operations With its connection to the N Judah line and to the M line it would provide some added operational flexibility.

Bottom line: why worsen MUNI Metro tunnel operations, when other more promising investments make sense? Clearly all investments will involve impediments, but where there is a clear benefit and a will to accomplish SF once was a city that knew how.

If Park Merced wants a new MUNI line, it seems reasonable that they should fund the line. It is unclear why future resident needs should have priority over current resident MUNI needs. The suggested Hunters Point Extension seems to have more merit and to have less impact on metro operations. The Geary, 19th Ave suggestion would serve many current needs and might be a better way of serving Park Merced with little impact on Market Street tunnel operations than Yee’s proposed new line.

Peter Martin

San Francisco

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