San Francisco Subway Vision Heat Map

Based on over 2,600 responses to a solicitation for ‘visions’ as to where the next subway lines and connectors should be built in San Francisco, a heat map of the most requested routes and corridors has been compiled by the Connect SF team.

Dominating the responses, both online and in pop-up survey stations, was the development of a subway line along the length of Geary Boulevard.

The other most frequently envisioned new lines and corridors included a north-west extension of the Central Subway and new lines tracking Lombard, Van Ness Avenue, Divisadero, 16th Street, Potrero, Ocean and 19th Avenue.

And while camouflaged by the lack of a discrete survey path, if all the individual lines were combined, an envisioned connector between San Francisco and Alameda to Oakland would glow a bright red.

The Connect SF team is slated to develop an official vision for the future development of San Francisco’s subway lines by the end of the year.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by BigV

    Yes Yes Yes! We need to be digging multiple subway lines at all times. Making SF’s subway systems a connected grid will be a huge improvement, and having more that one transbay connection will add significant capacity and *resilience* to the transit system.

    • Posted by JayJay

      SF has the capacity to host a much larger population, but we need to constantly be digging new lines through out the city. You can’t have a world class city with horrible tube transportation.

      • Posted by gone one

        Just like Calcutta

      • Posted by Jake

        why would/should SF want a “much larger population”? And how “much larger” than the growth rates we’ve been adding of ~10k residents/year?

        The planning of population distribution, workplace concentrations, and the transportation between them should be based on the metro area. SF alone can’t solve any of these issues but the SF bay area can and should.

        FWIW, there are some very practical and expensive constraints on adding people to the tip of a peninsula (water, power, transportation….). Much much cheaper to add the housing in the suburbs and transport the workers in via hyperloopdeloop.

        As for the tubing of SF, sure, $10B+ for a second tube under the bay to connect SF with the Jersey side of the bay, and ~$1B/mile within SF, allowing for a subterranean station every quarter to half mile, depending on the then current price of goldbricks. I’m willing to hold donations in escrow until the funding targets are satisfied.

        • Posted by Mark

          Stockholm has roughly the same population as SF, but a far more impressive and expansive rail system.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            stockholm is much much smaller as a metro area

        • Posted by woolie

          I can imagine Jake in 1965, protesting the expense and waste of building BART.

          • Posted by Jake

            nope, I’ve never protested any subwaying, though it was a shame that they built BART by destroying so much of Market St.

            I want SF to open a new subway station at the rate of about one per year for the next twenty years. Same on the Jersey side of the Bay and double that in the vastness of softwarren valley. Regional problem, regional solution. Mass transit for the masses, while I mostly walk to work.

            Unfortunately, the GOP congress wants to spend it on the GWBush nuclear aircraft carrier and mission impossible museum and companion SSCheney enhanced interrogation submarine. Prior priorities.

          • Posted by zig

            Way subway stations? 95% of the Bay Area needs lower cost solutions

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Ten thousand residents? Per year? Good heavens!

        • Posted by JackBaker

          As much as I agree with Jake’s comments about congress, his characterization of the “Jersey” side of the bay and disdain for more SF residents smacks loudly of elitism. Elitism is the nasty underbelly of NIMBY-ism – when NUMBYs oppose growth, what they won’t say is they want to keep SF to themselves and don’t more of “the other” – this attitude is exactly what has led to the gentrification of the last 40 years.

          • Posted by Jake

            hey, Jersey as elite as anywheres. And in ways echoed in the bay area. For example they have their Princeton-by-the-Canal, the thrill of riding through the dead marshes as the moon rises over the distant Forbidden City, hillocks from which the refineries looks like steampunk pipeorgans, freeway interchanges inspired by Jackson Pollock.

            As for the many variants of numskullism, well, I do suffer from a nearly inescapable handicap of wanting/needing/craving things to add up all tidy. Ya know, like balancing population and job growth with transflowtation. Guess I’ve found that sometimes it is handy to cap our trades before they overbuild us into gridlockism scale congestion, aka tilt. Sometimes it is too late, like for miles and miles of our everloving bay area and millions of bay areans.

            Oh, and the gentrification of the past ~40 years in the SF baylands was due to increasing wealth from a little known alchemical revolution that turns sand into fortunes worth more than it’s weight in gold, just adding a little dope.

      • Posted by Futurist

        No it doesn’t.

      • Posted by HousingWonk

        SF could easily support a larger population. As cities go, SF is not overwhelmingly dense. The idea that SF is “Full” is just a myth spouted by homeowner NIMBYs with the anti-social, classist position that SF should be a city dominated by Victorian homes.

        • Posted by Frank C.

          Yet you advocate only “3 to 7 story buildings” because adding less supply than you possibly helps affordability more. To readers: yes, this poster actually believes this.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            A uniform build-out to 6 or 7 stories – a la very desirable neighborhoods such as central Paris or London, or NYC’s Greenwich Village or Hell’s Kitchen – would yield a very dense yet very human/humane city.

    • Posted by lingading

      The Big Dig. A shovel in every hand. No citizen too rich, young, infirm or wide – all must dig in preparation for future residents, who may or may not soon show up.

  2. Posted by fellersmtc

    Yes, please support Geary subway instead of BRT!

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      Doesn’t exactly have to be a subway the whole way to the Cliff House. West of Japantown, surface LRT would suffice.

      • Posted by SFcitizen

        The Geary light-rail line should be sub-surface to the end. We need high density housing throughout the City and not just south of Market. Would you suggest that the T-Third Street go above ground as it approaches North Beach?

        • Posted by Jake

          Would you suggest SF spend billions to sub-surface the T through Mission Bay and the light rail under the Embarcadero? Both have higher density and worse traffic than the Richmond. And the proposed extension of the Central Subway to the wharf would be surface north of Washington Sq Park.

          Demanding excessive and un-needed costs is a way to bury consideration of the Geary subway for another generation.

          • Posted by Mark

            Actually, most plans call for keeping the CS underground to the wharf. Roads are already tight and having the trains crawl in mixed traffic is no better than what you currently have.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            West of Japantown / Lone Mountain, San Francisco is all sand anyway – super easy to dig through.

          • Posted by Jake

            Not sure what you mean by “most.” There are more than a dozen variants for routing in official studies. There isn’t a plan (budget, schedule, etc), unless the hopes of many are now plans. FWIW, by far the most likely would be a surface line. The soil study has shown it will be expensive to underground and the expected transport improvement negligible.

            As for “roads are already tight”, please give me a break. The roads north of wash sq park are not nearly as congested as 4th and King or miles of the Embarcadero or many other areas in SF with surface light rail. And that area is expecting very little growth.

            The benefit to continue the light rail by surface all the way to the wharf is so that passengers don’t have to detrain at a North Beach Station (unfunded) to walk or wait for a bus the rest of the way. Besides there is already an operating surface rail along part of the ROW. Been there a while too.

          • Posted by Jake

            Sierrajeff, the tunneling costs are the small part of the cost, 10-20% for the Central Subway. Subterranean stations are the killer cost. And they (Gearians) will not allow cut-and-cover down long stretches of Geary anyway.

            Funny that “BART to the beach” via the Outer Richmond was long pushed by former BART Board member James Fang. He was voted out two years ago after 24 years representing the district which included SF’s western neighborhoods. From a blog: “Fang has seen little support for his idea from BART executives and other policymakers, who often said there were more pressing needs since the Outer Richmond lacks the population density for a dedicated rail spur. … When asked about the Transbay tube and BART in the western neighborhoods, Fang’s successor, Nick Josefowitz, only pointed to Geary Bus Rapid Transit as “a great step forward” for “faster and more reliable transit access to the Richmond.” He also said bus lanes on the Bay Bridge would be needed while commuters await “critical” planning for a second Transbay tube. “The existing tube and the Bay Bridge are very close to capacity,” said Josefowitz. “Just look at the jammed trains and the standstill bridge traffic. But this scale of infrastructure project doesn’t get built overnight. So while we’re planning, we need to be more proactive about helping folks on their commutes today.”

            There’s your champion. At least he didn’t say the Geary BRT would be a great leap forward. He did recently write an oped on how it was critical for BART to spend billions …. to modernize the existing system. We are playing catchup with BART & MUNI & Caltrain. At least the ferries are full.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            “[…] the tunneling costs are the small part of the cost, 10-20% for the Central Subway. Subterranean stations are the killer cost.”

            A subway without stations might be a bit pointless, though. So you are splitting hairs.

            A Geary rail line is going to primarily be a commuter line, similar to the N-Judah. Keeping it on the surface means sacrificing speed for more stops, but for most residents it’s going to be time-neutral as they would just be trading off walking time for riding time. Unless there are plans to build mini-downtowns with highrises along Geary (let’s hear it for all the NIMBYs in the house!) it’s very hard to justify a subway west of Japantown.

          • Posted by Mark

            “A Geary rail line is going to primarily be a commuter line, similar to the N-Judah.”

            I completely disagree. First of all, the N is not a commuter rail line. It’s a streetcar line which is designed and operated completely different from a commuter rail system. Second, there is plenty of demand and need for a rapid transit line under Geary. Look at the current ridership statistics of the 38 line (not to mention the parallel bus lines within easy walking distance to Geary). It’s one of the most used bus lines east of the Mississippi River.

            “The benefit to continue the light rail by surface all the way to the wharf is so that passengers don’t have to detrain at a North Beach Station (unfunded) to walk or wait for a bus the rest of the way. Besides there is already an operating surface rail along part of the ROW. Been there a while too.”

            There is no benefit of continuing the CS on the surface. Yeah, I’ve been to this part of town a lot. There is traffic, maybe not as bad as the BB approach, but enough traffic to warrant taking a train off a shared roadway and putting in underground. The rail that’s currently in operation is along the Embarcadero and only handles historic streetcars. MUNI will not operate LRVs between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero.

            Also, it’s not just a matter of density. It’s about the number of riders. I’m not saying North Beach or the Wharf area will become high rises any time soon (I certainly hope not), but that doesn’t dismiss that there is a pressing demand for improved service, service that an underground rail system can provide much more efficiently than a surface rail system, in this particular case. Same for Geary.

          • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

            @Mark, your comment “MUNI will not operate LRVs between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero.” You know something we don’t know? Its not like they can’t. And it’s (literally) painfully obvious that the E line between the Ferry Building and the turn-around at Beach & Jones is sardine-ville.

          • Posted by Mark

            The LRVs draw more power from the wires than the historic streetcars and cannot operate in the stretch between the Embarcadero and the Wharf. I agree that both the E and F lines are horrifically packed most times, but neither runs on a particular schedule and since the line skirts around many of the northern neighborhoods it’s really not solving the transit problem in areas that need solutions the most.

            As Julie Christensen pushed a few years ago…extending the CS to the Wharf as a subway will provide the missing links in a line that connects half a dozen vibrant centers in under 10 minutes.

          • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

            @Mark, thanks. I wasn’t aware of the power lines being an issue. But I would imagine that’s a (relatively) simple fix to support LRV even if Muni doesn’t put LRV on that section of track right away.

            To me though, one of things I see besides the tourist crowding issue on the historic cars, is that there appear to be businesses moving into those piers (Autodesk comes to mind), so more people in the general location that could warrant LRVs. Plus, add on that any building on those parking lots and the occasional cruise ship and it seems that even with a T line continuing from Chinatown to Pier 39, LRVs on the E line may make a lot of sense, especially if the line is extended to Fort Mason.

          • Posted by Alai

            @Jake

            II’m a Richmond resident who voted against James Fang.

            Maybe I was wrong to do so. But if he was for “Bart to the beach”, it seems that it was no closer to reality at the end of his term than it was at the beginning. Some champion. The idea that the “the Outer Richmond lacks the population density”… well, it has far more population density than any of the suburbs that Bart is expanding to.

          • Posted by Jake

            Alai, the Outer Richmond is set in the corner of a peninsula with only ocean beyond. Many of the far suburban BART stations draw riders from wide areas. BART’s key economic function is to pump commuters in/out of the SF CBD, which tragically has an oversupply of jobs. Outer Richmond commuters can take a (non-rapid) bus, folks in Livermore can drive to Pleasanton, park and ride BART. So many wonderful choices for so many wonderful people.

      • The point of a subway is to bypass traffic, traffic lights, pedestrians, etc. It’s about efficiently moving people from one point to another. Lite-rail isn’t any faster than buses. Getting buses and lite-rail off of the roadways makes travel for everyone more efficient.

    • Posted by no name

      BRT on Van Ness is a joke. Why there hasn’t been more of an uproar about the Van Ness line is beyond me (actually, as someone that lived along the line that wanted to voice their displeasure with the idea, I know part of the reason; the MTA would conveniently hold community hearings at 11am on a Friday, when most people are at work)

      But once traffic along VN starts grid-locking when the 3 lanes are reduced to 2, hopefully heads will roll. BRT may be fine in other areas, but does no one realize this is a major highway?? Subway on VN is the only way to go.

      • Posted by busrider

        Certainly a subway on Van Ness is much more preferable than BRT. But where’s the funding? There is too little money available (from local, state, and national sources) for major public transit capital projects (a gas tax increase and/or VMT implementation could finally change this). At least BRT on Van Ness will boost Muni’s speed and reliability and it’ll also benefit transit riders headed to and from the North Bay.

        • Posted by dB

          Just doing something, regardless of how misguided, (or misrepresented) is not necessarily better. Van Ness BRT looks like a bill of goods, rammed through. IIRC, roughly half (and some suggest more) of the expected commute time saved will be due to the reduction in existing stops alone, not due to speedier bus travel times between stops.

          Those stats were essentially suppressed within the minuscule public communication there has been from the agency in charge. Does the promised Muni transit time savings, whether 3 minutes or 6, end-to-end, actually warrant reducing US 101 to two lanes through the Van Ness corridor (and presumably reduced to a single lane any time someone is parallel parking, dropping off, etc…)?

          This is SF, so heads most certainly won’t roll, but hopefully more public awareness will occur, with a hint of “vote the bums out” sentiment. One can dream. -When the project does go online, with 200 fewer trees and unprecedented traffic jams, it will be hard not to notice…

          That project completion will be on the heels of simultaneous multi-year digs on both Polk and Van Ness, and brought to you by the folks who have recently engineered a couple of highly questionable mods around town. So perhaps by then the emperor’s lack of clothing will be on view to a larger swath of the community. Today the MTA looks like an agency that answers to no one; rarely a scenario that benefits the greatest good.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      agree. BRT is a total waste of money with many probelms. save the money for a subway. think it shold be underground to park presidio and then above ground to OB

  3. Posted by hgh

    Nobody is pining away for a 19th street line, it wasn’t something even talked about before the Park Merced project and the SFMTA trying to gain support for putting it underground.

    • Posted by Hunter

      ummm these were crowdsourced from residents, so yeah, I’d say people are pining for a subway there. Traffic on 19th is consistently awful.

      • Posted by Orland

        But isn’t most of it through – traffic going from someplace beyond to someplace beyond better suited for heavier rail or even autos? An intraurban subway doesn’t make that much sense even allowing for connections. For instance, how many people want to go from 19th & Taraval to 25th & Geary? Seems there would be higher priorities first.

        • Posted by Mark

          Have you been on the 28? Didn’t think so.

          A 19th Ave subway makes perfect sense for many reasons. First, it would provide a much-needed N-S connection that’s fast and reliable. Second, if designed correctly, it would connect the western parts of the city with BART at Daly City. Third, if designed correctly, it would be BART…running under Geary and under 19th Ave. MUNI lines would feed into the new line.

          To counter your logic, many people would ditch their cars for a quick ride to the Richmond from Parkside. But, also keep in mind that it would serve as a both an interurban and intraurban railway.

          • Posted by Aaron Goodman

            Critical issue is if “designed correctly”

            Parkmerced / SFSU and Stonestown pitched pennies in the pot to route it into Parkmerced

            The real hump is getting it out to Daly City Bart…

            The problem is with all the ongoing construction we don’t have the transit horse out the starting gate and the jockey real estate picture projects halfway round the track…. Poor transit planning if you listen too much to the developers and don’t pinpoint the lines by connecting the dots and getting smaller implementable projects pushed forward first.

          • Posted by Mark

            The $3B planned to underground the M from WP to Park Merced is a great example of a poorly-conceived plan. The added time spent weaving around Park Merced kills any time savings between WP and Stonestown, not to mention a St. Francis Circle underground station that few riders will use.

          • Posted by zig

            There is a heavy rail station near Parkside at Daly City. That link is more important for SFSU and Park Meced as well as maybe improved Muni Metro. Just change the fare structure.

            What is the high travel demand here to travel north? Hardly makes sense in a world of limited resources

          • Posted by Mark

            @zig

            Daly City is several miles from Parkside. Check a map. As I pointed out earlier, the 28 is always packed, so yes there is need for a N-S connection. 19th Ave is also packed with cars, many of which use 19th Ave to connect to Marin and San Mateo counties. MUNI as a the “last mile” to connect with BART at Daly City will be the 28 for the foreseeable future. The idea of extending the M to Daly City has been tossed around, but not formally adopted in any plan. That still wouldn’t solve the N-S problem as the M runs into the Market St. subway.

            Limited resources. Limited resources. No kidding. But, I’d rather spend billions on massive transit projects in the city than BART extensions in the burbs.

          • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

            I’d be all for a BART extension that runs from Daily City north under 19th to Geary, where it makes a right turn and runs under Geary and connects with the current BART system at Powell. And visa/versa.

            I’ll toss out some stops for the extension: 19th & Ocean, 19th & Judah, Geary & Park Presidio, Geary & Divis, & then connecting at Powell.

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      19th Ave, not Street. And I agree with Orland that a subway there would be pointless.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      People have been talking about a 19th street connector from Geary to Daly City for decades, and for decades before that talking about undergrounding a significant portion of the through traffic in a tunnel, to ease surface congestion (and to speed said through traffic).

    • Posted by Dudley

      A 19th Ave line that goes to Daly City BART makes for faster/easier transport to BART and Caltrain. That would ease some of the current traffic on 19th in the mornings and evenings for people who are commuting to the peninsula.

  4. Posted by charles

    Yes! The Geary line is a no brainer. Geary turns into a sea of 38 buses during morning and evening rush hour. Anyone know the 38/38R/38AX/38BX combined daily ridership?

    • Posted by donjuan

      The best thing about a Geary line is that it connects so many neighborhoods to downtown.

      If we just have a Geary Line and a Central Subway expansion to Lombard or Van Ness, the city would have amazing rapid transit coverage.

    • Posted by Frisco

      Geary rail would disable the speed of the 38R and 38X. All inbound 38s on a single shared track? That’s a major flaw in the system. Busses can pass slower busses and the system is better for it.

      • Posted by Jake

        No, a rail line under Geary out to Divis/Masonic would aggregate the passengers on buses that are headed to/from downtown. That would allow them to get to/from around Market St in ~10-15 min. And a rail line could easily carry that traffic, or twice that traffic. The section of Geary from Market to around Japantown has the worst congestion now and will have much worse in the forecasts, according to the detailed Geary BRT study.

        Now whether that is worth several billion $….; especially given the established resistance to more than slow growth in the Richmond; and that the budget for it does not exist; and we have much higher growth rates in other neighborhoods that have much much much worse traffic than the Richmond.

        BTW, for about one tenth the cost we could pull fiber to every home and business in the Richmond and pump them so full of cheap bandwidth that nearly all the growth would be from people that either work from home or walk to work. In the 21st century it is cheaper to move bits than bodies. It is cheaper to subsidize bandwith than tunnel boring machines, though I am a fan of both.

        • Posted by Mark

          You’re assuming everyone has the luxury of being able to work remotely. Also, you’re assuming that no one rides the 38 outside of peak hours.

          • Posted by Jake

            Nope, not assuming nothing about nobody. Just observing that in an area that is expecting very minor growth, if we can increase the work-from-home and work-near-home by a small amount, maybe 5-10% of workers, and still less than in many other SF neighborhoods today, then that could relieve nearly all the expected commute traffic growth.

            I’ve read the Geary BRT traffic report. I know how many people ride the 38 at different times of the day. The BRT is only justified for the commute. And the forecast is that all it will do is manage to keep the current timeliness into the future when there are more people living along the line. It ain’t gonna make it faster ten years from now than it is today. Only way to do that is subway and/or getting more of the potential commuters along that line to work from home or walk to work. Cheap bandwidth diverts vehicle traffic cheaper than any other form of infrastructure.

          • Posted by Mark

            You can’t always base transit usage on projected growth. Glen Park has a BART station and hasn’t changed much since BART opened. North Berkeley BART station serves a small number of people and the nearby San Pablo and University Ave. commercial districts haven’t exploded in growth.

            As several others pointed out, Geary definitely could use some development. I’m not talking 30 story buildings, but even 6 stories scattered around its 5-mile length would add much-needed space for residents and businesses.

          • Posted by Alai

            The North Berkeley Bart station is surrounded by a parking lot, then residential. If you happened to get off there without being familiar with the area, there’d be no obvious indications that there are any commercial areas nearby at all, or which direction you should go to find them.

            It’s practically designed to have the lowest possible ridership.

        • Posted by Frisco

          I’m talking about the problem inherent in a single track, which is the cause of every “Muni Meltdown” where a single stopped train stalls the whole line. I’ve lived in both the Richmond and the Sunset and I much prefer the 38 to the N.

          • Posted by Jake

            Well, the low cost solution to that is to maintain the system better. And this fantasy rail line that may never get built would not end bus service; or self-driving taco trucks either.

      • Posted by c_q

        The daily ridership on all the 38 geary variants is DOUBLE that of the entire VTA light rail system, even though it is 6 times longer than geary blvd:

        VTA 31k/day (based on 11.3m riders 2015)
        SFMTA 56k/day (but this is 10-year old data)

        If there is *any* bus corridor in the entire US that is in dire need of a rail upgrade, it has to be 38 geary. I don’t think BRT is going to have a sufficient impact on this line.

        • Posted by Mark

          BRT will do nothing to improve transit along Geary and I’m tired of listening to people say it will and that it’s going to be “rail ready.” We know the former isn’t true and the latter is just transit speak to calm those who want rail.

          • Posted by Alai

            At this point I feel like we may as well go with the BRT plan, even if it is mediocre, because any major changes will only add another decade onto the timeline. The only way I could be convinced that shelving it is a good idea is if there was serious movement on building a subway. Like “a billion dollars of funding authorized” sort of movement. Otherwise it’s just more hot air.

            Yeah, it shouldn’t be like this, but that’s the world we live in.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        underground!

  5. Posted by Some Guy

    Geary has been bright red for 20 years or more. (Thought-experimenting this survey backwards that far.) As plain as the nose on anyone’s face.

  6. Posted by Tim E

    Curios what the results would be of [the rest of the] bay area desires for San Fran. To me the lack of forward progress on tunnels in and out of the Transbay Center is the biggest loss at the moment. Whether it be moving forward with direct Caltrain extension or Mayor Lee’s wish to reroute and bury Caltrain to free up developable land at current 4th street station. As part of long term vision it makes sense to me to look at connecting transbay with tunnel to East Bay. Provide a connection Amtrak/rail corridor that runs from Richmond to Sacramento and thus allowing another bay crossing to be developed. That gives a third way for commuters from East Bay whether it be bridges, BART or Catrain

  7. Posted by SFRealist

    A Geary subway would be great. There’s the small matter of paying for it.

    If we had to choose it or another tunnel under the Bay for BART/HSR, which would we choose?

    • Posted by Gorkem

      Another tunnel under the Bay for BART/HSR. Adding transit oriented housing in Oakland + Rest of East Bay is going to be easier than adding density along Geary.

      • Posted by donjuan

        You probably triggered 1000 NIMBYs just by having ‘density along Geary’ in your comment

        • Posted by Alai

          @Gorkem: Is it though? I mean, Bart is already built. If it were easy to add transit oriented housing in Oakland and the East Bay, then around existing stations is the super-obvious place to do it. But it’s not happening to any significant degree. There have been a few high-visibility efforts, like around Pleasant Hill station, but what they look like is a tiny island of pretty high density, surrounded by low density, unwalkable areas.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        definitely not true

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      They are not in the same price range. Unless you want the Geary tunnel to go all the way to the Cliff House as the map shows. From Union Sq. to Japantown is the only stretch that needs to be underground. 3 new stations at Hyde, at Franklin and at Fillmore, then surface rail the rest of the way. I’m sure it’s a $5B 5-year project but a new Bay tube for HSR must be at least 3-4x that much.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        I’m just pointing out that this is the debate we need to have, and these are the kinds of questions our elected officials should be studying and answering.

    • Posted by Mark

      If you think building transit is expensive now, it’s not going to get any cheaper down the road (or under the road).

      A line under Geary should only run to 25th Ave (with possible extension westward, if needed), but branch off between Arguello and Park Presidio, run south with a station in or next to GGP, Judah/Irving and 19th Ave., Taraval/19th Ave., Stonestown and Daly City. Having a fast system take you downtown in 15-20 minutes from the western parts of the city would be incredible. It would also relieve congestion in the Market St. subway as many commuters would take the Geary/19th Ave line from the outer parts of SF instead of MUNI.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        > If you think building transit is expensive now, it’s not going to get any cheaper down the road (or under the road).

        This is what’s so frustrating to me – interest rates are so low right now that it’s criminal we’re not building infrastructure… we could repay the bonds 20 years from now at virtually the same amount as the initial construction.

  8. Posted by Bob

    Another option would be to place above ground BART similar to the Fruitvale / OAK Airport connection. This would probably save a great deal of time and $$.

    • Posted by SFrentier

      That’s weird. SF isn’t Bangkok.

      • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

        @SFrentier, why not? It seems to work fine in Chicago. Elevating mass transit should be evaluated, if nothing else for cost versus other methods and time to build.

      • Posted by Mark

        SF isn’t Vancouver either, a city whose development and transit policies are being adopted around the world. Oh wait. Vancouver has an elevated line.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Could always turn it into a weird long park if it doesn’t work too.

    • Posted by Joel Villasenor

      YES. I cosign this. To me, any option that doesn’t underground or elevate the line is pointless. See the T-third.

  9. Posted by Clark

    The Empire State Building was built in one year. Muni subway under Geary – like now, please. Not in five years. Not in 2050. It is literally being held up by a bagel shop.

  10. Posted by BuildHighAndDense

    Obvious survey is obvious. There have been studies on running subways in SF since before the 1930s, and some of the plans are quite good if you google around for them; planners already know where to build the lines. Don’t hold your breathe on a new subway in SF breaking ground in the next 10, 20, or 30 years. The political climate just isn’t here. We’ll get a bunch of BRT on Geary and Geneva for sure though.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Personally I’m not even sure we’ll get BRT on Geary. We’ll definitely get lots of talk about BRT on Geary

      • Posted by Mark

        At best…BRT Lite. Half the time savings of regular BRT but same, delicious price.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          We’ve been talking for at least 10 years. Maybe longer but that’s all I can remember.

          • Posted by dB

            Geary BRT? Closer to 20 years.
            How Van Ness BRT became a thing, then cut to the front of the line, when there are actual people living on the Geary corridor who advocate for Geary BRT, is mysterious to me.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            no one i know in the Richmond wants BRT. they all want a subway. no one is happy about the increased congestion BRT will cause

  11. Posted by anon2

    This is all great, but I just hope they use fast long proper subway trains like Bart (or even just actually make it Bart), and not those slow crowded trolleys like Muni uses now.

    • Posted by Mark

      What, you don’t like spending your commute stopping every 2 blocks and then waiting in a tunnel for a 45+ min commute to downtown? I know I don’t.

      Heck, even Wilshire in LA is getting a subway.

    • Posted by donjuan

      The Central Subway is exactly what you’re describing: a slow, short trolley car. They can’t even do the expansion to Fisherman’s Wharf or ridership would overflow their puny 2-car stations. Short sighted and ridiculous.

      • Posted by Mark

        Except they will be running 1-car trains on the T line. And expect the usual delays at the 4th/King bottleneck so when NextBus says 4 minutes it’s really going to be a lot longer than that.

  12. Posted by Alex

    This is great! But I think that SF shouldn’t just look at creating subways in the city. Gridlock is a Bay Area wide problem and to solve the issue we need to create a subway/commuter rail system that connects the entire Bay Area together. Instead of building a subway that goes up 19th ave from BART and stops at park presidio, why not create a train that keeps on going to Marin via the Golden Gate Bridge with a transfer station at geary so people can take the subway from Marin into the city and transfer to a downtown bound train? Or create a second transbay tube connecting existing bart lines and creating new ones?

    • Posted by zig

      This is totally random. No Marin because demand is low and cost extremely high

    • Posted by SFRealist

      How, precisely, would you put a train on the Golden Gate Bridge? Very difficult and expensive engineering, if it’s even possible.

      • Posted by suburbanoid

        The possibility of putting trains on the Golden Gate Bridge has already been thoroughly studied. The conclusion was that the bridge could only just barely support the weight which means there would be no room for the big storms that blow through which typically require engineers to build structures to three times or more than necessary. The only way to get trains on the Golden Gate Bridge would be to completely rebuild the structure to be at least three times more robust. Given that we may not be able to afford suicide safety nets and Marin is low density this seems unlikely.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Ah, I see. But that apparently won’t stop people from thinking it’s possible.

  13. Posted by fellersmtc

    If you could have the Geary subway extend to Stanyan or Park Presidio, turn south, then you could have it terminate at a massive underground park-n-ride under Golden Gate park. This would draw commuters from all over the Richmond/Sunset.

    • Posted by Jake

      And maybe if you charged them all $50/day to park it might just pay for itself. Where is all this free money? Y’all getting very generous to pour billions into neighborhoods with very little growth and beyond which is an ocean of no growth.

      Face it folks, there is no way in the great scraping of the empty subway funding pot that the western half of SF will take precedence over filling the CBD with more folks from the Jersey side of the Bay, which remains the #1 and #! congestion choke on the SF economy, no matter how many SF only unscientific surveys are taken or keyboards flash furiously. But thanks for playing along and remember to vote for the $3.5 Billion bond to keep BART from falling apart.

      • Posted by zig

        Rose Pak and Willie got the Bayview to Chinatown subway we don’t really need before Geary so you never know

        • Posted by Jake

          Sadly, the grand Chinatown subway’s last stop is Folsom St. All the rest of it is surface. And the Richmond is getting their BRT, which is nearly the same/lame as the dedicated ROW lightrail that runs off the end of the known world Bayview way. FWIW, all of these projects required Federal funding or they would not have happened.

          But yes predictin’ is difficult, especially about fantasy politics. Maybe by the Chelsea Clinton Administration the feds will be ready to fund the BART tube to the Farallons. Hope they include underwater parking for my self-diving bathysphere.

      • Posted by Mark

        Lots of criticism, but no solutions presented. I don’t understand why you cannot comprehend that the Geary corridor is one of the most heavily used transit corridors in the country, regardless of its growth potential. It needed rail decades ago.

        Do you support spending billions for BART expansion into the burbs, far from commercial centers, complete with massive park/ride lots that encourage more sprawl? I certainly don’t. Call me an IMBY because I’m sick of spending my time using a crap transit system that takes forever to travel a couple of miles.

        • Posted by zig

          Jake is just messing with you. He knows well Geary subway would have benefited many more residents than the Central Subway.

          Geary subway 50-70k trips day 1 without a single parking spot

        • Posted by Jake

          Geary had rail decades ago, Mark. The B Geary-Ocean Line began operation in 1912 and ended in 1956. The 38-Geary replaced it because … (namelink).

          FWIW, I support most of these projects. MUNI service levels in Richmond and Sunset suck in more ways than are polite to discuss. Not much better elsewhere. Show me the money, though. And the priority for the money, which by any reasonable standard would place a Geary subway way down on the Bay Area list. And yeah the Geary BRT is a joke both for effectiveness and the wait and bother for such meager effects. Only BRT worse for price performance is the Van Ness one.

          It would be better for SF to buck up raise a fat bond or tax increase and build a bunch-o-subways, but that’s not gonna happen. Meanwhile, the future is fiber and very high speed wireless with mere milliseconds of wait time. There’s your low cost high impact “solution” and it is coming at you, just a matter of how soon and whether you are going to pay $20/month civic service or $100/month catv/telco service.

          Transitwise, there are at least two sections to “the Geary corridor”: Market out to Western Addition (Webster or Divis) and beyond. The Geary BRT study shows very clearly that there is enough traffic now and forecast to support a subway for the first section and not for the second. That pattern repeats all over SF: subways warranted in the denser inner third nearest the CBD and surface mass transit further out. For the Central Subway that would justify it from ~North Beach to ~16th St or so. Cost benefit-wise ain’t no question ’bout it.

          As for “the Geary corridor is one of the most heavily used transit corridors in the country” that is just plain nuts. It’s a very busy busline not the bay corridor. Once you cross about Divis, it is just another busline to the end of the line. Ya know the traffic to get to the Bay Bridge backs up 10+ miles along multiple freeways in the east bay almost every day. Not to mention the 5+ mile backups on 101 inbound from SM county both AM and PM commutes. And SF is adding yuge office space downtown that wants to draw in more and more of these people. And the Richmond has hardly grown in what, decades Mark, decades.

          • Posted by busrider

            Jake, please explain why you think Van Ness BRT is so bad. Muni service on Van Ness today is slow and transit-only lanes and related improvements will speed this up (by about 30%, I believe). There’s also a considerable speed and reliability benefit for Golden Gate Transit, which will likely help grow transit ridership to and from the North Bay.

          • Posted by Defu

            busrider, removing half the excessively dense stops on van Ness is going to improve muni times almost as much as BRT. This is already in the works, I suspect somewhat to assure the BRT “success”. In a more rational world we’d do the stops reconfiguration and then reevaluate before starting the big public spending part and tieing up van Ness wth years of construction.

          • Posted by busrider

            Thanks for the explanation, Defu. What you write makes sense, but it still seems like it’s worth having dedicated transit-only lanes (as Van Ness seems to frequently suffer from congestion at many different hours throughout the day, including even late in the evening on Saturday nights).

          • Posted by Jake

            Van Ness BRT isn’t so bad, but it isn’t so good either. That north-south corridor (~Hyde to Gough) lost a lot of capacity 25+ years ago when the 1989 quake took out the elevated freeway. Since then we have added people and traffic but no capacity.

            If we are only going to upgrade it every 30 or 40 or 50+ years then we need to do more than improve one transport mode (bus) while impairing another (car/truck). We should be opening a subway station under the new hospital at Van Ness/Geary, with a 15 minute all-subway connection to the newish hospital at 3rd&16th in Mission Bay. Being a poor desperate nth-world city, we might have to raise the money the old fashion way: by charging additional parking fees for the tens of thousands of cars that flood our center city. Beats waiting for the GOP congressional urban transportation funding bus to arrive. Rumor has it they are waiting for their unparking app to load.

          • Posted by busrider

            Congestion pricing (and a gas tax increase and/or implementation of a VMT tax) would certainly greatly help to deliver the subways we all seem to support.

          • Posted by SFrentier

            Maybe these subways are impractical, but fiber won’t make a big difference…unless you can run people through it. People want mobility, not just telecommuting.

          • Posted by Jake

            The fiber network, and more importantly ubiquitous true broadband, only has to shift 5-10% of car trips to internetting to have a yuge impact on congestion. Already happened in some parts of SF. Already has had a bigger impact than bike lanes plus BRT plus HOV in SoMa.

            FWIW, fiber plus wireless is how we get mobility, digital mobility that is, as in the mobile revolution. Also fiber to the neighborhood or block or MDU with coax for the hop to the home/unit is how most people get their HDTV, Comcast, Netflix, Youtube, Socketsite, and all the other intertube cloggers. And then many use wireless within the home/cafe for the last hop.

            There’s no doubt that fiber doesn’t just make a big difference, it is the big physical communications difference maker that scaled the Internet and keeps scaling it. Anyone interested in these issues should google Paul Baran, who both foresaw and engineered a bit of these bits long ago.

  14. Posted by Stop Driving

    The caltrain to chinatown line is such a fiasco. Ed Lee’s pork for his Chinese handlers could not be more obvious. That they used Chinese boring machines for the tunnels is the icing on the cake. This is NOT your government, it’s just a cadre of thieves handing your tax dollars to each other.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Oh no, this was Willie Brown pork, long before Ed Lee.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        willie and rose were making out a long time ago

    • Posted by zig

      other than Ed Lee being Chinese any proof of the boring machine assertion?

    • Posted by donjuan

      That line goes from Mission Bay to Moscone, Union Square, and Chinatown. This would take about 20-25 minutes by car. I think it will be very valuable once they extend it to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Marina.

  15. Posted by SFRealist

    “once they extend it to the Marina”

    Oh, that’s funny. In what decade are you proposing this happens?

    • Posted by donjuan

      Its literally being studied by SFMTA today. Could be as early as 10 years.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Could be! I wouldn’t bet on it. We’ve been studying BRT for at least ten years.

  16. Posted by Conifer

    Do you see the line on Divisadero? There is as much chance of a subway north of California on Divisadero as there is a resurrection of Emperor Norton.

  17. Posted by skynxnex

    The N is above ground for a short, very slow 3 blocks near Duboce Park. Would be great to consolidate those 2 stops into a single stop and bury the line all the way through.

  18. Basel, Switzerland has a lovely tram system that runs all over the (center) of the city and the next tram is never more than a few minutes away. Somehow they have achieved a critical mass of relatively quick trams such that you can actually get where you’re going with no advance planning or extra walking. It’s a marvelous little system that we should replicate here.

    Subways are of course much better but we are not in London or New York or Paris — when will people realize that such grand public works are far out of reach of our parochial little nook?

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i cane name at least 30 more cities than those 3 that have very useable subway systems

  19. Posted by pablito

    Tying the existing ‘N’ line into a new 16th street line seems like it would be a relatively easy way to get a crosstown line….

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