July 2014

Dogpatch Residents Call for Extension of T-Line Loop

Keith Burbank

Dogpatch residents are calling on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to move the planned T-line turnaround from Third and 18th streets to 23rd Street. The turnaround advocates’ request will be heard at the Board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee hearing on July 7. But there seems to be little hope of changing existing plans. 

“This project has received all necessary environmental clearances and a favorable construction bid last week,” said Paul Rose, spokesperson, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “We will continue to responsibly move forward on this project.” 

Residents argue that a loop at Third and 23rd streets would better serve Dogpatch, and particularly Pier 70. As the community grows advocates insist that a more southern loop will draw more visitors to the 22nd Street business district. And people who use the 22nd Street Caltrain stop would find it easier to board Muni.

“We support working with the community to extend the T-line turnaround loop so that it serves the Dogpatch,” said Alexa Arena, senior vice president, Forest City, one of the developers of Pier 70. Forest City could build as many as 2,000 residential units at the pier, as well as significant amounts of office space. “It’s important that we work together to support transportation upgrades that serve the entire neighborhood with additional public transit, expansion of the City’s car- and bike-share programs, and other innovative transportation management programs,” she said. 

“So we’re saying look at alternatives,” said Illinois Street resident Bill Schwartz. Schwartz hopes others will join him at City Hall, but admitted that SFMTA is “very resistant” to changing its plans. District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen is a committee member, and placed the issue on the July meeting agenda. 

It’ll cost roughly $6.2 million to build the loop at Third and 18th streets, with $4.9 million coming from a federal grant. “Regarding the question about losing funding: there is a strict schedule associated with project delivery” Rose said, “and no other location has been evaluated or so close to construction as the current site, so the responsible thing is to continue on the current course to keep funding in place.”

Current plans call for the train to veer onto 18th street from Third Street, travel south on Illinois Street, turn west on 19th street and then turn north on Third Street. Schwartz argues that 18th and 19th streets are poor choices for the loop because they’re narrow. In addition, a loop at 23rd street would impact fewer residents; 18th street has numerous nearby residential buildings. 

And Schwartz argues that a loop further south would prevent additional congestion along Third Street after baseball games. He said many fans use 18th Street to get to Interstates 80 and 280. When the Warrior stadium is built in Mission Bay, bottlenecks may worsen, a condition that could be exacerbated by traffic to and from the new University of California, San Francisco hospital, which is scheduled to open next year. 

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