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The T Third Street is a Muni Metro line in San Francisco, California. It is the first new light rail line in San Francisco in more than half a century, and the first fully accessible line in the system. It is also the first true light rail line in the mostly streetcar Muni Metro system, as it operates mostly in a street median, rather than in mixed traffic.

T Third Street
T Third Street logo.svg
Northbound train passing Mission Rock station, April 2018.JPG
T Third Street train at Mission Rock station in 2018
Overview
TypeLight rail
SystemMuni Metro
LocaleSan Francisco, California
TerminiWest Portal Station (inbound)
Embarcadero Station (outbound; continues as K Ingleside)
Sunnydale Station
Stations30
Daily ridership33,752 (2013; combined with K Ingleside)[1]
Operation
OpenedApril 7, 2007; 12 years ago (2007-04-07)
OwnerSan Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Operator(s)San Francisco Municipal Railway
CharacterPredominantly in street median right-of-way;
At grade & Underground
Rolling stockBreda LRV2 and LRV3
Siemens LRV4
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
ElectrificationOverhead lines, 600 V DC
Route diagram

K Ingleside L Taraval M Ocean View
Inbound: sign change from K Ingleside
West Portal
Forest Hill
Eureka Valley
closed
Castro
Church
J ChurchF Market & Wharves
N Judah
Van Ness
Civic Center
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Powell
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Montgomery
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Embarcadero
F Market & Wharves San Francisco Ferry Building Bay Area Rapid Transit
J Church L Taraval M Ocean View
Outbound: sign change to K Ingleside
E Embarcadero
The Embarcadero and Folsom
The Embarcadero and Brannan
2nd and King
2019
N Judah E Embarcadero
enlarge… 4th and King
Caltrain
4th Street Bridge
Mission Rock
UCSF/Chase Center
Mariposa
Mission Bay Loop
20th Street
23rd Street
 
Muni Metro
East Yard
 
Marin Street
Levon Hagop Nishkian Bridge
over Islais Creek
Evans
Hudson/Innes
Kirkwood/La Salle
Oakdale/Palou
Revere/Shafter
Williams
Armstrong wye
Carroll
Gilman/Paul
Le Conte
Arleta
Sunnydale
Bayshore
proposed

Testing on the line took place in summer 2006,[2] with limited service starting on January 13, 2007, and full service beginning on April 7, 2007.[3] It runs along the newly constructed light-rail tracks on Third Street and Bayshore Boulevard in the Visitacion Valley, Bayview/Hunters Point, Dogpatch, and Mission Bay neighborhoods, connecting to the existing Muni Metro system along the southern Embarcadero and below Market Street, and replaced the 15 Third bus line.

In the future, the line may be extended to Caltrain's Bayshore Station (to which it was originally planned to run) and, in the other direction, to San Francisco's Washington Square in North Beach via Chinatown Central Subway alignment.

Route DescriptionEdit

Current alignment — conjoined operation with K InglesideEdit

Following service changes on June 30, 2007, the T Third Street and the K Ingleside lines were spliced together in the Market Street Subway tunnel,[4] resulting in a route from Balboa Park, through downtown, to Bayshore and Sunnydale. At West Portal Station, inbound K trains heading through downtown to Third Street change their signs to the T line; at Embarcadero Station, T trains heading through downtown and outbound to the Ingleside neighborhood change signs to the K line. Each train displays its ultimate destination. This system will continue in place until the Central Subway is operational.

 
T Third Street train serving Church Street Station in 2013.

Leaving the Market Street Subway at Ferry Portal heading south, the T Third follows The Embarcadero south of Market Street, then veers onto King Street in front of Oracle Park until it reaches the Caltrain station terminal. This portion of the Muni Metro rail line between the Embarcadero portal and the Caltrain terminal was built in 1998 and is utilized by an extension of the N Judah, which shares track with the T to the Caltrain terminal at 4th and King. From there the T turns south on Fourth Street, crossing the bridge over Mission Creek before joining Third Street for the majority of the route's length. It passes through Mission Bay where the UCSF Mission Bay branch is located, then continues on south through the Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods. Once both economically impoverished parts of the City, they have slowly experienced rehabilitation and rebuilding mainly helped by the new T line.[citation needed] At the intersection of Third and Jamestown Avenue, the T continues to run in both directions as it crosses U.S. Highway 101 (James Lick Freeway), although only Third Street is open to auto traffic northbound; likewise, southbound auto traffic is splintered to a southbound on ramp to Highway 101 and merges with San Bruno Avenue. From there the T follows Bayshore Boulevard (changed over from Third) for two more stations until it reaches its terminus at Sunnydale Station. A section of track follows one more block until stopped short at the Daly City limits.

All stations along this line feature high platforms, eliminating the need for the raising and lowering of entrance and exit steps characteristic of other Muni Metro lines. Stations south of Fourth and King feature short platforms that accommodate only two-car trains.

The T Third also uses the Muni Metro terminology in which an inbound train goes from West Portal to Embarcadero. This also means that an outbound T Third train runs from Sunnydale and out to the western neighborhoods via downtown.[5] This is the reverse of other lines, as those lines have their outer termini on the southwest and west sides of the city, and those trains enter the subway from the west going inbound toward downtown.

The underground section of the line was closed west of Castro station from June 25 to August 24, 2018 due to the Twin Peaks Tunnel shutdown.[6] On August 25, 2018, at the conclusion of the shutdown, Muni began running permanently two-car trains on the K/T line (as had been used east of Castro during the shutdown).[7] The line was shut down from January 22, 2019 until April 1, 2019 for construction of a new platform at UCSF/Mission Bay station.[8][9]

Future routeEdit

T-Third has been built in phases. The first phase extended rail service south to Sunnydale Station. The second phase, currently under construction, is also known as the Central Subway project, and will reroute T-Third north of the 4th and King Station. The future alignment once the second phase is complete will neither share right-of-way with, nor share identities with the K Ingleside, avoiding both King Street and the congested Market Street subway. The southern segment from Sunnydale to 4th and King Street will remain as-is, operating on street-level tracks in the median of Third Street and Bayshore Boulevard. After 4th and King, the line will cross King Street instead of turning onto it, and proceed to a new 4th and Brannan Station, and the line will then burrow to subsurface level at Bryant Street Portal, near where 4th passes under Interstate 80.[10] Underground, the line will continue under Fourth Street, to Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, and then, after crossing Market Street, will turn slightly to continue under Stockton Street, continuing to Union Square/Market Station providing a transfer to Market Street Subway MUNI and BART lines before running underneath Stockton Street and terminating at Chinatown Station.[10]

To complement the Central Subway, Muni is also constructing the Mission Bay Loop (MBL), an additional loop along the T Third line that would enable more frequent short-line service to the section of the line from Mission Bay through the Central Subway.[11] MBL would connect the existing T Third tracks on 3rd Street to additional tracks along 18th Street, Illinois Street, and 19th Street to connect back to 3rd Street.[12]

 
Central Subway construction at the south portal in December 2017. Trains will be routed here upon completion.

A proposed third phase would build an extension beyond Chinatown, including new stations at Washington Square in North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf.[10] In preparation, the tunnels were bored past Chinatown Station, and the tunnel boring machines were extracted from the intersection of Powell and Columbus, near Washington Square.[13][14] The SFMTA published a concept study in January 2015 on the feasibility of several options for phase 3.[14] The report studied three main alignments: Columbus Ave, Powell St, or a loop line on Powell St, Beach St, and Columbus Ave. Both subway and surface options were studied for each alignment. The report found that the phase 3 project could improve transit trip time by at least 50% and would increase the ridership on the T Third by 55%. Project cost estimates ranged from $440 million to $1.4 billion depending on the design. In June 2018, the SFMTA kicked off Phase III by beginning to study alternative routes in detail in order to narrow down the options for a future environmental impact study.[15]

A conceptual fourth phase has been advanced by SFMTA and transit advocates to further extend the line west of Fisherman's Wharf to the Presidio.[16][14] However, since the Central Subway station platforms will be about 250 feet (76 m) long, enough to accommodate two-car trains, unlike the upper deck Market Street subway platforms which can accommodate four-car LRV trains, the projected ridership increase with a fourth phase Presidio extension would require the stations currently under construction to be rebuilt to three- or four-car trains.[14]

Former routeEdit

Initially upon opening, the T Third was operated from Castro Station to Bayshore and Sunnydale. In the aftermath of the Muni Meltdown of 2007, the T Third was suspended from operating as a distinct line, in favor of being through-routed with the K Ingleside.

Diagrams of the various T Third Street routings over its history
Initial alignment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Castro
 
 
 
 
Church
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Van Ness
 
 
 
 
Civic Center
 
 
 
 
Powell
 
 
 
 
Montgomery
 
 
 
 
Embarcadero
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Embarcadero and Folsom
 
 
 
 
The Embarcadero and Brannan
 
2nd and King
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  4th and King
 
 
 
4th Street Bridge
 
Mission Rock
 
UCSF/Chase Center
 
Mariposa
 
Mission Bay Loop
 
20th Street
 
23rd Street
 
 
 
 
Muni Metro
 
 
 
East Yard
 
 
Marin Street
 
 
 
Levon Hagop Nishkian Bridge
over Islais Creek
 
Evans
 
Hudson/Innes
 
Kirkwood/La Salle
 
Oakdale/Palou
 
Revere/Shafter
 
Williams
 
 
Armstrong wye
 
Carroll
 
Gilman/Paul
 
Le Conte
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Arleta
 
Sunnydale
2007–2020
 
 
Inbound: sign change from  
 
 
 
West Portal
 
 
Forest Hill
 
 
 
 
Castro
 
 
 
 
 
Church
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Van Ness
 
 
 
 
 
Civic Center
 
 
 
 
 
Powell
 
 
 
 
 
Montgomery
 
 
 
 
 
Embarcadero
 
 
 
Outbound: sign change to  
 
 
 
The Embarcadero and Folsom
 
 
 
 
The Embarcadero and Brannan
 
2nd & King
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  4th and King
 
 
 
4th Street Bridge
 
Mission Rock
 
UCSF/Chase Center
 
Mariposa
 
Mission Bay Loop
 
20th Street
 
23rd Street
 
 
 
 
Muni Metro
 
 
 
East Yard
 
 
Marin Street
 
 
 
Levon Hagop Nishkian Bridge
over Islais Creek
 
Evans
 
Hudson/Innes
 
Kirkwood/La Salle
 
Oakdale/Palou
 
Revere/Shafter
 
Williams
 
 
Armstrong wye
 
Carroll
 
Gilman/Paul
 
Le Conte
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Arleta
 
Sunnydale
2020–
 
Provision for future extension
to North Beach and the Presidio
 
Chinatown
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Union Square/​Market Street
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yerba Buena/​Moscone
 
 
 
 
  I-80
 
 
4th and Brannan
 
 
 
  original routing
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
  4th and King
 
 
 
4th Street Bridge
 
Mission Rock
 
UCSF/Chase Center
 
Mariposa
 
Mission Bay Loop
 
20th Street
 
23rd Street
 
 
 
 
Muni Metro
 
 
 
East Yard
 
 
Marin Street
 
 
 
Levon Hagop Nishkian Bridge
over Islais Creek
 
Evans
 
Hudson/Innes
 
Kirkwood/La Salle
 
Oakdale/Palou
 
Revere/Shafter
 
Williams
 
 
Armstrong wye
 
Carroll
 
Gilman/Paul
 
Le Conte
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Arleta
 
Sunnydale
Notes
 
Route for second phase (under construction as the Central Subway), planned route for third phase (extension to Fisherman's Wharf), and proposed routes for fourth phase (extension to the Presidio of San Francisco)

OperationEdit

The T Third operates seven days a week, beginning at 5 a.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays, operating until 1 a.m.[17] Headways on the route range from 1 to 30 minutes during the day, and from 12 to 90 minutes at night. Late night service is provided by the 91 Owl diesel bus line on Third Street, and by the N-Owl diesel bus line on King Street, The Embarcadero and most of Market Street. There is also a T-Owl diesel bus line that runs from Market Street and Van Ness Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale. This line only operates on weekend mornings, between the times owl service stops and the underground subway stations open.

In 2018, Muni began running two-car trains on T Third to increase capacity.[18]

Future service plansEdit

Work is underway on the Mission Bay Loop project, which will extend rails around the block bounded by 3rd, 18th, Illinois, and 19th. The loop was originally designed in 1998 with the original routing of T Third, but was deferred due to insufficient funding; construction started in July 2016 and is anticipated to complete by Spring 2019.[19] When the Central Subway and Mission Bay Loop projects are complete, Muni intends to split the T Third service into short-line and long-line services.[12][11] The short-line service would run from Chinatown station to the Mission Bay Loop with planned 4 minute headways while the long-line service would run the full route from Chinatown to Sunnydale station at 7.5 minute headways.[12] Another loop at 25th and Illinois is being planned to increase short-line service frequency between Downtown and Dogpatch.[18]

Station and stop listingEdit

outbound to inbound

Station Neighborhood Other Muni
Metro lines
Notes
  West Portal West Portal         Sign change from K Ingleside inbound
  Forest Hill Forest Hill and Laguna Honda        
  Castro Castro        
  Church Duboce Triangle  *         *Connects with J Church on surface stop at 14th Street
Connects with F Market & Wharves streetcar
  Van Ness Civic Center and Tenderloin             Connects to F Market & Wharves
  Civic Center Civic Center             Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART
  Powell Financial District             Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART
  Montgomery Financial District             Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART
  Embarcadero Financial District             Changes to K Ingleside outbound
Connects to F Market & Wharves and BART
Serves Ferry Building
  Folsom Financial District     Connects to E Embarcadero
  Brannan South Beach     Connects to E Embarcadero
  2nd and King Mission Bay     Connects to E Embarcadero
Serves Oracle Park
  4th and King Mission Bay  *   Serves CalTrain; *Transfer made to E Embarcadero and N Judah via separate platform nearby
  Mission Rock Mission Bay
  UCSF/Chase Center Mission Bay Serves the UCSF Mission Bay Campus and Chase Center
  UCSF Medical Center Mission Bay
  20th Street Dogpatch
  23rd Street Dogpatch
  Marin Street Bayview
  Evans Bayview
  Hudson/Innes Bayview
  Kirkwood/La Salle Bayview
  Oakdale/Palou Bayview
  Revere/Shafter Bayview
  Williams Bayview
  Carroll Bayview
  Gilman/Paul Bayview
  Le Conte Bayview
  Arleta Visitacion Valley
  Sunnydale Visitacion Valley Inbound terminus

FutureEdit

Station Neighborhood Other Muni
Metro lines
Notes
  Chinatown Chinatown Future terminus
  Union Square/​Market Street Financial District Underground pedestrian pathway to Powell Street station
  Yerba Buena/​Moscone SoMa
  4th and Brannan SoMa

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "TEP Route Data & Proposed Changes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  2. ^ Gordon, Rachel (July 26, 2006). "Third Street seeing streetcars / Test runs for light-rail project begin at last". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  3. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (January 12, 2007). "T-Third Muni line starts service Saturday". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  4. ^ Gordon, Rachel (June 4, 2007). "T-Third line causing delays, so officials consider new routes". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  5. ^ "KT-Ingleside/Third Street". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  6. ^ "Twin Peaks Tunnel Improvements". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. June 25, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018.
  7. ^ von Krogh, Bonnie Jean (August 24, 2018). "Two-Car Trains Now Permanent on K/T Line" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  8. ^ "T Third Bus Substitution". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Archived from the original on January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ McMillan, Erin (March 29, 2019). "T Third Back In Action" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  10. ^ a b c Vega, Cecilia M. (20 February 2008). "S.F. Chinatown subway plan gets agency's nod". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  11. ^ a b Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (2018-07-23). "Cost for long delayed Muni 'loop' to boost Warriors train service jumps $1.4 million". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  12. ^ a b c SFMTA (2013-05-06). Environmental Assessment for Mission Bay Transit Loop Project (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  13. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (26 November 2014). "Extending S.F.'s Central Subway would draw riders, study says". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d T-Third – Phase 3 Concept Study (PDF) (Report). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Sustainable Streets Division. October 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  15. ^ Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (2018-06-13). "Planning begins for Central Subway extension to Fisherman's Wharf". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  16. ^ Bialick, Aaron (5 December 2014). "Extending the Central Subway: Why Stop at Fisherman's Wharf?". Streetsblog SF. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Schedule & Route Maps - KT - (Muni (SFMTA)) Ingleside/Third Street - Metro: Inbound toward Sunnydale via Downtown. Outbound toward Balboa Park Station eff. Sept. 4 via Downtown and West Portal. No bikes". Transit.511.org. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  18. ^ a b Swan, Rachel (October 19, 2018). "The T line has never lived up to its promise. Coming upgrades may not be enough to help". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Mission Bay Loop". San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. Retrieved 24 October 2018.

External linksEdit