L Taraval, a transit line of the Muni Metro system in San Francisco, California, US, is being upgraded to improve efficiency and safety.
Owned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the 8km-long corridor extends between the San Francisco Zoo and West Portal.
The upgrade project is being implemented in two segments, namely A and B. Construction of segment A began in September 2019 and was completed in July 2021 while Segment B is expected to begin in early 2022 and continue until the end of 2024.
The L Taraval improvement project is estimated to involve an investment of $90m. It is partly funded by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s Proposition K Sales Tax, a sales tax for transportation.
The corridor is considered one of the most dangerous for commuters and pedestrians in San Francisco. Taraval Street has witnessed many vehicle-pedestrian collisions in the last five years, involving injuries to 22 people when entering or exiting a train, according to SFMTA. The occurrence of collisions is attributed mainly to the lack of boarding islands at most of the stops.
The transit improvement project will enhance the safety and improve the reliability of service on the L Taraval route. It will allow commuters to board and deboard the trains safely.
Further, the improvements are expected to result in a 20% reduction in travel time along Taraval Street.
Details of L Taraval improvement project
The transit line improvement includes kerb ramp upgrades and the replacement of rail tracks and overhead lines.
Segment A was undertaken between San Francisco Zoo and Sunset Boulevard while segment B will be implemented from Sunset Boulevard to West Portal Station.
Improvements to the corridor between West Portal and San Francisco Zoo will involve the installation of new traffic signals to give priority to trains, and pedestrian bulb-outs to improve safety.
The project will also transform Taraval Street with new trees, landscaping, high-visibility crosswalks, and upgrades to pavements.
The project will also involve the replacement of the existing sewer and water lines and installation of permanent boarding islands along the route while improving the accessibility. The stops along the corridor will be consolidated to reduce the time taken for Muni Metro users.
Temporary clear zones were created at L Taraval transit stops at 30th, 32nd, 40th, 42nd, and 44th avenues. Safety zones with special paintings were added at the corners of the streets along the corridor. The clear zones were replaced by boarding islands.
The existing overhead poles will be replaced through the construction of new overhead contact system (OCS) pole foundations. The new poles will provide tension for the Muni Metro network’s OCS to support the operation of the L Taraval light rail vehicles. Additionally, the poles will provide lighting for both the streets and the route of the Taraval corridor.
Key players involved in L Taraval improvement project
SFMTA is delivering the project with co-operation from Muni Forward, Vision Zero SF, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, Transbay Joint Powers Authority, and San Francisco Public Works.
NTK Construction, a construction company based in San Francisco, was appointed as the contractor for the L Taraval improvement project.