T-Third Extension Study

Project Overview

Picture of T-Third light rail vehicle on Third Street at 20th.

The T-Third Extension Study is an opportunity for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to assess the feasibility of continuing T-Third Rail Phase 2 (Central Subway) to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Project Details

The T-Third Extension Study is the next phase after the preliminary concept study which initially assessed what an extension of the T-Third Rail line to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf could look like. The primary goal of this study phase is to gather input and recommendations from the community and respective stakeholders on the route, grade and station locations, and prepare the project for environmental review. 

Project study area, that shows Nob Hill, Russian Hill, North Beach and Fisherman's wharf neighborhoods

The project team will be conducting a variety of activities to engage and gather feedback; from stakeholder interviews to workshops and other interactive activities. The input received will be combined with the technical engineering and analysis work to shape preliminary alternatives. Another round of public engagement will be conducted to share preliminary alternatives which will be further refined to develop more technically sound alternatives

Background of the Concept Study

The T-Third Phase 3 Concept Study was a joint effort between the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), and the San Francisco Planning Department (The Planning Department), with SFMTA as the lead agency. 

The goal of the concept study was to show preliminary technical strengths and weaknesses of sample alignments, for consideration by stakeholders, governing bodies, and the public during any future planning efforts. The scope called for a report that included the following elements and sections:

  • Alignment (route)
  • Grade options (surface versus underground)
  • Number and location of stations
  • Construction methods
  • Transit and traffic analysis
  • Costs and funding
  • Land use and Economic Development

History on Central Subway and T-Third Rail Line

In early 2019, the T-Third-Phase 2 (Central Subway) project will be complete and new Light Rail Service between the Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets and Chinatown will begin.  The new service will be connected to service on the T-Third Phase 1 segment which operates between Caltrain and the Sunnydale station in the southeastern part of San Francisco.  The existing T-Line service along the Embarcadero and into the Muni Metro Market Street Subway is not considered part of the line, because it duplicates service provided by other Muni LRT lines, and the T-Line designation will be dropped from this segment when the Central Subway to Chinatown opens.  The opening of the T-Third-Phase 2 service will mark the completion of the initial T-Third light rail project that was first conceptualized in the 1980s, and which has been in construction for over fifteen years.  

Although the station at Chinatown represents the northern end of the initial project, the LRT line is designed so that it can be extended to serve the northern and northeastern neighborhoods with a connection to the San Francisco LRT system.  Between the Chinatown station and the Pagoda Palace site , the T-Third Phase 2 project completed two bored tunnels without tracks and systems (power, signals and communication) to allow for removal of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) without disruption to Columbus Avenue or Washington Square Park.  Two transportation corridors, Columbus Avenue and Powell Street, exist north and northwest from North Beach to the Fisherman’s Wharf area, would benefit from future extensions.

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