When i was first announced the SFMTA was going to build an offshoot of the Muni Metro that would run from near AT&T Park to outer Fisherman’s Wharf. This sounded like a great idea because you could get off at the Van Ness and Northpoint and have a short walk to Pier 39, the Wharf, a little further down to the Cannery do a little shopping, maybe drop by Ghiradelli Square next door and have a sundae then head back home. Then they said because of costs they would have to stop it at Chinatown.
Of course Chinatown. If you drop it into google most of the responses you get will be in Chinese newspapers, blogs, etc. Rose Pak is usually mentioned as well. This leaves out North Beach and the Wharf. Two high money making areas for tourists. Most tourists to Chinatown don’t spend much time since they done speak Chinese. At least at North Beach and the Wharf they speak English and a few other languages which means more money they can take out of your pocket.
Now they have been talking about the extension into North Beach. This was before the Mayoral election where most of the people running for Mayor were against a Central Subway that stopped in Chinatown. It really would have only benefitted the Chinese in San Francisco and very few others. You might get a short walk to the strip clubs on Broadway, but now they’ve found a way to move it into North Beach to support the Italian community that once lived there [a few still do, but it’s mostly hipsters now.
I would still like to see the full run of the Central Subway all the way down to Van Ness & Northpoint because it would help people who live out there commute downtown as well as a greater influx of money to the city. I’ll take the stop at North Beach for now and then maybe they can extend it all the way down to the Wharf just like they did with the T. I find the Metro to be very quick and I can get downtown in about 15 minutes, so why not speed things up to get people down to the wharf? As it is right now, from where I live to get to the wharf I need to take two buses and a short ride on the Metro. That usually takes me over an hour to get there. We rarely drive as parking is steep and hard to find. If we could hop on a Metro and get there in about an half hour instead of the over an hour it takes now I’d be all for it. We should be serving the entire city, not a small part of the city.
Well I have to say it’s been a couple of months since I’ve had to take Muni and now I have something to compare it to and I have to say that I have to side with Greg Dewar of NJudah Chronicles on the sad state of Muni.
I have a job in Mill Valley, California. I have roughly 12 miles to travel to work by car and I can drive from the Sunset District to Mill Valley in about 20 minutes. When I went to the SF Weekly awards last Friday I drove up and parked at West Portal station to get the quick route downtown to Montgomery station. Total travel time…35 minutes, total distance, less than 5 miles.
I don’t understand how a metro service that is located underground and with no traffic interference would take longer than getting in a car to cross the Golden Gate Bridge where there is traffic and narrow lanes and tourists that don’t know the area so they drive at the speed limit or less sometimes. I have previously written about my hatred of crossing bridges in San Francisco because it was easy to get out of the city, but hard to get back. That mostly applies to the Bay Bridge. The Golden Gate is a pleasure to drive in comparison.
To take a cab downtown equals about the same time as it does for me to drive to Marin. It’ll cost you more, but if you’ve got to get somewhere quickly why is it a car does it better than a Mass Transit System? Isn’t the idea behind a Mass Transit System is that it does a better job of moving people from point A to point B more quickly and efficiently than a gas guzzling car?
You also have to remember that we’re talking about a subway system here and not buses. If you had to take a bus from point A to point B it would take you at least an hour.
Muni has been in the papers lately due to the fact that they’re paying their people a lot of money, but not delivering a good on time rate. Then there is the Central Subway debate that is supposed to run from King St. to Chinatown [which to be honest, I used to walk from Market St. when I worked at 500 Washington St in about 15 minutes.] It was originally supposed to run from King St.. to Fisherman’s Wharf and then cut back to North Beach which would make more sense as you would have gotten more tourist dollars into city coffers instead of running from Market St. to a ten square block small area of the city. I honestly can’t be in favor of any expansion of Muni lines at this point in time until they can get it right with what they already have.