Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: New Geary Subway Pitch Shorts the Outer Richmond

Last year we wrote about how the new Central Subway to Chinatown could, once upon a time, have connected to the Richmond instead, and why those designs never manifested.

Since then, a few facts on (or under) the ground have changed: One, the existing Central Subway has very likely been delayed yet again, and two, SF planners have introduced the very, very, VERY earliest proposals for a new Geary subway–with a catch.

Housing and transit are inexorably intertwined–refer back to our column about the very first road into the Richmond and how it helped turn empty lots into a bustling neighborhood.

The Richmond’s remoteness from modern SF rail service has a big effect on who lives here, what kind of housing the neighborhood produces, and the general atmosphere.

In 2016, when SFMTA invited riders to design their own hypothetical new Muni rail lines, a Geary route was far and away the crowd favorite.

(The Central Subway, under construction in 2018. Photos by SFMTA photographer Robert Pierce.)

Which brings us to today’s hearing of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (not to be confused with the similarly named SFMTA), which fielded an action item breaking off some of the city’s transit budget to begin exploring new subway plans along Geary.

While these are EXTREMELY early stages and the suggested route is quite hazy on a number of points, it’s worth noting that the general outline right now runs west from Civic Center and services the Inner Richmond–but stops short of the Outer neighborhood. Instead, the trains would turn south on 19th Avenue and plunge down toward SFSU.

This is actually not that surprising: Stretching the proposed line over more of the city is efficient, and planners have had an eye toward running the M Oceanview underground at least part of the way for years to improve its efficiency.

Question is, how do Richmond residents feel about it? Does the 19th Avenue corridor feel like a slight for Outer Richmond commuters, or would you prefer keeping the westernmost blocks are they are? Do 38 riders imagine this would take enough pressure off of that route, or would nothing short of a full Geary rail line suffice?

These are not hypothetical questions: We’re years or even decades away from any point when such a project could conceivably became feasible, and neighborhood feedback had an outsized effect last time City Hall considered a new Richmond connection.

If you’ve got opinions, this is a good time to start making them known–before the ground floor is even laid.

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2 replies »

  1. I would love the city to build this subway, but I just can’t see the bureaucrats having the foresight and good sense to make it happen.


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