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Updated: 2017-09-21T13:55:05-07:00


Wouldn’t it be glorious if this fantasy San Francisco BART map were real?



If only!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2015. We are republishing it in honor of Curbed’s first-ever Transportation Week.

The phantom of the westerly BART line that never was is something that torments us on a daily basis, every time the 1 bus screeches up and down hills in stomach-churning five-foot increments.

But when Marin backed out of BART's regional plans, that Geary line never happened, no doubt contributing to the city's informal north-south divide along Market Street but maybe also keeping the far-flung reaches of the Richmond and Sunset more affordable?

In any case, we'd (dare we say) pay a bit more in rent in exchange for the wholly fictional transit system envisioned by armchair cartographer and self-described density fan Elliott Spelman.

Spelman, an ad agency copywriter, lives in Glen Park, between BART and the J-Church line.

"To me, the difference between underground and above-ground trains is pretty staggering," Spelman explains over email. "The J-Church takes 3-5 times longer to travel similar distances to BART, and that difference compounds as you add connections. Underground is just faster, more predictable, and more efficient."


To make the map, Spelman started by pinpointing the best station locations.

"What neighborhoods are dense enough to support an underground station?" he writes. "I strung those together in order to preserve general commute patterns, and also to support efficient transfers. Ideally, no trip should require more than one transfer."

Spelman's fictive map imagines direct (!) trips between the Bayview and the Presidio, and a loop in the northeastern part of the city that passes from the Design District to the Castro to the Marina to Transbay, which would serve the Marina girls and boys while making trips to Fisherman's Wharf much less off-putting.

None of this is exactly plausible to build, of course, but at least Spelman's given us something bright and colorful to focus on while trying to exert influence over our stomach on Muni.


Folsom Street Fair: Muni reroutes and street closures



Here’s what to expect in SoMa this Sunday

As summer draws to a close, the city’s annual Folsom Street Fair shindig (often referred to as San Francisco’s true LGBT Pride celebration) happens in South of Market. An estimated 400,000 revelers are expected to flock to Folsom.

On Sunday the fair will go down from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The following street closures will be required from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday:

  • Folsom Street between 7th and 12th streets
  • 8th Street between Howard and Harrison streets
  • 9th Street between Howard and Harrison streets
  • 10th Street between Howard and Harrison streets
  • 11th Street between Howard and Harrison streets
  • All alleys and intersections bounded by 7th, Howard, 12th and Harrison streets

Traffic around the event area will be a nightmare of congestion. Motorists are encouraged to stay away from the event and SoMa area where street closures are enforced.

For northbound traffic, please use Harrison Street, travel to 13th Street and to Duboce Avenue. For southbound traffic, please use Octavia Boulevard and to U.S. 101 South Freeway.

The following Muni routes will be affected:

  • 12 Folsom-Pacific
  • 19 Polk
  • 47 Van Ness

For pick up and drop off only, there will be limited number of temporary taxi stands for the event on both north west and south west side of Eighth and Folsom streets.

And finally, If you’re looking for whip-cracking fetes, SFist and 48 Hills have excellent party guides.

Julia Morgan-designed Belvedere mansion sells again after just six months


1928 property, once home to Tom Perkins, pulls mystery sale for small loss The Julia Morgan-designed estate in Belvedere once owned by late Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkin, sold back in March for a remarkable $14.46 million. That was a decline from its September 2016 asking price of $16.5 million, but still a sum that would have made Perkins himself proud. The spring sale by Isobel Wiener and Danielle Chavanon made headlines at the time. Which is why it caused some confusion when realtor Neal Ward announced Wednesday that he had, in fact, just sold the Morgan manse at 345 Golden Gate Avenue, claiming a price of $14.25 million. “Honored and excited to have represented potentially one of the most architecturally significant homes ever in my career,” Ward said while showing off an exterior photo of his apparent sale on Instagram. Honored and excited to have represented potentially one of the most architecturally significant homes ever in my career. Formerly owned by the legendary Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins who occupied it as his primary residence since 1972. Located on Belvedere Island, the 8800 sq/ft main residence sits on almost an acre of land with grounds and pool. All with views out to the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Sold for $14,250,000. #agentsofcompass A post shared by Neal Ward (@nealwardproperties) on Sep 20, 2017 at 3:54pm PDT “Facebook is considering this a ‘test’ or ‘pilot’ of San Francisco office space, our source said, so don’t expect it to suddenly relocate its massive Menlo Park headquarters from Silicon Valley up to the city,” noted TechCrunch earlier this year. The company has offices in 68 cities around the world. Facebook employees will queue up for overpriced poke and pour overs with Salesforce employees inside the adjacent Salesforce Tower, expected to open early 2018. One Year Later, Facebook HQ is Still Ready for Its Close-Up [Curbed SF] San Francisco penthouse asks record $42 million [Curbed SF] First Look at Orlando Diaz-Azcuy-Designed 181 Fremont Residences [Curbed SF] Facebook arrives in San Francisco with city's largest office lease in three years [Business Times] Facebook will lease its first San Francisco office, for Instagram [TechCrunch] [...]

The Central Subway: San Francisco’s new line to Chinatown


Everything you need to know Known as the city's most densely populated neighborhood and a destination for many packed bus lines, Chinatown has nonetheless been bypassed by San Francisco's ambitious rail projects throughout the area's 169-year history. That will finally change with the completion of the long-planned and transformational but often contentious Central Subway. ISFMTA’s first subway extension in decades, the project will begin at Fourth and King and terminate at the new Chinatown Station currently in progress. When finished, the route will forge a literal connection between two traditionally underserved communities: The southeastern neighborhoods that the city sees as the future of San Francisco, and Chinatown, one of San Francisco’s deepest wells of history and culture. Here’s everything to know to be in the know about that long and winding road—or, in this case, tunnel: In 1998 the city calculated a 1.75-mile route from King Street all the way to Jackson, but the commonly cited estimate today pegs the length at 1.7 miles. There will be one new street-level station at Fourth and Brannan (servicing Caltrain and rerouting the T-Third Street from its present Fourth and King stop) and three new underground stations: Yerba Buena/Moscone Station at Fourth and Folsom, Union Square Station at Stockton and Market, and Chinatown Station at Stockton and Washington. Tunnel-boring machines dug beyond Chinatown and into North Beach. Despite speculation that this is literal groundwork for future extensions, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that it was just the nearest spot with enough room to extract the machinery. Removing part of Big Alma. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wanted to name Chinatown Station after late Chinatown lobbyist Rose Pak, in recognition of her support for the project and neighborhood, but SFMTA maintains that stations should be named for their locations. The Central Subway is in phase two of a two-stage plan to expand light rail service into neighborhoods previously never undermined. Phase one was the T-Third Street line that opened in 2007, which will soon connect with the Central Subway to form a single route. Upon completion, the light rail will extend from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown, but at various points over the years plans looked as far south as Caltrain’s Bayshore Station and as far north as Fisherman’s Wharf. The subway line broke ground in February 2010, but the planning phase stretches back to the 1990s. Tunnel boring took place between June 2013 and July 2014. The boring machines weigh roughly 750 tons each and are more than 100 yards from one end to the other. The pair of titanic tunnelers bore the nicknames “Big Alma,” after San Francisco philanthropist Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, and “Mama Chung,” after Chinatown’s Margaret Chung, the first Chinese-American physician. The Central Subway tunnels pass beneath BART and existing Muni tunnels at Market Street, with as little as 7 feet between higher and lower passages at some points. The city demolished the classic but decrepit Pagoda Palace Theater in 2013 to make an extraction point for the tunnelers. Beneath that circa 1909 building, crews discovered the foundations of the church built on that spot in 1888, another victim of the 1906 earthquake. Originally scheduled for completion the day after Christmas 2018, the Central Subway now lags almost a year behind thanks to scheduling conflicts with contractors, reports the San Francisco Examiner. The new projected finish: December 10, 2019. On the bright side, delays have not yet put the Central Subway over its $1.57 billion dollar-plus budget. Tutor Perini, the contractor at work on the delayed station builds, netted the $838 million work order in 2013, the largest contract SFMTA has ever handed out for construction. The budget breakdown: $44 million-plus for planni[...]