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.
- San Francisco Subway [Elliott Spelman]