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Here’s why a renovated Muni stop is receiving so much attention

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Spoiler: Warriors traffic will be terrible

Exterior construction of the white, circular Chase Center with construction workers in hardhats walking about.
Chase Center construction in progress.
Photo by Patricia Chang

Rare is the Muni stop that makes headlines. But Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for a refurbished Muni platform in Mission Bay, located on Third and South streets, received a surprising amount of ink. Here’s why.

First, the T-Third line stop is located outside of Chase Center, future home to both the Golden State Warriors and increasing traffic congestion. The arena is slated to open later this year, replete with megastar concerts and basketball games galore. The new stop will, ideally, get more people to use SF’s transit system.

Second, the powers that be—including Mayor London Breed, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and Warriors officials—want the public to believe that vehicular traffic in the southeastern neighborhood won’t be as bad as predicted.

But it will. So garish will traffic become that UCSF, whose Mission Bay campus is located across the street from the Chase Center, recently launched its own website and email alert system to warn people about congestion in the neighborhood.

In 2016, UCSF donors unsuccessfully sued the Warriors in an attempt to halt construction of the new sports complex, noting that traffic could impede access to UCSF medical facilities and its children’s hospital.

The Chase Center, once completed, will have approximately 950 parking spots. The neighborhood itself has significantly more at roughly 2,000. And traffic across the entire city is up due to the advent of ride-hailing darlings Lyft and Uber.

The revamped Muni stop was expanded a couple of hundred feet to accommodate “enough space for four two-car trains to load during events,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This means that the platform will be able to load and unload 700 riders at a time. When a show or game ends, the platform will allow trains to depart inbound from both sides of the platform, to whisk riders to BART, Caltrain, and (fingers crossed) the Central Subway. This more than doubles the passenger capacity at the stop.

“This new platform will make it easier for people to get to and from the Chase Center, UCSF, and other businesses in Mission Bay without having to rely on cars,” said Mayor Breed in a written statement. “By encouraging people to take public transportation, we can reduce congestion on our streets, make our city more environmentally friendly, and get people where they need to go safely and efficiently.”

The platform redo cost more than $33 million. Mayor Breed and Chase Center officials hope the newly expanded platform will get fans using public transit in lieu of personal vehicles.

It should be noted that, save for one SFMTA director, politicos and superintendents attending yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony did not use the titular transit service to get to the platform.

SF Examiner reports: “Mayor London Breed also did not take Muni to the press conference, her spokesperson confirmed, but she did briefly board a Muni T-Third train and say hello to an operator in a photo-op for news cameras. At the press conference, she urged the public to take a T-Third train downtown.”

The buffed-up Muni platform joins another traffic-relieving effort, a new ferry terminal, located within one block of the T-Third line at Pier 48½, which will open later this year.

Correction: An earlier version of this story noted four-car trains, which won’t be the case. The platform will be able to hold four two-car trains during events.