Subway and rail service will reopen sometime in May.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s long-awaited Subway Renewal Program is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel (in fact, better lighting in the subway tunnels is one of the many improvements we can expect this spring). SFMTA announced that they are completing finishing touches in order to reopen subway lines in May, and one change that we’re extra excited about is WiFi and cell service being installed via routers in the stations and cellular towers in the tunnels. Passengers will also enjoy more reliable trains and smoother rides.
“The work we completed during the pandemic provides significant customer improvements, including a quicker ride, the convenience of Wi-Fi and fewer breakdowns in the tunnel,” SFMTA wrote on their blog. “This work represents an important downpayment on a larger set of deferred capital needs including replacement of the train control system, track replacement between Castro and Embarcadero and upgrades to the subway and station support systems, such as station electrical panels and fan systems. We’ve also been able to train additional crew members in tunnel operations and maintenance.”
Moving SF – New wayfinding signs and art projects are in place at Castro and West Portal stations, and Wi-Fi availability, thanks to routers being installed in stations and cellular antennas being installed in the tunnels. https://t.co/A1heJy4e1l
— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) April 5, 2021
SFMTA is currently completing safety testing and certification, which consists of “testing the track, signal system and overhead wires,” as well as the train control system.
Other improvements include track grinding, tunnel lighting, and signs. SFMTA is grinding the track down in order to create a smoother ride both for passengers and for the trains themselves. The 50-year old tunnel lighting is being replaced in the tunnels between Castro and Van Ness stations, as well as between Embarcadero and Montgomery stations. This should improve visibility for drivers, although passengers will likely not notice this change. New lighted directional signage will also appear in Castro and Church stations.
Finally, new public art has appeared on street level platforms at Castro and West Portal stations. SFMTA commissioned local artists Simón Malvaez and Emily Fromm to create stunning murals on temporary ramps at each platform.
Keep an eye out for these big changes coming soon to SF’s Muni Subway!
[Featured Image: Lowe Llaguno via Shutterstock]