INGLESIDE, San Francisco — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced on June 18 that K Ingleside light rail service will return in August in a new configuration.
The K-Line will be connected to the L Taraval instead of the T Third, and will no longer go in the Twin Peaks Tunnel.
The change is part of the COVID-19 Core Service Network, the transit agency’s name for the modified service it offers as the world contends with the novel coronavirus. Interlining the K Ingleside and L Taraval is one of a series of changes meant to improve both street-level and subway service.
“The shorter running times means the J Church, K Ingleside, and L Taraval lines will be more frequent along their new surface-only routes,” the SFMTA stated in a blog post. “Combined with a more reliable frequent shuttle service, trips downtown will be more dependable and quicker.”
The K/L will run from the San Francisco Zoo to Balboa Park Station. Passengers going downtown will have to transfer to a Shuttle or M Ocean View/T Third train at West Portal.
“A high-frequency shuttle in the subway would replace the Metro lines that we take out of the subway,” according to the SFMTA. “Devoting the tunnels to the higher capacity routes would use the space in our subway much more efficiently. These changes will support more essential trips, physical distancing, and our city’s economic recovery.”
The subway can accommodate three-car trains, SFMTA Director of Transit Jeffrey Tumlin hinted in a Tweet.
The light rail congestion often caused by private vehicles and Muni buses at West Portal Station was identified as a major problem for the K Ingleside and M Ocean View in the SFMTA’s Equity Strategy. The new configuration may significantly reduce backup at the cost of some convenience for commuters.
“I’m excited to see whether service will improve significantly with this bold new rail plan,” SFMTA Citizens’ Advisory Council District 7 representative Neil Ballard said. “The coupling of the K and L will make it imperative to the capacity of both lines that the Ocean Avenue boarding islands be lengthened to accommodate two-car trains as soon as possible.”
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