K Ingleside Light Rail Improvement Project Takes Shape

San Francisco's transit department released ideas to improve the K-Line between Balboa Park Station and Junipero Serra Boulevard.

A rider waits for the K Ingleside streetcar at the Lee Avenue boarding island. | Courtesy SFMTA

Public outreach is underway for the K Ingleside Rapid Project that seeks to improve the light rail line’s reliability and increase its capacity.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has already received feedback from the public through pop-up events at transit stops as well as at community events. Sometime this summer, the SFMTA plans to share the full project proposal to the community with several more opportunities to provide feedback in-person and online as well as surveys in multiple languages, SFMTA spokesperson Stephen Chun said.

The project was put on hold in 2021, despite funding being in place, to allow the transportation agency to focus on restoring lines shut down during the pandemic.

The K Ingleside is identified as a priority for improvement by the Muni Service Equity Strategy from 2018, which focuses on improving service for neighborhoods with high percentages of households with low incomes, people of color, seniors and people with disabilities.

The SFMTA has shared possible ideas to improve the K-Line between Balboa Park Station and Junipero Serra Boulevard—but not without some tradeoffs.

One idea is to extend transit boarding islands and four stops on Ocean Avenue in order to accommodate two-car trains. Currently, operators lock the second-car train after arriving at West Portal station to prevent riders from entering.

A map depicting possible street changes to improve K-Line service. | Courtesy SFMTA

The idea would require the removal of parking spaces at boarding islands that require an extension, but opening the second-car train would allow the agency to increase capacity on the K, which currently carries approximately 13,000 riders a day and growing, the SFMTA said.

Another possible idea is to install transit-only lanes in an effort to improve travel time and reliability. The agency said general traffic would still be able to enter the lanes to make left turns, but may increase mixed travel time.

Other ideas include installing transit signal priority at intersections that would hold the greenlight for the K and removing closely spaced transit stops. The SFMTA is also looking to improve pedestrian safety by installing pedestrian bulb outs.

A project timeline shows that after the agency refines the project proposal based on community feedback, staff plan to share the final project proposal and submit it to the SFMTA Board of Directors this fall for consideration.

The timeline also showed that the agency could begin installing quick-build improvements for the project in 2024 following if the board approves the project.

While a quick-build scope for the project has not been identified yet, Chun said typical quick-build tools can include painted transit boarding areas, traffic signal timing as well as making parking and loading adjustments.

The project was recommended to be prioritized in the Ocean Avenue Mobility Action Plan, a project of Supervisor Myrna Melgar and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority that was recently completed.

The project is funded through a grant from the state’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.

The public can sign up for updates on the project’s web page and contact Public Information Officer Brian Haagsman at Brian.Haagsman@SFMTA.com to share feedback.

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