New Muni yard opens after 30 years in the making

San Francisco transit officials celebrated the opening of a brand new state-of-the-art Muni motor coach yard and maintenance facility.

The facility has been a long time coming for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The San Francisco Municipal Railway, known as Muni, began acquiring the land in 1990, bordered by Cesar Chavez Street in the north, Indiana Street to the east and the Interstate 280 off ramp to the west.

Transit officials had put off the project for more than a decade due to funding constraints.

The SFMTA opens its Islais Creek Hybrid Motor Coach Facility that can maintain both 40-foot and 60-foot hybrid buses in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

The 8.3-acre Islais Creek Hybrid Motor Coach Facility is the first new bus facility to open since 1989 when the Flynn yard at 15th and Harrison streets opened for operation, according to the SFMTA.

On Friday, transit officials joined state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Phil Ting to open the new facility that will provide new space for the SFMTA to park its buses, and a new maintenance facility to keep the buses in service.

State Sen. Scott Wiener speaks at the opening of the SFMTA’s new bus facility at Islais Creek in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 5, 2018.

Wiener said a lot of talk within government is about subways and rail, and that buses sometimes get the “short-end” of the stick in conversations:

“This is the heart and the soul of Muni and it carries a huge number of people.”

He added:

“Across the country, it’s buses that are carrying particularly transit-dependent people around.”

The yard on Friday had dozens of new 60-foot articulated New Flyer buses lined up to serve busy lines like the 38-Geary and its rapid route, said SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley.

SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley gives a tour of the new bus maintenance facility at Islais Creek in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

The facility features eight service lanes for maintenance crews to work on 40-foot and 60-foot buses, and brand-new lifts so crews can work underneath the buses.

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The #SFMTA opened its new bus yard at Islais Creek in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

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At some of the other older bus yards, the SFMTA said crews work in pits that do not necessarily adjust to heights of workers. Some older facilities also have low ceilings, which requires workers to do rooftop maintenance outside.

Cheryl Brinkman, chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors, speaks at the opening of the transit agency’s new bus facility at Islais Creek in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

Chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors Cheryl Brinkman said:

“We acknowledge that we need a fabulous place for our employees to work. We need safe and good maintenance facilities for our buses and we want to be a good community member to the neighborhood.”

Maintenance workers are not only the ones who will benefit from the new facility.

Also, on the property is a community room that nonprofit organizations or other city agencies can reserve for use.

Visitors gather inside the community room inside the new SFMTA Islais Creek bus facility in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

Just outside of the community room is Shoreline Park with an art installation that pays tribute to the “Liberty” cargo ships built during World War II. Many of them were still in use after the war continuing to transport cargo to different ports, including in The City.

The cost of the project is $122.5 million.

The Federal Transit Administration contributed $50 million in the first phase of the project and $60 million in the second phase of the project, the SFMTA said.

FTA Region 9 Acting Regional Administrator Ed Carranza Jr. speaks during the opening of the SFMTA’s new bus facility in San Francisco, Calif., on June 15, 2018.

FTA Acting Regional 9 Manager Edward Carranza Jr. said that this was the type of state-of-repair project that the administration wants to help out to fund.

About $9.2 million came from The City’s Transportation Authority through the Proposition K local sales tax to help fund the new facility.

The SFMTA plans improvements to its other bus yards, including rebuilding the Potrero and Presidio yards through its Building Progress Program.

The transit agency expects the program to cost $1.4 billion.