SAN FRANCISCO—The final legal obstacle preventing construction of a Muni streetcar loop in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood has been defeated, according to the SF Gate.
After decades of waiting, the light rail line can now be constructed unimpeded by legal opposition from parts of the community. The Dogpatch extension was planned in 1998, but the project did not move forward until 2014 when the city of San Francisco received a $10 million federal grant to construct the loop. In the intervening years Dogpatch transformed from a working class neighborhood into a high-end residential area filled with restaurants and apartments.
Opposition to the loop came from the Committee for Re-Evaluation, which argued that the 1998 environmental assessment did not take into account such changes. The group called for a re-evaluation by redirecting the line six blocks further south, to an existing Muni yard.
On November 29, 2016, the California Courts of Appeal ruled in favor of an earlier decision that another environmental review was not needed. The opposition brought the case before California’s Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court decided not to review the lower Courts of Appeal verdict 3-0, and construction of the Dogpatch loop will now move forward unobstructed.
The San Francisco Muncipal Transport Authority indicates the loop will increase light rail service to accommodate ridership in an area with increasing population growth. The Golden State Warriors new arena will be constructed in the area and the service will help fans get to and from games.
The Dogpatch loop forms a part of Muni’s Central Subway plan, which aims to provide more commuting options to residents in areas underserved by public transport. It will connect the Caltrain commuter rail depot with Chinatown.
The case is Committee for Re-Evaluation of the T-Line Loop vs. SFMTA, S239825.