By Madeline Collins
Construction will begin this month on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Phelan Loop project which will replace the existing Muni bus loop on Phelan Avenue near City College.
The new loop will utilize part of the existing loop as well as expand to public land north of Fire Station 15, making a clockwise bus loop allowing the buses to exit southbound on Phelan Avenue.
The MTA received $6.8 million from the Federal Transit Agency in 2010 from the Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Livability Bus Program for the project.
“When we received full funding, we began the detailed design stage,” Project Manager Ha Nguyen said. “We have just been awarded the contract and are now entering the construction stage.”
Along with the new bus loop, there will be a new overhead trolley system, new boarding islands, new sidewalks with boarding shelters and landscaping among other additions.
“Moving the bus loop allows for other projects that will significantly improve the community and access to the campus,” Nguyen said.
Executive director of the Ocean Avenue Association Dan Weaver said this project will also provide an open space plaza where events can be held for the college and the neighborhood.
“It will be a place where the community and the college can meet,” Weaver said.
Nguyen stated that the actual loop itself will be completed in about three months and additional work including a new operator restroom and improvements to the firehouse will be completed by November of this year.
“A key benefit is that reconfiguring the Phelan Loop to go behind the firehouse to its north creates the space to build an affordable housing development and public plaza,” Nguyen said. “Also we get a nice new facility more compatible with the neighborhood.”
The bus stops for Muni 49 and 8X will be closer to City College, a convenience for students.
During construction streets will remain open but some may be narrowed and there will be some detours for pedestrians around specific construction areas to ensure their safety.
“We’ll make sure that customers are aware of the improvements that we’re making, and except for a few weekends when we will have to re-route the 8X and 49 away from the loop to allow for certain key construction activities, construction of the loop should not affect any existing bus routes, stops or schedules,” Nguyen said regarding effect on bus schedules.
The project will also create about two dozen jobs for construction workers, Nguyen said.
“This project is more than ten years in the making and here we are in 2013, moving forward,” Weaver said.
Student Trustee at City College and Interim Chair of the Balboa Park Station Community Advisory Committee William Walker help Muni become more efficient and hopes that students are patient with construction.
“The project will provide a more cohesive connection between the loop and the college,” Walker said.
This story was produced in collaboration with The Ingleside Light.