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Release date: 11/23/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), reminds Muni customers that Phase Two of the California Cable Car Infrastructure Improvement Project will require the closure of the California Cable Car Line for six months from January to July 2011. The SFMTA and the Department of Public Works (DPW) began Phase One of the project in September. For this project the SFMTA and DPW will replace aging underground components of the cable car line and repave 17 blocks on California Street between Drumm Street and Van Ness Avenue.

“The care and stewardship of the cable cars, a National Historic Landmark, are a vital part of our Capital Improvement Program,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “As we continue to reinvest in Muni, we invest in the future of San Francisco,”

The California Street Infrastructure Improvement Project is a result of years of planning and coordination between City agencies that will:

  • Replace necessary electrical and mechanical components to support the safe operation of the cable car system (i.e. conduits, pulley brackets, switches)
  • Reconstruct concrete streets
  • Repave street
  • Perform construction and installation of curb ramps at every intersection (excluding Van Ness Avenue and Stockton and Sabin streets) to comply with the Americans with Disability Act requirements
  • Repair sidewalk curbs
  • Replace sewer

Phase One of the California Cable Car Infrastructure Project began in September and started work on sidewalk curb repairs, sewer replacement and curb ramps installation along 17 blocks of California Street between Van Ness Avenue and Drumm Street. A moratorium on street excavation and construction on commercial corridors will take place the day after Thanksgiving and into January. This routine moratorium helps minimize construction impacts to businesses and shoppers during the peak shopping season and reduces traffic congestion during this busy time of year.

Phase Two of the project will begin in January and replace aging electronic and mechanical components underneath the cable car trackway to ensure the continued safe operation of the cable car system. Work will also include reconstruction of concrete streets between Mason Street and Kearny Street and street repaving along California Street and any work remaining from Phase One.

Construction is scheduled for Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., although night and Sunday work may be necessary. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum.

Local businesses will remain open for business during construction.

Traffic Impacts

  • During construction, at least one traffic lane will remain open for traffic in each direction at all times. Traffic controls will be in place, however, expect slow traffic at intersections.
  • Street parking will be prohibited in and around construction zones. Please read and adhere to No-Parking signage

Muni Service Impacts

  • During the closure of the California Cable Car Line, Muni bus shuttles will provide substitute service approximately from 6 a.m. until midnight.
  • During the months of the cable car shutdown, bus shuttles will stop at regular California Cable Car stops, although temporary relocation of bus stops may occur to accommodate construction.
  • San Francisco’s signature cable cars will still be accessible to Muni customers on the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines. These two cable car lines will, however, also undergo safety improvements during two partial weekday shutdowns and one week of a full shutdown in mid to late spring.
  • The trolley coach operations on the 1 California bus route will remain in service.

The SFMTA, DPW and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are collaborating on the $24 million California Street Infrastructure Improvement Project. The total cost of the project is divided between the cable car line maintenance and improvements ($19 million), resurfacing streets and constructing curb ramps ($3.5 million) and the repair and replacement of sewers ($1 million). The last major overhaul of the cable car system on California Street was completed in 1984. As a result, much of the system’s infrastructure, including key electrical and mechanical components, is worn and in need of rehabilitation. The roadway along this corridor was also last resurfaced 25 years ago.

For more information about the cable car system and transportation alternatives, please visit For more information about street resurfacing and curb ramp installations, visit

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