The $12 million Powell Cable Car Improvement Project was narrower in scope than the California line project. During three separate shutdowns of portions of the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason Lines, the SFMTA replaced the propulsion systems on the cable car lines and the control console in the Cable Car Barn at Washington and Mason streets.
Upgrading these systems from analog to digital will provide modern benefits to the systems that propel the cable cars and that communicate monitoring information about the cables on these lines back to the Cable Car Barn.
During the cable car shutdowns on the California and the Powell cable car lines, Muni buses operated by Cable Car Operators were deployed to provide service on the lines, which have an average weekday ridership of more than 22,000. Prior to the shutdowns, Operators provided customers notices in coordination with a coordinated multilingual multimedia customer information campaign. Because of the sporadic schedule of shutdowns on the Powell lines, SFMTA Ambassadors from throughout the Agency, including Cable Car Operators, were deployed to key locations to inform customers and assist with travel plans during the first days of each shutdown.
Outreach to the surrounding businesses and residents began in 2009. It was supported by regular e-mail and phone updates from project staff, street teams distributing reminders in the neighborhoods and responsive follow-up by SFMTA, DPW and SFPUC outreach teams as well as project staff during construction.
The businesses and neighborhoods surrounding the cable car lines were very supportive of the projects. The coordination with businesses such as Ghirardelli Square, the Masonic Auditorium, hotels from the Hyatt to the Huntington and the business improvement districts for both Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square made this important effort proceed as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
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, was worn and in need of rehabilitation. The roadway along the California Street corridor was last resurfaced 25 years ago.