Embarcadero is a BART and Muni Metro station in the Financial District of San Francisco. The easternmost stop on the Market Street Subway, Embarcadero acts as a major hub for passenger movement throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. With 45,460 exits each weekday in 2015, Embarcadero is the busiest station in the BART system, a title for which it vies with its western neighbor, Montgomery Street. It is the first stop in San Francisco for BART trains after crossing through the Transbay Tube from West Oakland. This station was an infill station, opening in May 1976, three years after the rest of this section of BART's system; it was the first infill station in the BART system.
Embarcadero is located in the northeastern section of San Francisco's Financial District, specifically underneath Market Street between Front and Drumm Streets to the north and Fremont and Main Streets to the south. The Ferry Building, Embarcadero Center, Transbay Terminal and the eastern end of the California Street cable car line are all located near Embarcadero station.
Service at the station began on May 27, 1976, three years after the other San Francisco stations. The station was not part of the original plans for the system. As a result of increasing development in the lower Market Street area, the basic structure of the station was added into the construction of the Market Street subway, anticipating a later opening. The later opening resulted in the Embarcadero station having a much different design than the other three Market Street stations. The station was designed by chief BART architect Tallie Maule and Hertzka & Knowles & Associates in collaboration with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Tudor Construction, and Bechtel. The station cost $30 million to construct.
Muni Metro service began in February 1980 and Embarcadero was originally intended to be the inbound terminus for all of the Muni Metro lines. In 1998 a new extension was opened along the Embarcadero and to the Caltrain station at 4th and King Streets; however, several Muni Metro lines continue to terminate at Embarcadero.
Since at least 1992 the station was serenaded by the "Jazz Man" Ronald Brewington. He would play saxophone for commuters and entertain them with conversation and charm. For Christmas Brewington would give out Christmas cards to passengers stating "You are my Carnegie Hall". He claimed his name was Garrick Sherrod; however that was an identity he had stolen. The Jazz Man was actually a fugitive from Albuquerque facing capital murder charges stemming from the 1987 murder of his wife Diedre. He was arrested at a BART station in 2012 and extradited to New Mexico. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
From either 1976 or 1978 until its dismantling and removal in 2014, a large rope sculpture by Barbara Shawcroft entitled "Legs" hung from the east wall of the platform. The 50-foot-tall, 7,000-pound rope sculpture, which the artist said was made using "a Neolithic technique known as knotless netting," was made of Nomex, a fireproof material. When it was installed, it was a rich orange and white, and it shimmied and swayed when trains sped in and out of the Transbay Tube; however, over the years, it had become famously grimy. The artist insisted that BART should leave "Legs" dangling and said the agency's contract with her required them to clean the sculpture, something that proved costly and short-lived during three attempts. The standoff led to decades of inaction, with the sculpture seemingly forgotten. After its removal, it was returned to Shawcroft, a professor emerita at UC Davis School of Design.
Like all stations in the Market Street Subway, Embarcadero has a tri-level configuration. Passengers first descend to a mezzanine concourse containing fare gates for passengers to enter separate BART and Muni paid areas, with one Muni entrance in the middle, flanked by two BART entrances. There are two island platforms below: one on the second level down for Muni trains, and another below the Muni platform for BART trains.
Following the 2015 addition of a canopy over an escalator at 19th Street Oakland station, which reduced escalator downtime by one-third, BART decided to add canopies to all downtown Oakland and San Francisco entrances. Construction will begin in 2019, with completion in 2025.
There are numerous local and express Muni bus lines stopping at this station. The Temporary Transbay Terminal is a short walk from the station, at Howard & Beale Streets, with Greyhound, Samtrans, SolTrans, AC Transit, WestCAT, and Golden Gate Transit buses operating from it.
When the Transbay Transit Center is complete, a pedestrian tube will be built under Beale Street connecting its train platforms with the Embarcardeo Station, linking BART and Muni light rail lines to the new transportation hub.
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