SF underground - Page 2

Central Subway project is moving forward despite concerns about its cost

We did massive letter writing and postcard writing."

Now challenging the project or raising concerns about its cost or feasibility — which some critics and media reports have done — means doing battle with Pak and the Chinese American community, a substantial voting block. So Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sup. Peskin, and other top elected officials support the project.

At the San Francisco Planning Commission meeting held Nov. 15, David Chiu, a commissioner on the Small Business Commission (and candidate to succeed Peskin as District 3 supervisor), said he was "really looking forward to this project moving forward" but would like to see more detail in the SEIR about the process for relocating small businesses.

Commissioner Michael Antonini "strongly advised" extending the subway as soon as possible to North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf and all the way to the Richmond, arguing the current terminus in Chinatown doesn't make long-term sense. But few at the hearing argued the project shouldn't be built.

According to the SEIR, traveling from Fourth Street and King to Chinatown on the Central Subway would cut up to 12.4 minutes from the journey in 2030 — from the bus time projection of 17 minutes to less than five minutes in one subway alignment alternative.

Four "Alignment Alternatives," or designs for how the subway will be built, are laid out in the SEIR, which was released for public review Oct. 17 and made the subject of three community workshops and a Planning Commission hearing.

Options range from enhanced bus service and no subway to one that includes some surface rail along Fourth Street (with a new station at Moscone Center) to an option with more of the route underground and Chinatown stations in various spots.

Once an alignment plan is chosen, the SFMTA will vote on the final design next year. And if things go smoothly, construction on the project could start in 2010 and service begin in 2016.


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