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SFMTA’s Central Subway will connect San Francisco’s southeast neighborhoods to downtown and Chinatown. Whether you’re a concerned citizen, business owner, Muni customer, or just stumbled onto our blog, we welcome your questions and encourage you to connect with us. Follow us for the latest Central Subway news and information.

12 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Schedule Sept. 10-Sept. 30

Utility Relocation for the Union Square/Market Street Station
Construction Outlook September 10  to September 30
(PDF available: Contract 1251 September 10-September 30 Look Ahead)

Description of Work:

  • East side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Installation of enclosure wall, utilities and backfill
    Anticipated Completion: October 2011
  • Stockton Street (Geary to Post streets): Installation of utility vaults and joint trench
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • Geary Street: Installation of utility vaults and joint trench
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • O’Farrell Street: Installation of utility vaults and joint trench
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • West side of Stockton Street (Geary to O’Farrell streets): Installation of joint trench and backfill (work is performed inside the basement underneath the sidewalk)
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • Sutter/Mason/5th Streets: Installation of Muni poles and eyebolts
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • Ellis Street: Installation of water line and gas line
    Anticipated Completion: March 2012
  • West side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Construction to start in
    January 2012
    Anticipated Completion: May 2012

Construction is scheduled for seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., although night work may be necessary. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum and the construction team will work to maintain a clean streetscape during and outside of construction hours. The businesses along the construction route will remain open. The contractor will always maintain safe pedestrian access to all stores during business hours. Those traveling or working in the area can expect an increase in noise, dust and traffic as a result of the construction. Standard traffic signs will be used to detour pedestrian and vehicle traffic and variable message signs have been placed on Geary Street, O’Farrell Street and Stockton Street to inform approaching traffic of detour routes.

Muni Service Impacts

During the utility relocation, the following Muni routes may experience delays:

  • 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express
  • 30 Stockton
  • 38/38L Geary
  • 45 Union-Stockton

Traffic Impacts

  • Two right turn lanes are available for eastbound traffic on Ellis Street crossing Market onto 4th Street.
  • At all times only one lane of traffic will be available on Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets.
  • The open lane of traffic on Stockton Street will be available for Muni buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery trucks only.
  • All private automobiles going to 4th Street and other SoMa destinations will be required to take one of two detours.
  • Two traffic detour options are in place to allow better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:
    • Option 1: Divert west on Sutter Street, south on Mason Street, east on Eddy Street, south on Cyril Magnin Street, continue south across Market Street onto 5th Street, east on Folsom Street and south on 4th Street or
    • Option 2: Divert east on Post Street, south on Montgomery Street to New Montgomery Street, west on Howard Street and south on 4th Street.
  • Parking Control Officers will be on hand to monitor traffic at the following times:
    • Post and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Geary and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    • O’Farrell and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Garages within the construction zone are open and accessible using traffic detours.

Contacts
If you have any questions about the Central Subway project or construction, please call External Affairs Manager Brajah Norris and the Central Subway Outreach Team at 415-701-4371 or via e-mail at central<dot>subway<at>sfmta<dot>com. Project information is available at www<dot>sfmta<dot>com/central, the Central Subway blog, or via Twitter (@central_subway) or Facebook (www<dot>facebook<dot>com/centralsubway).

08 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Media Coverage about CS Progress

pressconference_090711

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin and Central Subway Program Director John Funghi lead the press conference

MTA director Ed Reiskin joined Central Subway Program Director John Funghi and Central Subway supporters, including David Nadelman, president of the Union Square Business District, and Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, to highlight progress made on the project and to announce $20 million in New Starts funds from the federal government.  Several articles have been published by local media about the announcement which are linked below, and a Press Release from the SFMTA is available as well.

SF Gate: Defending the Central Subway

CBS San Francisco: Influx Of Money To San Francisco Central Subway Project

SF Appeal: Transit Officials, Business Leaders Say Central Subway Is On Track To Secure Final Federal Funding

07 September 2011 ~ 1 Comment

SFMTA, City Leaders Highlight Progress

SFMTA and City Business Leaders Highlight Progress of the
Central Subway Project

$20 million in federal New Starts funds recently released to the project will help
keep San Francisco moving forward

San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today was joined by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Union Square Business Improvement District (BID) to announce the receipt of $20 million in federal funds for Phase II of the Third Street Light Rail Project, the Central Subway. In addition to these funds, the SFMTA announced that it will send to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) the final submittal for the New Starts Full Funding Grant Agreement by Sept. 19. These leaders of San Francisco’s business community stood with the SFMTA at the announcement in order to highlight the importance of the Central Subway Project to San Francisco’s economic growth.

“The momentum continues to build for San Francisco’s Central Subway Project because it will expand transit options in the heart of the City,” said Jerry Lee, Vice Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “The City’s transportation infrastructure serves as the lifeblood of our expanding industries as well as our vibrant neighborhoods and the residents, visitors and employees that support them.”

“The completion of the T Third light rail project with the Central Subway represents an investment in the future of San Francisco,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “The SFMTA and its City partners are committed to working with communities from the Bay View to SoMa to Chinatown to ensure that gridlock does not paralyze the City’s economic growth.”

“The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce continues to support the Central Subway Project for the simple reason that it will improve San Francisco’s economic growth,” said Jim Lazarus, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Public Policy. “Economic growth does not happen by accident. A great workforce and the right policies bring businesses to the City; well-planned infrastructure makes it possible for them to thrive here.”

The project will serve as an engine for economic growth and recovery in San Francisco, creating thousands of job opportunities as the project moves into the construction phase. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has estimated that for every $1 billion spent on transportation infrastructure projects 30,000 jobs will be created. During these difficult economic times, the progress and development of the Central Subway will employ thousands of individuals throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Furthermore, the improved service will decrease transit travel times, relieve congestion, enhance the environment and stimulate economic activity along the corridor.

The project has consistently received positive reviews as part of the FTA’s New Starts program. The new infusion of $20 million from the program means that Central Subway has received $92.4 million in New Starts funds to date. The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

The SFMTA continues to work closely with its funding partners: the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the leadership in Sacramento and the FTA. This collaboration has leveraged state and local funds to secure $942.2 million in federal New Starts funding for this project that would otherwise be unavailable to San Francisco for any other project. The New Starts program is highly competitive, and other cities and regions would benefit if these funds were redirected.

The FFGA is the formal action embodying the federal government’s financial commitment to the Project, currently projected to be $942.2 million. The submission that the SFMTA will make by Sept. 19 will begin the final review by the FTA, followed by the 60-day Congressional review and awarding of the FFGA in early 2012.

(PDF available: Summary of SFMTA’s Response to CGJ Findings 09.2011)

(Press Release PDF available: Press Release–SFMTA and City Business Leaders Highlight Progress of the Central Subway Project, 9.7.11.pdf)

06 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Letter from Administrator Rogoff to WSJ

Letter to the Editor ImageThe Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, Peter Rogoff, wrote a letter to the editor on Saturday, Sept. 3, in response to the Wall Street Journal article about the Central Subway (Aug. 23).  We thank Administrator Rogoff for his support of the Central Subway and other transit projects around the country.  The letter to the editor is quoted below.

The Billion-Dollar-a-Mile Subway Makes Perfect Sense

Regarding your editorial “Off the San Francisco Rails” (Aug. 23): Survey after survey reveals that Americans want more transportation choices when it comes to commuting to work or getting around town. This should surprise no one when you consider the volatility in gas prices, the worsening congestion on our highways, and the fact that transportation costs rank second only to housing costs in the monthly budgets of working families. The economic case for transit is also clear: Time and time again we have seen that transit infrastructure investment creates jobs not just through new construction, but through the economic development that occurs along the new transit corridors.

Despite the overwhelming public support for expanded transit opportunities and the demonstrable economic benefits, the Journal recently criticized the administration for supporting San Francisco’s Central Subway Project, which will shorten the commute for tens of thousands of people through the densest population and employment center on the West Coast.

The Obama administration will continue to expand transit options so that the American public can spend less money on gas and less time in traffic jams. We will continue to partner with cities and states across the country to provide new transit opportunities that will generate more than 540,000 construction and related jobs. And we will continue to serve millions of Americans who, thanks to transit, will keep more of their paycheck in their wallet, rather than handing it over at the gas pump.

Peter Rogoff

Federal Transit Administrator

Washington

01 September 2011 ~ 3 Comments

Response to SF Weekly Article

T Third Alignment Map

The latest round of criticism of the Central Subway, including an article in the SF Weekly is not based on any new evidence, but rather on the fact that the project is very close to achieving the Full Funding Grant Agreement.

In 2007, Mr. Peskin was very clear in his support of the project stating, “As San Francisco gets denser and more congested, we’re going to have to make those investments. Are they expensive? Yes, they’re very expensive. But is it going to be worth it for the future of San Francisco? Absolutely.”  (Source: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&id=5133662)

Mr. Peskin also emphasized one of the major benefits of the project, a north-south connection that will strengthen the SFMTA transit network when the Central Subway is finished as Phase 2 of the T Third Light Rail Project.  “I think you have to look at the project in its entirety. It’s not a 1.7-mile project. It’s a 7-mile project that connects the southeast to the northeast of San Francisco from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown/North Beach.”

There were numerous inaccurate statements in the article that are regularly promoted by a very vocal opposition group:

  • The Central Subway will, in fact, be significantly faster than a bus from Chinatown to Caltrain.  A 20 minute bus time during peak commute hours will be reduced to eight minutes via light rail.  The idea that the subway will take five to 10 minutes longer is patently false.
  • To put the cost in context, New York City’s Second Avenue Subway costs $4.5 billion which is $1.8 billion per mile compared to Central Subway’s $1.6 billion which is $929 million per mile.  Furthermore, in evaluating the cost of the project, the notion that the budget is continuing to inflate is incorrect.  The Central Subway is on budget per local, state, and federal commitments to date.  The original budget that was proposed for the project originated over ten years ago.  Comparing a proposed budget from over ten years ago to today’s project cost is unfair.  Inflation and construction cost increases over a ten year period must be considered in any development project.
  • Based on the most recent ridership model, the project will have daily boardings per mile that far exceed comparable projects.  For example, the 2030 ridership model calculates over 12,000 boardings per mile for the 1.7-mile Central Subway compared to about 7,000 boardings per mile for the N Judah, currently the SFMTA’s line with the highest ridership.  The Hawaii Automated Line, a similar New Starts light rail project currently under Final Design in congested, downtown Honolulu will have estimated boardings per mile of 5,000.  The need for this project is evident now and the need will be even greater as the City continues to grow, because ridership will only increase with major new development projects planned for the Hunters Point Shipyard. The projects include 10,000 housing units, 2 million square feet of research and development space, 800,000 square feet of retail, 200 acres of new parks and open space, and a possible new stadium.  The population along the Third Street corridor, 68 percent of whom currently do not own vehicles and depend on public transportation, is expected to increase by 24,000 people.

If we want to provide clean alternative means of public transportation to accommodate future population and ridership growth, we must improve our transit system by completing the Central Subway Project.  The project provides significant benefits to the City which include decreasing air and noise pollution, reducing surface congestion and private passenger vehicles on the street, meeting Federal Clean Air Act requirements, and, most importantly, providing much-needed alternative public transit options for people who live, visit and work in San Francisco.  The fact remains: this project stands strongly on its merits and the SFMTA remains committed to its delivery.

01 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Subway to the Future

Re-posting of the September 1  San Francisco Chronicle Open Forum article ” Subway to the Future” written by Stephen Taber.

SPUR Op Ed

24 August 2011 ~ 9 Comments

Response to the WSJ on Off the SF Rails

Response to the Wall Street Journal op-ed “Off the San Francisco Rails” published on August 23, 2011.

Central Subway is Phase 2 of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Third Street Light Rail Project that is already in service and the Central Subway will connect to the 18 existing stations. The Central Subway will operate as an extension of the T Third line and will extend light rail service with a surface stop on 4th Street near Brannan Street, and subway service under the South of Market (SoMa), Union Square and Chinatown neighborhoods.

The Central Subway Project is a critical transportation improvement linking neighborhoods in the southeastern part of the rest of San Francisco with the retail and employment centers downtown and in Chinatown. It will provide much needed and improved transportation connecting communities that have long been disconnected from an efficient rail connection to downtown, the project provides a critical connection to the Mission Bay-UCSF medical research and bio-tech center.  This development is already home to a major research facility and growing bio-tech companies but is slated to become an entire community with schools, housing and businesses that will need access to San Francisco and beyond via the connections that the project will have with other regional transportation connections.

In any large construction project, costs are continually refined as more detailed engineering work is completed. In addition, the prices of other components beyond the control of the SFMTA, such as materials, labor and real estate, also vary and can change over the eight years.

The Union Square/Market Street Station provides a direct, underground connection to the Powell Street Muni/BART Station via a modern, well-lit concourse.  In addition, the north end of the station connects with the major shopping district at Union Square. See diagram below which depicts the direct Muni to Muni connection and estimated walk of 4.8 minutes from platform to platform.

UMS Access and Transfer

Muni customers will have the option to take surface buses or subway to their desired destination.  This is similar to what our customers currently experience on Market Street with coordinated bus and light rail service.

The comparable current connection is from the Muni 30 Stockton and 45 Union bus routes to the Powell or Montgomery Muni Metro stations.  Essentially, there is no difference in travel distance for current Muni bus customers and future Central Subway customers.  In fact, the transfer from Central Subway would be better in comparison – a seamless transfer within a controlled transit environment with vertical circulation aided by escalators and elevators in both directions.

The new northbound transfer distance is shorter than the current transfer from the Montgomery Muni Metro Station to the closest northbound bus stop.

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) discretionary New Starts program is the federal government’s primary financial resource for supporting locally-planned, implemented, and operated transit guideway capital investments. From heavy rail to light rail, from commuter rail to bus rapid transit systems, New Starts has helped to make possible hundreds of new or extended transit fixed guideway systems across the country. Federal investment into rail and bus transit has improved the mobility of millions of Americans helping to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and overall quality of life. The FTA’s New Starts program is subject to the toughest review of any federal funding program, far greater scrutiny than any highway investment. In these times, these are exactly the kind of investments this nation should be making by creating jobs now and access to jobs and opportunity in the future.

19 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Schedule Aug. 19-Sept. 9

Central Subway Construction Look Ahead Aug. 19 to Sept. 9
(PDF available: Contract 1251 August 19-September 9 Look Ahead)
Utility Relocation for the Union Square/Market Street Station

Description of Work:

  • Stockton Street (Geary to Post streets): Installation of utility vaults and joint trench
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • Geary Street: Installation of utility vaults and joint trench
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • O’Farrell Street: Installation of utility vaults and high pressure water line
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • West side of Stockton Street (Geary to O’Farrell streets): Structural demolition (Work is performed inside the basement underneath the sidewalk)
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • East side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Installation of micro pile, water proofing, and enclosure wall
    Anticipated Completion: October 2011
  • Ellis Street: Installation of sewer line and water line
    Anticipated Completion: March 2012
  • Sutter/Mason/5th Streets: Installation of Muni pole foundation
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • West side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Construction to start in
    January 2012
    Anticipated Completion: May 2012

Installation of sewer lineConstruction is scheduled for seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., although night work may be necessary. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum and the construction team will work to maintain a clean streetscape during and outside of construction hours. The businesses along the construction route will remain open. The contractor will always maintain safe pedestrian access to all stores during business hours. Those traveling or working in the area can expect an increase in noise, dust and traffic as a result of the construction. Standard traffic signs will be used to detour pedestrian and vehicle traffic and variable message signs have been placed on Geary Street, O’Farrell Street and Stockton Street to inform approaching traffic of detour routes.

Muni Service ImpactsInstallation of micro pile

During the utility relocation, the following Muni routes may experience delays:

  • 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express
  • 30 Stockton
  • 38/38L Geary
  • 45 Union-Stockton

Traffic Impacts

  • Two right turn lanes are available for eastbound traffic on Ellis Street crossing Market onto 4th Street.
  • At all times only one lane of traffic will be available on Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets.
  • The open lane of traffic on Stockton Street will be available for Muni buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery trucks only.
  • All private automobiles going to 4th Street and other SoMa destinations will be required to take one of two detours.
  • Two traffic detour options are in place to allow better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:
    • Option 1: Divert west on Sutter Street, south on Mason Street, east on Eddy Street, south on Cyril Magnin Street, continue south across Market Street onto 5th Street, east on Folsom Street and south on 4th Street or
    • Option 2: Divert east on Post Street, south on Montgomery Street to New Montgomery Street, west on Howard Street and south on 4th Street.
  • Parking Control Officers will be on hand to monitor traffic at the following times:
    • Post and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Geary and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    • O’Farrell and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Garages within the construction zone are open and accessible using traffic detours.

Contacts
If you have any questions about the Central Subway project or construction, please call External Affairs Manager Brajah Norris and the Central Subway Outreach Team at 415-701-4371 or via e-mail at central dot subway at sfmta dot com. Project information is available at www dot sfmta dot com/central, the Central Subway blog, or via Twitter (@central_subway) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/centralsubway).

29 July 2011 ~ 14 Comments

A Response to District 5 Diary

A response to Savemuni’s press conference re-posted by Rob Anderson’s blog post dated July 24 on the District 5 Diary website titled “Pull the plug on the Central Subway”

Moscone Station Platform editThe Central Subway Project is making tremendous progress and has accomplished a number of major milestones so far this year alone including:

  • Receiving the highest overall rating for the fourth consecutive year under the federal New Starts program for project justification and cost effectiveness.
  • Completing the first construction contract relocating underground utilities for the Moscone Station and Portal under the I-80 freeway.
  • Initiating the second construction contract for utility relocation work for the Union Square/Market Street station which will be completed by the second quarter of 2012.
  • Reaching 95 percent completion of the final design for the three underground stations and the surface track work/systems.
  • Awarding the $233 million Guideway Tunnel contract, the largest of the project’s construction contracts, to the joint venture of Barnard Impregilo Healy. This bid came in $12 million under engineer’s estimates and notice to proceed will be issued this fall.
  • Receiving by unanimous vote of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) an allocation of $57 million in Prop K funds for the purchase of the tunnel boring machines (TBM) and to construct the TBM launch box.
  • Staying on track to receive the $942 million Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by the end of this year.

With all the accomplishments the project has achieved thus far; the continued support from our local, state, and federal elected officials; and the unwavering enthusiasm of the local community, the project will move forward to improve the City’s public transit system that will connect people and communities along the north-south corridor.

We would like to take this opportunity to address the five points mentioned in the blog post:

1. On July 1, 2011, the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury issued a scathing report on the Central Subway, citing Muni’s financial and operating difficulties as strong evidence that the SFMTA is in no position to operate an ill-conceived, money-losing subway. Here are two of the report’s many criticisms:

The Central Subway would result in the elimination of “direct connectivity from the T-Third line to the Muni Metro.”

With the Central Subway, “Riders not only lose the direct connections. They face “The Walk.” According to SFMTA, “To get from the Union Square/ Market Street Station to the Powell Street Muni Metro Station is about a thousand feet.”

Central Subway Response:

The Central Subway does not eliminate “direct connectivity” from the T Third Line to the rest of the Muni Metro. On the contrary, the Central Subway, the second phase of the T Third Light Rail Project, will provide a quicker trip to downtown for customers on the T, from approximately 30 minutes down to seven.

There will be a connection within walking distance of the Market/Powell Street station and the new station located at 4th/Brannan Street will provide an additional transfer point if needed to Caltrain at 4th and Townsend streets. As the City’s population continues to grow, particularly in the South of Market (SoMa), Mission Bay, Bayview Hunter’s Point Shipyard, and Visitation Valley communities, we must do all we can to grow the capacity of the City’s transit system. The Central Subway Project completes the north-south rail connection to fill that void.  The project will serve the growing population from the City’s southeast sector and provide them with direct access to SoMa, downtown, Chinatown and possibly neighborhoods further north in the future.

The Mayor, SFMTA, SFCTA and the Central Subway staff will provide the formal response to the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury report and their findings in August.

2. Governor Jerry Brown has just cut $27 million from State Proposition 1A allocations to the Central Subway. Another $34 million in Proposition 1A funds is potentially also on the chopping block. A State Proposition 1B allocation of $308 million could also be in jeopardy.

Central Subway Response:

The state bond funds were voted on and approved by  California citizens. More than $400 million are slated for building the Central Subway. Annually, the State Budget process caps how much bond proceeds will be allowed. Market conditions will also inform when and how many bonds the state will issue. The issue, then, is not how much money the project will receive but when. If these funds are delayed, the SFMTA will continue to work with its funding partners to craft proactive solutions.

Proposition 1A bond proceeds are intended to enhance local rail line connections to the proposed high-speed rail system. For fiscal year (FY) 2011-2012, Governor Brown is limiting funds to safety projects only. The delay of these funds ($27 million in FY 2012 and $61 million total) to the project, while disappointing, was anticipated by the SFMTA. The portion of the Central Subway that will connect with the 4th and King streets high speed rail station area is scheduled to be constructed after 2013. The SFMTA and its funding partners fully expect that the Governor’s request to develop a comprehensive statewide rail plan as a basis for allocating these funds can be accomplished in time.

Due to the timing of Proposition 1B state bond sales, project sponsors statewide, including the SFMTA, have experienced delays in receiving voter-approved state funds. The leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a key Central Subway partner, has shown a way to keep vital projects on track. Starting in January 2009, in order to keep critical projects moving forward, the MTC, acting as the Bay Area (bridge) Toll Authority (BATA), has entered into a bond purchase agreement for up to $200 million of bonds issued by the State of California to backfill Proposition 1B funds for Bay Area highway projects. This private placement sale allowed 10 Bay Area highway projects, already under construction, to avoid costly project construction suspensions. This same mechanism can be used to provide state bond proceed funds to Bay Area transit projects as well.

3. The House of Representatives is targeting pork barrel projects, threatening significant portions or even the entire New Starts program. SaveMuni.com Co-founder Howard Wong notes that without the full $983 million New Starts grant, the Central Subway project would “just drain state and local funds from the citywide Muni System.” He adds that the Grand Jury’s conclusion, “Central Subway—Too Much Money for Too Little Benefit,” succinctly crystallizes the problem.

Central Subway Response:

The federal government’s New Starts program is a highly competitive process, in which transportation infrastructure projects throughout the nation compete for a designated pool of funds.  This program has been a part of President Obama’s “Road to Recovery” plan, in which the country reinvests taxpayer dollars into our public infrastructure systems (i.e. road, tunnels, bridges, etc.) throughout the nation.

The Central Subway Project has consistently received a “medium high” overall rating and for project justification under the heavily scrutinized New Starts criteria for the past four years.  In fact, the project is tied for first place in the FTA’s 2012 Annual Report to Congress for transit projects and is on track to receive the $942 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) by the end of 2011.

The federal funds allocated through the New Starts program cannot be redirected to offset other SFMTA funding deficiencies.

4. Opposition to the Central Subway in Chinatown and within the Asian community is growing. As San Francisco organizer David Tse puts it: “We are convinced that this [Central Subway] is more a developer’s dream than a transportation project. And they are using a flawed transportation analysis to make way for the wholesale alteration of everything along the route of the subway. If this project goes forward, I am especially worried over the irreversible impact on San Francisco’s historic and still vibrant Chinatown, where my sister and I grew up with many happy memories.”

Central Subway Response:

The Central Subway Project has received overwhelming support from more than 25 key stakeholders and community-based organizations in Chinatown, as well as other key organizations throughout the City such as the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), the Union Square Business Improvement District and others.  Over 8,000 signatures have been gathered directly in Chinatown from residents and merchants who support the project and await the days that they can actually ride the new line and cut their commute time in half.  The Chinatown community has supported this project for the past 20 years and has been the driving force behind it.

The Central Subway Project, in coordination with the City Planning Department, will not alter any existing planning ordinances or guidelines. One of the primary goals of the project is to preserve the character of this vibrant and historic neighborhood while helping it to flourish and thrive.

The Central Subway Project planners and engineers have designed the Chinatown station to be constructed by a mined method that will minimize the impacts and disruption at the surface while the station is being built.  This will allow for existing businesses to continue to operate and traffic to flow on Stockton Street while construction is ongoing.  There will be some inconveniences to the area, which is the case during most construction projects.  The boring of the twin tunnels will have virtually no impact to the surface and will never be seen in Chinatown.

Chinatown businesses including the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and community based organization Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) have consistently applauded the project as it will bring shoppers and tourists directly into the community.

5. On May 9, 2011, the 70,000 member Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club acknowledged new factors by passing a resolution encouraging the SFMTA to “pursue alternative uses of the state, regional and local funds programmed to the Central Subway but not yet spent.”

Central Subway Response:

The Central Subway Project will reduce air and noise pollution and use environmentally clean light rail vehicles.  The project will also enhance and preserve the environment by reducing traffic congestion on the street. Moreover, it satisfies the Federal Clean Air Act requirements.  This project is environmentally friendly and will improve the quality of life for San Franciscans. By making the City’s transit system more accessible and useful, the Central Subway as the completion of the T Third Light Rail Project, will help reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles.

Furthermore, the federal funds allocated for the Central Subway Project cannot be redirected to offset any SFMTA funding deficits. This information has been provided in all project materials and is common knowledge among transportation and governmental professionals.  If the Central Subway Project were to be stopped, the entire $942 million dollar contribution from the federal government would be redistributed to other New Starts projects throughout the nation under the New Starts program and the City would be no better off.  This would cost thousands of employment and local contracting opportunities at a time when they are much needed and derail the improvement of our public transit system.

To date the local, state, and federal governments have allocated and spent nearly $200 million dollars on the Central Subway Project.  By abandoning the project this would be a gross waste of taxpayer dollars and a waste of a once in a generation opportunity to improve San Francisco’s beloved transit system. Not only is San Francisco the city that can, it is also the city that cares. To abandon this project would mean that San Francisco would fail to fulfill promises made over the last 20 years by the entire city to the surrounding communities.

The Central Subway Project will continue on its path to be built on time and on budget!

29 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Schedule July 28-Aug. 19

Central Subway Construction Look Ahead
July 28 to Aug. 19
(PDF available: Contract 1251 July 28-August 19 Look Ahead)
Utility Relocation for the Union Square/Market Street Station


Description of Work:

  • Stockton Street (Geary to Post streets): Installation of sewer line and utility vaults
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • Maiden Lane Installation of sewer line
    Anticipated Completion: August 5, 2011
  • Geary Street: Installation of utility vaults
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • O’Farrell Street: Installation of utility vaults and high pressure water line
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • West side of Stockton Street (Geary to O’Farrell streets): Structural demolition (Work is performed inside the basement underneath the sidewalk)
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • East side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Installation of micro pile and water proofing
    Anticipated Completion: October 2011
  • Ellis Street: Installation of sewer line
    Anticipated Completion: March 2012
  • Sutter/Mason/5th Streets: Installation of Muni pole foundations
    Anticipated Completion: November 2011
  • West side of Stockton Street (O’Farrell to Market streets): Construction to start in
    January 2012
    Anticipated Completion: May 2012

East side of Stockton Street

Construction is scheduled for seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., although night work may be necessary. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum and the construction team will work to maintain a clean streetscape during and outside of construction hours.

The businesses along the construction route will remain open. The contractor will always maintain safe pedestrian access to all stores during business hours. Those traveling or working in the area can expect an increase in noise, dust and traffic as a result of the construction.

Standard traffic signs will be used to detour pedestrian and vehicle traffic and variable message signs have been placed on Geary Street, O’Farrell Street and Stockton Street to inform approaching traffic of detour routes.

Installation of Sewer Line

Installation of Sewer Line

Muni Service Impacts
During the utility relocation, the following Muni routes may experience delays:

  • 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express
  • 30 Stockton
  • 38/38L Geary
  • 45 Union-Stockton

Traffic Impacts

  • Two right turn lanes are available for eastbound traffic on Ellis Street crossing Market onto 4th Street.
  • At all times only one lane of traffic will be available on Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets.
  • The open lane of traffic on Stockton Street will be available for Muni buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery trucks only.
  • All private automobiles going to 4th Street and other SoMa destinations will be required to take one of two detours.
  • Two traffic detour options are in place to allow better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:
    • Option 1: Divert west on Sutter Street, south on Mason Street, east on Eddy Street, south on Cyril Magnin Street, continue south across Market Street onto 5th Street, east on Folsom Street and south on 4th Street or
    • Option 2: Divert east on Post Street, south on Montgomery Street to New Montgomery Street, west on Howard Street and south on 4th Street.
  • Parking Control Officers will be on hand to monitor traffic at the following times:
    • Post and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Geary and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    • O’Farrell and Stockton streets: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Garages within the construction zone are open and accessible using traffic detours.

Contacts
If you have any questions about the Central Subway project or construction, please call External Affairs Manager Brajah Norris and the Central Subway Outreach Team at 415-701-4371 or via e-mail at central.subway at sfmta dot com. Project information is available at www.sfmta dot com/central, the Central Subway blog, or via Twitter (@central_subway) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/centralsubway).