Hi! Welcome...

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.

11 June 2012 ~ 2 Comments

Starting in SoMa: On 4th Street between Folsom and Howard, construction to prepare for tunneling

Construction on 4th at Folsom, June 2012

Construction is now underway on 4th Street near the intersection with Folsom Street.

Construction to prepare for the installation of below-ground walls, called headwalls, has begun on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets, the site of the future Yerba Buena/Moscone Station. The work currently underway includes potholing and utility relocation. Headwall installation, which involves major excavation work and will require the use of heavy machinery, will soon follow.

The headwalls will be constructed across 4th Street and reach a depth of about 100 feet. Permanent components of the Central Subway, the headwalls will be integrated into the subway station that will be constructed at this location.

Headwall outline - 4th and Folsom

White spray paint outlines the location on 4th Street just north of Folsom Street where headwalls will be installed.

Headwall construction is expected to last through spring 2013. While construction is in progress, those traveling, working and living in the area can expect to see large construction equipment as well as an increase in noise, dust and truck traffic while work is in progress. The Central Subway team will continue to work closely with communities, local businesses and organizations to inform them of construction impacts and to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are in place.

To mitigate construction impacts, dust and noise levels will be monitored and kept within permitted levels, and the contractor will perform street sweeping daily to clean the construction site and surrounding areas.

Access to local businesses, residences and driveways will be maintained.

Transit, Traffic and Pedestrian Impacts

The following describes ongoing and upcoming traffic and transit impacts at the headwall installation site on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets:

  • The 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express and 91 Owl will be rerouted in July, and the temporary 8 Shuttle route will be eliminated. Additional information will be available soon online and in media alerts.
  • At least two lanes on 4th Street will remain open to traffic while work is in progress.
  • Sidewalks on the west side of the block will be impacted.
  • Access to Clementina Street between 4th and 5th streets may be restricted at times, but the contractor will facilitate access for deliveries.
  • Parking restrictions will be in effect in and around the construction area.
  • Electronic messaging boards will be in place and parking control officers and flaggers will monitor and facilitate the flow of traffic as appropriate.

Find Out More

As work proceeds, additional information on local impacts will be made available here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on our project Google Map and in media alerts. To schedule a briefing on tunnel-related construction for your community group or organization, please contact Brajah Norris at 415-701-5263 or email our team at central.subway@sfmta.com.

More information about the Central Subway tunnel and the tunnel-related work slated for 2012 is available in the following documents:

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

07 June 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Preparing for the Central Subway Tunnel: Major Work Commencing Next Week


Pouring concrete - launch box guide walls - June 2012

At the site of the tunnel launch box, crews are constructing shallow, below-ground walls to prepare for the major upcoming excavation.

Next year, a pair of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will begin excavating the Central Subway tunnel, building the backbone of Muni’s extension of the T Third Line through vibrant and bustling SoMa, downtown, Union Square and Chinatown. Next week, major work to prepare for tunneling is ramping up in SoMa, with additional tunnel-preparation work planned to begin this year at new sites along the project alignment.

This new stage of construction will be the first to build permanent elements of the Central Subway, kicking off the next phase of progress on this critical transit upgrade.

The work, to be carried out by tunneling contractor Barnard Impregilo Healy Joint Venture, involves excavating the site where tunneling will begin, stabilizing the ground at key points along the project alignment and relocating utilities at the tunnel’s end point.

This blog post provides an overview of the tunnel-related work slated to take place in 2012. Future posts will contain additional details about what to expect at specific construction sites, including work timelines, construction impacts and descriptions of construction techniques.

A variety of measures, including street sweeping, noise monitoring and traffic controls, will be employed to reduce construction impacts. Access to local businesses, residences and driveways will be maintained throughout construction. However, traffic, transit, parking and pedestrian walkways will be impacted, and travelers through these areas can expect an increase in noise, dust and truck traffic while work is in progress.

2012_construction_outlook_map_June2012_Page_1

This map provides an overview of the construction to prepare for tunneling that will occur in 2012. A PDF of the map can be downloaded here.

Central Subway Tunnel: 2012 Construction Overview

The following work is planned to occur this year to prepare for tunneling in 2013:

  • Launch Box: Next week, the tunneling contractor will begin excavating and constructing a launch box at the site where tunneling will begin. The launch box will be built on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets, beneath the I-80 overpass. At nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 40 feet deep, this major excavation will take up most of the block. Next year the TBMs will start digging the Central Subway tunnels from the launch box, traveling north under 4th Street and then Stockton Street.
  • Headwalls: The contractor will install below-ground walls, called headwalls, at subway station sites in SoMa and Union Square. Headwall installation will take place on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets and on Stockton Street between Market and Post streets.
  • Grouting: Ground stabilization work, known as jet grouting or compensation grouting, will occur along the project alignment in SoMa and Union Square. This work involves drilling shafts into the ground, monitoring ground conditions and, if necessary, injecting a mud-like substance that acts as a stabilizer.
  • Utility Relocation: The Central Subway tunnel will extend past the end of the line in Chinatown to North Beach, paving the way for a potential future extension of the line. Utility relocation in North Beach this year will prepare for excavation of the site where the TBMs will be removed from the ground. Ongoing communications and outreach are underway to determine a schedule for this work.

Find Out More

The Central Subway team will continue to work closely with communities, local businesses and organizations to inform them of construction impacts and to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are in place. As work commences at new locations along the alignment, additional information on local impacts will be made available here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on our project Google Map and in media alerts. To schedule a briefing on tunnel-related construction for your community group or organization, please contact Brajah Norris at 415-701-5263 or email our team at central.subway@sfmta.com.

More information about the Central Subway tunnel and the tunnel-related work slated for 2012 is available in the following documents:

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

06 June 2012 ~ 1 Comment

New sidewalks on Stockton Street as utility work nears completion

Since breaking ground in January 2011, contractor Synergy Project Management has finished relocating a variety of utility lines around Union Square to prepare for construction of the Union Square/Market Street Station.

Now, with much of this work complete, sidewalks are being restored and reopened for pedestrians.

Check out these pictures of the beautiful new sidewalks (and sidewalks-in-progress) on and around Stockton Street:

Sidewalk restoration - Stockton and O'Farrell

Sidewalk restoration in progress at the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell streets.

Sidewalk restoration - Union Square

Wooden railings help stabilize these freshly poured sidewalks as the concrete dries.

Sidewalk restoration - Union Square area

Some sidewalks in the area have been completed and are now open to pedestrians.

DSC_0024

Stockton Street shoppers, visitors, workers and walkers traverse the brand new sidewalks.

04 June 2012 ~ 2 Comments

$48.4 million in state funds awarded to Central Subway Project

Stockton Street (Flickr photo by geekstinkbreath)

The Central Subway will vastly improve travel along crowded Stockton Street. (Photo by Flickr photographer Frank Chan.)

The Central Subway Project will receive $48.4 million in funding from a state transit-investment program, allowing for continued progress on extending the T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.

The funds come from the state Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement Account (PTMISEA) Program, which funds a variety of transit-related improvements, including capital projects. In total, California has committed to invest about $307.8 million in PTMISEA funds to construct the Central Subway.

In a press release from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin reaffirmed the Central Subway’s benefits for San Francisco’s transit system: “The Central Subway will cut peak-period travel times in half compared to current transit options, easing travel through the busy 4th Street and Stockton Street corridors,” Reiskin said. “Our partners in Sacramento have consistently recognized that these projects are key to improving transportation in San Francisco now and for future generations.”

For more information about this exciting funding news, check out this press release from the SFMTA.

29 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

SFMTA Board Chairman: Central Subway ‘a worthy and crucial investment’

Nolan at Chinatown press conference
Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors, speaking at a Central Subway press conference in March.

“A worthy and crucial investment in San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure.” That’s how Tom Nolan, chairman of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors, described the Central Subway in a recent editorial to the Wall Street Journal.

Responding to an opinion piece by the paper’s editorial board, Nolan noted that the Central Subway will provide a rapid transit option through San Francisco’s vibrant urban core, cutting peak-hour travel times by more than half along the project alignment:

We are building the new subway to address pressing transportation needs in these densely populated neighborhoods. Currently, crowded buses crawl through this corridor at about three miles per hour, moving even more slowly during rush hour. With traffic congestion only expected to get worse, surface transportation solutions will provide an inadequate fix. The Central Subway, in bypassing crowded city streets, will cut peak-hour travel times by more than half.

For these reasons and more, the project continues to enjoy strong support from local business, labor and merchant communities, and the federal government, as a part of its rigorous review process, has consistently given the project strong positive ratings.

Check out the rest of Nolan’s editorial here, on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

25 May 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Construction Update: Road and sidewalk restoration to commence near Union Square, utility relocation starting in SoMa

guide walls 1

These walls, called guide walls, are being constructed at 4th Street beneath the I-80 overpass to prepare to excavate the site where the Central Subway tunnel will begin.

In the next three weeks, road and sidewalk restoration are planned to begin along Stockton Street, and work associated with the tunnel contract is anticipated to commence on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets.

  • Union Square/Market Street Station Utility Relocation: Crews are continuing to relocate utilities along Stockton Street between Market and Geary streets to prepare for construction of the Union Square/Market Street Station. Most major utility relocation work, including significant road and sidewalk restoration, is expected to be completed next month. Construction is scheduled seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., although night work may be necessary.
  • Tunnel Launch Site Construction: Work is continuing on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets to prepare the site for tunnel construction. Crews are working to relocate utility lines and install guide walls at the site where tunneling will commence. The contractor expects to begin installing below-ground walls, called slurry walls, around the perimeter of the launch box in June. Work hours at this site are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Yerba Buena/Moscone Station Tunneling Preparation: Work to prepare for tunneling at the site of the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station is planned to commence in June on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets. The contractor expects to begin relocating utility lines at this site starting in June. Ground stabilization work, called jet grouting, and installation of below-ground walls, or headwalls, will follow. This work will take place Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The 10-day construction notice for this work is available here.

Complete, current three-week construction schedules are available online for Union Square utility relocation work and for the tunnel contract. We also post construction, auto detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Muni Service Impacts:

While work is in progress around Union Square and in SoMa, the following Muni routes may experience delays:

  • 8 Shuttle/8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express
  • 38/38L Geary

The 30 Stockton and 45 Union/Stockton lines have been rerouted around the Stockton Street and 4th Street construction sites, effective January 21.

Traffic Detours:

While Union Square utility relocation work is in progress, only Muni buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery trucks will be permitted on Stockton Street between Post and Market streets.

Two traffic detour options are in place to allow for better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:

trafficreroutemap

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

09 May 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Why Central Subway? Find out in our new project brochure.

why_CS_FINAL_Page_1_only

The front page of our new project brochure features photos of the neighborhoods and local destinations the Central Subway will connect.

Reducing travel times. Improving San Francisco’s transportation network. Connecting bustling neighborhoods, premier commercial districts, world-renowned tourist destinations and a burgeoning technology and digital-media hub. The Central Subway – a rapid, emission-free alternative to crowded buses and congested city streets – will do all this and more when it opens to the public in 2019.

Learn more about the Central Subway and its many benefits in our new project brochure. It includes key information about how the Central Subway will improve San Francisco’s public transit system, connect local communities and invest in San Francisco, as well as a brief history of the project’s strong local support.

Download the brochure here and share it with friends, family, coworkers, fellow transit advocates and others interested in finding out about more this important investment in San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure. It is also available in Chinese.

07 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update: Utility relocation, tunnel site preparation continue to advance

Construction photo 4-16-12

Crews prepare to pour sidewalk on Stockton Street.

Since our last three-week construction update, work to prepare the tunnel launch site for tunneling and to relocate utilities around Union Square has continued to progress.

In the next three weeks, the following work will be underway:

  • Union Square/Market Street Station Utility Relocation: Crews will continue to relocate utilities to prepare for construction of the Union Square/Market Street Station. We expect utility relocations around Union Square to be completed by June 2012.Construction is scheduled seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., although night work may be necessary.
  • Tunnel Launch Site Construction: Work is continuing on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets to prepare the site for tunnel construction. Crews are working to relocate utility lines and install guide walls at the site where tunneling will commence. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The complete, current three-week construction schedule for Union Square utility relocations is available here (PDF). We also post construction, auto detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Muni Service Impacts:

While utility relocation work is in progress around Union Square, the following Muni routes may experience delays:

  • 8 Shuttle/8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express
  • 38/38L Geary

The 30 Stockton and 45 Union/Stockton lines have been rerouted around the Stockton Street and 4th Street construction sites, effective January 21.

Traffic Detours:

While Union Square utility relocation work is in progress, only Muni buses, taxis, tour buses and delivery trucks will be permitted on Stockton Street between Post and Market streets.

Two traffic detour options are in place to allow for better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:

trafficreroutemap

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

03 May 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Central Subway FAQs: Muni impacts, ridership, funding and more

Chinatown_train

With support from Washington and continued progress on construction and contracts, the Central Subway Project has accomplished major milestones in recent months. More achievements – including a commitment from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to provide nearly $1 billion in New Starts funding – are on the horizon, paving the way for tunneling and station construction to begin this year.

Extending Muni’s T Third Line through SoMa and into Union Square and Chinatown will benefit thousands of San Franciscans and vastly improve the Bay Area’s transportation network. The Central Subway will reduce travel times for residents, workers and visitors traveling through a congested corridor that has long been in need of improved public transit.

We on the Central Subway team believe it is important to provide useful, relevant information to the public about the project as it continues to advance. We have put together this blog post to answer questions that have arisen about the project’s costs, ridership, impacts on Muni and more.

Ridership


The T Third Line is expected to become Muni’s most heavily used light rail line soon after the Central Subway opens. It will travel through some of San Francisco’s most densely populated areas – and also through several areas that are expected to see remarkable population growth, including Mission Bay, Bayview/Hunter’s Point and Yerba Buena. More than half of San Francisco’s jobs and a significant proportion of projected job growth are located within the neighborhoods the T Third Line will serve. It will be an essential artery for travel around San Francisco, and also for connecting customers to the Bay Area’s transportation network.

  • T Third Line ridership: By 2030, ridership on the T Third Line is projected to be about 20 percent higher than on the most heavily used existing Muni line, the N Judah Line. About 65,000 customers per day are projected to ride the T Third Line in 2030.
  • Central Subway ridership: The Central Subway is expected to attract extremely high usage compared to other light rail projects around the country (see the table below). Only the Downtown Subway in Los Angeles is projected to have more daily boardings per mile in 2030. For just the Central Subway portion of the T Third Line, ridership in 2030 is projected at 35,100 daily boardings.
  • Ridership in 2019: Ridership projections for the entire T Third Line are 43,700 for the Central Subway’s opening year.

Table: FY 2030 Daily Boardings per Mile for Light Rail Projects around the Country

U.S. Light Rail Projects State 2030 Avg. Daily Boardings* Route Miles Daily Boardings per Mile
Los Angeles, Regional Connector, Downtown Subway CA 88,200 1.9 46,421
SFMTA, T Third Phase 2 (Central Subway) CA 35,100 1.7 20,647
Seattle, University Link WA 40,200 3.1 12,968
Vancouver, Columbia River Crossing WA 21,400 2.9 7,379
Houston, North Corridor TX 29,000 5.2 5,577
Houston, Southeast Corridor TX 28,700 6.5 4,415
St. Paul – Minneapolis, Central Corridor MN 40,900 11.0 3,718
Mesa, Central Mesa Extension AZ 11,900 3.1 3,839
Portland, Milwaukie Project OR 22,800 7.3 3,123
Sacramento, South Sacramento Corridor Phase 2 CA 10,000 4.3 2,326
Charlotte, Northeast Corridor NC 23,800 10.6 2,245
Dallas, Northwest / Southeast TX 45,900 21.0 2,186
Salt Lake City, Draper UT 6,800 3.8 1,789
Salt Lake City, Mid Jordan UT 9,500 10.6 896

*http://www.fta.dot.gov/publications/reports/reports_to_congress/planning…

Impacts on Muni


The Central Subway will vastly improve Muni service for customers traveling along the busy 4th Street and Stockton Street corridors. Currently it takes more than 20 minutes – and sometimes much longer – during peak travel times to go from Caltrain to Chinatown on the Muni 30 Stockton or the 45 Union/Stockton. The route is crowded, and buses are consistently packed to capacity. The Central Subway will complete this 1.7-mile trip in just eight minutes. It will also be able to accommodate expected increases in ridership.

When the Central Subway opens to the public in 2019, it will not increase Muni fares, and its impacts on existing Muni service and the SFMTA operating budget will be modest:

Service:

  • Service on most Muni bus routes will not be affected by the opening of the Central Subway. The only exception is the 30 Stockton’s short route. This route runs between the Caltrain Station and North Point and Van Ness. It will be eliminated once the Central Subway opens because the Central Subway will cover almost the exact same route.
  • No service reductions are planned for the full 30 Stockton route, which runs between Caltrain and the Marina. The same is true for the 45 Union/Stockton, the 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express and the other routes that operate along the Central Subway alignment.

Fares:

  • Claims that fares will increase as a result of funding the Central Subway are without merit. Funding for the project comes from federal, state and local sources, not from the SFMTA’s operating budget.
  • Even if the SFMTA does issue revenue bonds, the revenue bonds that would be issued would come from sources already included in the SFMTA’s budget. No increase to the operating budget would be required to issue bonds.

Operating budget:

  • The Central Subway, with its 35,100 projected daily boardings, will increase the SFMTA’s annual operating budget by less than 0.25 percent. When the Central Subway opens to the public in 2019, it is expected to increase the SFMTA’s overall operating budget by $1.76 million. By 2030, the cost of operating the subway is projected to be $6.89 million. These numbers are included in the FY2012 New Starts submission.
  • The challenges that the SFMTA faces with regard to its operating budget are driven by current budgetary challenges and not by the addition of much-needed rail service.

Cost


Constructing a new subway beneath a vibrant urban core like downtown San Francisco is a lot of work, and it requires a major investment. Included in the cost of the Central Subway Project are a number of major construction components, including tunneling under a densely populated urban area, constructing three subway stations and a surface-level station, installing operating systems and train tracks, purchasing new light rail vehicles and planning and administering the project.

Here is more information about the Central Subway’s estimated cost:

  • The earliest project cost estimate of $647 million was based on an early conceptual engineering plan. The estimate served as a placeholder until a more accurate cost could be calculated. Accounting for inflation, this estimate equals $995 million in 2011 dollars.
  • The current cost estimate increased to $1.6 billion for the following reasons:
    • The proposed project alignment changed from 3rd Street to 4th Street, and the tunneling method changed from shallow tunneling to deep tunneling. These changes will result in faster travel times for Central Subway customers, a quicker construction timeline and reduced surface disruption during construction. During the preliminary engineering phase, an in-depth cost analysis incorporating these changes increased the cost estimate.
    • The FTA performed a risk assessment on the project as part of the New Starts process. They recommended increasing the cost estimate by $200 million to allow for additional cost- and schedule-related contingencies. The SFMTA’s baseline budget for the Central Subway Project has remained at $1.578 billion since the addition of these FTA-recommended contingencies.
  • The cost per mile of building the Central Subway is less than half the cost per mile of New York City’s two subway projects.
  • When taken together, the per mile cost of constructing both phases of the T Third Line will be significantly less than light rail projects in Los Angeles and Seattle that also include a subway component.

FTA: Cost per Mile of New Starts Projects with Subway Segments

Cost per mile comparison

*http://www.fta.dot.gov/publications/reports/reports_to_congress/planning_environment_12279.html

Revenue Bonds


  • The contingency funding plan approved by the SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors is just that: a contingency plan.
  • Revenue bonds would be issued only in the following scenario:
    • The $61 million in state High Speed Rail Connectivity funds are delayed or the project receives less of these funds than expected.
    • The contingency funds budgeted for the project to cover unexpected costs or schedule delays are used. In total, $200 million is budgeted to cover contingencies.
    • The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is expected to provide nearly $1 billion in funding to the Central Subway Project through its New Starts program, requested this additional assurance as part of its stringent review process.

We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the Central Subway Project. You can reach us at central.subway@sfmta.com or by phone at 415-701-4371.

For timely updates on construction and project progress, you can find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/centralsubway) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/central_subway).

01 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Board of Supervisors, SFMTA Board unanimously approve key resolutions to advance Central Subway Project

BOS discussing assurance funding

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed five resolutions to advance the Central Subway Project.

Today the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors unanimously passed several resolutions to move the Central Subway Project forward.

Both boards passed resolutions approving a contingency funding plan that would allow the Central Subway to advance on schedule even if state bond funds associated with the California high-speed rail project are delayed. In the event of a delay in these state funds, the SFMTA could issue local revenue bonds.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is expected to provide nearly $1 billion in funding to the Central Subway Project through its New Starts program, requested this additional assurance as part of its stringent review process. A delay in bond issuance on the state level could impact Central Subway Project financing, and the FTA requires assurance that a contingent funding plan is in place.

At both board meetings, local business leaders, community members and transit advocates testified in support of the project and the bond assurance measure, saying the Central Subway will create jobs, connect communities and improve public transportation for San Franciscans. Speaking in favor of the project were representatives of the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, the Union Square Business Improvement District, the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), Renew SF, the Chinatown Transportation Research and Improvement Project and several local unions, as well as prominent local leaders and members of the Central Subway Community Advisory Group.

Michael Yaki testifying

Former San Francsico supervisor Michael Yaki spoke in support of the bond assurance resolution before the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors also passed four resolutions approving the acquisition of temporary construction licenses. The licenses will allow work related to the Central Subway tunnel to commence around Union Square. Work to prepare the project alignment for tunneling is on track to begin this summer in this area.

More information about today’s board actions is available in this press release from the SFMTA.