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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.

22 January 2010 ~ 0 Comments

A Great Start for the New Year!

On January 7, 2010, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) granted the Central Subway approval to enter into Final Design.  This FTA endorsement marks a crucial
milestone for the Central Subway project.  Approval to enter into Final Design means that for every dollar the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) spends on Final Design for the Central Subway Project, the SFMTA will be reimbursed with federal funds.  The project recently received $6 million as part of the federal Fiscal Year 2010 transportation appropriations bill.

Looking north at Fourth and King Station

Fourth and King Station

The SFMTA continues to work with local, state and regional partners to secure non-federal funding to work toward a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the FTA in Fiscal Year 2011.

The project is negotiating and awarding design contracts for the tunnel, stations and systems work, and this month utility relocation work is beginning near the tunnel portal and the future Moscone Station in the South of Market neighborhood.

Read the press release from Mayor Newsom and SFMTA about this exciting news!

23 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Central Subway Milestones in 2009!


We hope 2009 treated you well!  As we look back on the Central Subway project a lot has happened in 2009, and we hope to bring you more exciting news in 2010. Here are some milestones achieved this year!

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Presenting to Yerba Buena Alliance in Nov.

  • Received a positive overall medium-high rating in the “New Starts” report.
  • Awarded $9.9 million in additional funding by the FTA for advanced preliminary engineering and design work.
  • Advertised three Final Design Request for Proposal packages and SFMTA Board awarded two Final Design Contract.
  • Revamped the Central Subway website and launched the social media program.
  • Advertised and awarded Moscone Station and Tunnel Portal Utility Relocation contract.

We want to thank all of our supporters including our followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook! We look forward to 2010 when we begin the Utility Relocation for the future Moscone Station and Portal Tunnel.  Stay tuned!

Happy Holidays and have a safe New Year!

10 December 2009 ~ 13 Comments

Utility Relocation in January 2010!

The Central Subway Project will soon begin construction for relocating utilities for the future Moscone Station and Subway Tunnel Portal on Fourth Street between Howard and Bryant streets.  The relocation construction will be performed from January 2010 to approximately June 2011.  The work will be done in phases to avoid service interruptions and to provide necessary space for new utilities.

An informational meeting was held on December 1, 2009 by Central Subway staff and the contractor, Synergy Project Management, to address concerns of residents and business owners.  We also mailed out over 2000 construction notice flyers along the construction route on Fourth Street from Howard Street to Bryant Street and on Clementina Street.  Additional informational meetings will be scheduled, as necessary.

Synergy Project Management will be relocating the following utilities:

Construction Notice
  • PG&E Gas
  • PG&E Electric
  • Muni Service Feeds and Trolley Traction Power Cables
  • AT&T
  • Telecom Fiber Optic Cables
  • Streetlight Cables
  • Emergency Communications Cables
  • Sewer
  • Low and High Pressure Water Lines
  • Traffic Signal Interconnect Cables

Here are some facts that you should be aware of:

  • Work area will be on Fourth Street from Howard Street to Bryant Street (including side streets) and on Clementina Street from Fourth Street to Fifth Street.
  • Two traffic lanes on Fourth Street will be maintained at all times during the construction period.
  • Parking spaces will be temporarily closed as needed during construction. Please see construction signs for exact locations and times.
  • Noise, dust and traffic delays from construction activities will be mitigated as much as possible.

We will make every effort possible to minimize impact to residents and businesses, and our plan is to finish the job as soon as possible with little disruption.   Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the construction activities.

24 November 2009 ~ 2 Comments

Connection and Transfer

Twitter users Transbay & SFMuniRy asked us about transferring and connecting at the Union Square/Market Street  Station (UMS) and Chinatown Station, we decided to answer their questions through a blog post and to post an illustration of the connection within the same system.

1)       Why will it take a 5 minute transfer to exit and reenter the fare gates, in the same system, from the Powell Street Station to the UMS Station for a 2 minute ride to Chinatown?

The Union Square/Market Street Station (UMS) will have a connection to the Powell Street Station.  It might take a little time to transfer, but all connections and transfers are within the underground mezzanine level.  The illustrated diagram of the UMS/Powell Street Station connection indicates that the walk will be short. UMS/Powell Street Connection
Traveling on the subway by going either direction will reduce travel time and it will bypass surface congestion on Stockton Street.

2)       What are the benefits of taking the bus from North Beach and transferring to the T line in Chinatown, and would surface buses disappear when Central Subway begins service?

The benefit of taking the subway or transferring is that it reduces travel time.  Surface buses will have more frequent stops and they will continue to operate along the route in order to accommodate shorter distance travelers, whereas the light rail tunnel operation will serve those traveling longer distances.  Muni customers will have the option to take surface buses or subway to their desired destination.  Similar to what our patrons currently experience on Market Street. The surface buses will not disappear.

17 November 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Thank You to Our Supporters

The Central Subway project team would like to express our gratitude to the entire San Francisco community for your continued support.  Over the past few years, many friends have demonstrated their support by writing letters (link to PDF), attending public meetings and providing input, which we value highly.  From SoMa to North Beach and beyond, we are fortunate to have numerous individuals and organizations who advocate on behalf of the project, including the following

Two thumbs up for Central Subway from our supporters

Two thumbs up for Central Subway from our supporters

We would also like to recognize members (link to PDF) of our Community Advisory Group (CAG), whose knowledge of community issues, feedback, attendance at hearings and meetings has been instrumental in the planning process.

If you’re interested in joining the Central Subway CAG and would like to participate in the next planning phase of the project, please review the CAG Guidelines (link to PDF) and email Central <dot> Subway @ SFMTA <dot> com.  We’d also like to invite you to attend the next CAG meeting on Thursday, November 19th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 821 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.  Visit our Facebook page for more details.

11 November 2009 ~ 3 Comments

Response to Beyond Chron Editorial

This response was originally posted on Beyond Chron (November 10).

To the Editor:

Thank you for posting Peter Lauterborn’s thoughtful Central Subway guest editorial on November 4.  Mr. Lauterborn asked some great questions, and I would like to share additional insights from a project planning perspective.

Where are the plans for the North Beach Extension?

Currently, plans for a North Beach extension, or Phase 3, of the Central Subway are preliminary and would benefit greatly from a formal public approval process. In 1998, Jackson Street was the environmental limit line, where the Central Subway terminus station is located. The project does include a provision to extend the tunnels (for construction purposes only) from Chinatown to North Beach, where the tunnels will daylight and the tunnel boring machines can be extracted in North Beach.  An extension of the current Central Subway, or a Phase 3 project, requires a separate planning study and a separate funding request process – Phase 2 and Phase 3 cannot be built at the same time.

Rendering of Union Square/Market Street Station

Rendering of Union Square/Market Street Station

Why not opt for shallower & more accessible tunnels?

Several construction alternatives were studied and more information on the options can be found in the environmental document.  Deep tunneling has great potential for controlling project costs by minimizing surface construction disruption, reducing utility relocations and shortening construction delivery times.  The only visible tunneling activity will occur at the portal construction location (Fourth Street between Bryant and Harrison Streets) and at the TBM extraction site (Columbus Avenue at Union Street).  A combination of cut and cover, and mined excavation will be used for the construction of the subway stations.  Stations will have elevator, escalator or stairway access.

How is the future Geary Street light rail being optimized?

In partnership with SFMTA, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) is leading the planning phase for transit improvements along Geary Boulevard, including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and they completed a feasibility study in 2007.  For more information on the project, visit their Web site.  The Central Subway design will allow for a future non-revenue tunnel connection to a future Geary Subway near the vicinity of the Union Square/Market Street Station on Geary or Post St. This will allow for vehicles operating on a future Geary Line to have access to the Central Subway maintenance facility.  A mezzanine connection in the vicinity of the Union Square/Market Street Subway Station is possible to allow for a passenger connection to a future Geary Line.

Construction of the Central Subway is scheduled to begin with utilities relocation in early 2010.

For more information on project, please visit our Web site and connect with us on Twitter.


John Funghi, SFMTA Central Subway Program Manager

10 November 2009 ~ 0 Comments


Welcome to the official Central Subway project blog!

We intend for this blog to serve as a forum for open communication with Muni customers and public transit enthusiasts, so we welcome your questions and encourage feedback.  For the latest Central Subway news and updates, check back often (or subscribe to the blog) and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not familiar with the project, we’ve outlined the basics below.  If you need more information, check out our updated Web site or leave us a comment.

The Central Subway

The Central Subway, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) project, is a rail restoration initiative that will reinstate a north/south rail connection for the City. Up until 1951, San Francisco enjoyed north/south rail service in the early 1900’s, similar to the east/west subway on Market Street that we use today.

Central Subway Alignment

A critical transportation improvement, the Central Subway links neighborhoods in the southeastern part of San Francisco with the

retail and employment centers downtown and in Chinatown, and will provide much needed and improved transportation service to an under-served portion of the City.  Fifty percent of the residents along the entire T Third line are without access to a vehicle and that number jumps to sixty percent for the residents along the Central Subway corridor.  The bus routes (30, 45 and 9x – the 9x is scheduled to become 8x in December) currently serving Chinatown are overcrowded and the corridor is severely congested.  The Central Subway will reduce surface congestion and provide faster service between Caltrain and Chinatown.

Project Funding

The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion that would otherwise not likely be invested in San Francisco.  The funding breakdown by source follows:

  • Federal contribution: $948.4 million
  • State contribution: $342 million
  • Local contribution: $287.9 million

The federal funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program, and these funds can only be allocated to the designated project.


The current timeline is:

  • Early 2010                 FTA Entry into Final Design approval
  • Early 2010                 Begin Construction – Utilities Relocation
  • 2009 – 2013              Final Design
  • Spring 2012               Full Funding Grant Agreement
  • 2010 – 2017              Construction
  • 2018                          Begin Service

We want to hear from you.

Seriously, we really want to hear from you!  Please contact us with any questions:

  • Visit our web site (www.sfmta.com/central)
  • Connect with us online: Twitter (@Central_Subway) and Facebook
  • Email Central <dot> Subway @ sfmta <dot> com with specific questions
  • Call the project information hotline: 415-701-4371
  • Attend the Community Advisory Group’s (CAG) quarterly meetings
  • Mailing address: Central Subway Project Office, 821 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103