North Beach wants holiday halt to subway work

Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

With the holiday season here, the Municipal Transportation Agency has paused some of the most visible and disruptive construction of the Central Subway in Union Square.
The long-closed stretch of Stockton Street between Geary and Market streets has been opened to relieve traffic – and pedestrian – congestion during the busy holiday shopping season.
But hey! What about us? say subway opponents and some business owners in North Beach and Chinatown…
No North Beach Dig held news conferences in Chinatown and North Beach on Tuesday to call for a holiday construction moratorium in North Beach as well, saying businesses near construction sites are seeing business drops as big as 50 to 70 percent during a busy time of the year, according to Howard Wong, another No North Beach Dig member.
“Union Square managed to get a moratorium and we did not,” Carnes said.
Not so, said Paul Rose, an MTA spokesman. All construction in North Beach was halted over Thanksgiving weekend, he said, and the same construction plan that pauses construction in Union Square for the holidays also stops work in the right-of-way at Columbus and Union streets in North Beach.
However, work in the parking lot of the Bank of America at 1455 Stockton St. and at the former site of the Pagoda Theatre at 1731-1741 Powell St., across the street from Washington Square, continue – with work hours extending to 11 p.m.
The complaining, of course, also continues… (more)

2 Neighborhoods – Different Treatments

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Stop subway construction during the holidays.

I Think I Con, I Think I Con: Muni Spends Millions to Connect to a Nonexistent Rail Line

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

Along with the Hogwarts Express and Polar Express, California’s proposed High-Speed Rail line is quickly becoming one of the world’s most illustrious imaginary train lines.
A pair of rulings last week from a Sacramento judge potentially broke the back of the long-gestating, fantastically expensive train project; the state High-Speed Rail Authority was prevented from selling $8 billion in bonds, and also found to have no inkling how the $68 billion endeavor would be funded. Those crippling blows come on the heels of August rulings against the High-Speed Rail Authority for failing to pony up $25 billion in initial funding and neglecting to undertake onerous environmental studies over the course of hundreds of miles of potential tracks.
As a pot-sweetener for local transit agencies, along with the billions in state High-Speed Rail dollars voters approved in 2008, some $950 million was earmarked for regional projects providing “connectivity” to the future bullet train. Muni was allotted $61.3 million of that pile for work on the Central Subway project. In bagging that money, it executed a neat trick: It applied “connectivity” funds to a project critics claim actually reduces connectivity to the potential High-Speed Rail line — a line that, increasingly, seems fated to never exist beyond renderings, watercolors, and huge vats of receipts…
Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose blithely assures SF Weekly that last week’s legal stake through High-Speed Rail’s heart won’t affect the millions set aside locally to connect to the doomed line…
“The connectivity funds are already in hand,” continues Rose, “and the recent ruling will not have an impact on the Central Subway project.”
Being showered with scores of millions in state funds to provide less access to an imaginary railroad certainly sounds like something out of a fantasy. But it turns out that, not only is reality stranger than fiction — it’s more expensive, too… (more)