SoMa Merchants Also Claim Losses Due to Central Subway Construction

: streetsblog – excerpt

But Will Less-Well-Organized Businesses Get Money from Mayor’s Newly Announced Program?

Business in San Francisco’s Chinatown could receive up to $10,000 from the city to help bring back customers ostensibly lost due to construction disruption from SFMTA’s subway project, according to a release from Mayor Lee’s office about a new “Central Subway Mitigation” program. Along the same tack, the mayor is asking SFMTA, Public Works, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to develop a Citywide Construction Mitigation Program.

Although the Central Subway Mitigation program is reportedly in response to lobbying from Chinatown advocates, businesses in Union Square and on 4th Street, along the subway’s route through the South of Market neighborhood, are equally impacted.

“Business is down forty percent,” said Angela Jigmed, owners of Panta Delux Cleaners on the corner of 4th and Bluxome. Her business has been there for ten years. “For us it’s been very hard. Customers can’t stop here because of the construction.”… (more)

What did we say yesterday? There is no way the city can afford to continue the pace it is on that is harming businesses all over the city. We are calling for a halt to new projects and planning and on-going contract negotiations for new capital projects until all holes in the ground are filled. If this is a radical approach, it is more pragmatic than the non-stop destruction of our streets that is killing our businesses. It is a lot cheaper and easier to do nothing than to be on constant damage control and the taxpaying citizens are not buying the more money needed to fix it excuse. They turned down the last request for increased taxes. If you agree send a message to City Hall to stop this madness.

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Central Subway Is Almost A Year Behind Schedule

: sfist – excerpt

All of San Francisco has been anxiously awaiting the completion of the $1.6 billion Central Subway, and the agonizing construction required to build it. But we’re going to have to wait just a little bit longer. Somewhere in heaven, Rose Pak is rolling her eyes.

The San Francisco Examiner brings us the disappointing news that the Central Subway project is projecting a 10-month delay and no one is willing to fess up to exactly why. Again, if Chinatown power broker, Central Subway enthusiast, and low-key world leader Rose Pak were still among the living, it’d already be open.

Catch up on the Central Subway drama with all of our previous coverage(more)

While a bunch of hard hats argue over who screwed up some pieces of paper, businesses are suffering because a bunch of jack-hammers are blocking their entrances, and everyone else is suffering because construction results in road closures and traffic delays and loud noise and dust. Construction on the Central Subway began in 1783 2012 and was expected to be completed on December 26, 2018. As of the most recent Project Management Oversight Committee monthly report on San Francisco’s albatross, the Central Subway will open on or around November 14, 2019…

If and when it is ever completed, the Central Subway will connect Chinatown with BART and a network of Muni subways. It will also solve world hunger and cure cancer… (more)

The Central Subway is a prime example of San Francisco’s new disruptive architectural form I call “restructionism”. The possibilities are endless. There is no beginning, only an endless effort to keep the project afloat for as long as possible. The artist is in a constant state of frenzied confusion, while everyone tries to guess the next move so they can get out of the way. As some have observed that is a billion-dollars-a-mile tunnel and counting.

RELATED:
San Francisco’s Central Subway Gets Delayed In Chinatown (includes video)

The Central Subway project and a planned ferry hold the key to neighborhood traffic in Mission Bay

By : bizjournals – excerpt

Imagine boarding a ferry in Oakland and emerging minutes later in Mission Bay. You get dinner, catch a Warriors game and enjoy a nightcap, all before returning home on the water. Or riding from the University of California, San Francisco, research campus straight up Fourth Street to Union Square on the city’s newest subway, a largely underground train.

With Mission Bay miles from any BART station, and no ferry service, getting in and out of the growing neighborhood today without getting snarled in heavy traffic is nearly impossible, public transit advocates say. The imminent relocation of the Golden State Warriors to the Chase Center in 2019 only makes public transportation improvements more urgent.

A couple of big transit projects in the works — a new subway line and a ferry landing — should offer some relief…

Most of the (Central Subway) work is happening below the street. The route will begin near the 4th street Caltrain station and stop at 4th and Brannan streets.. Future plans could extend it further north.

The Mission Bay Loop Project, which would allow trains to turn around during peak hours and special events, should be completed in July, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, the Port of San Francisco is moving forward on the design and environmental work for a ferry terminal and water taxi landing near the Chase Center, with the preferred location at the foot of 16th street. Ultimately, the goal is for passengers to travel directly to Mission Bay from the existing ferry terminals in Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and elsewhere, said Port Executive Director Elaine Forbes (more)

Rose Pak Vows City Hall Blockade To Stop Stockton Street Pedestrian Mall

: sfist – excerpt

Chinatown organizer and activist Rose Pak is much to thank for the Central Subway project, a $1.5 billion, 1.7-mile undertaking to connect Chinatown to Market Street that was pitched in part as compensation for the removal of the 1989 earthquake-damaged Embarcadero Freeway, which was a conduit to her sometimes isolated neighborhood. But to build the Central Subway, Stockton Street has been closed to cars, damaging Union Square surrounding businesses. To make up for that fact, for the last two years the city has paused construction annually and created a pedestrian space between Market and Union square covered in astroturf called the Stockton Street Winter Walk..

Just one problem: Rose Pak is a major obstacle to the plan, having written to SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin to criticize the idea in a letter obtained by Examiner at the end of last month. On behalf of the SF Chinese Chamber of Commerce, she claimed that a permanent pedestrian mall would “make permanent all the problems we’ve experienced,” which would be “unacceptable to our community.” As she told the Examiner with finality, “I consider the issue closed.”

“We have about 300 family associations, district associations, temples, churches,” Pak told CBS 5 with regard to the pedestrian mall. “Everybody is here. 100 percent of our businesses rely on delivery trucks. Look at Chinatown any hour. You can’t move.” Speaking of which, Pak will negotiate with a similar force. “Wait until I have my blockade of the MTA for a week and see how they like it,” she said. “We’ll have thousands of trucks and cars blockading the whole City Hall and MTA area for one week and see how they like it when no one can get in and out.” To clarify, “that’s a promise, not a threat,” Pak added…

However, “A lot of the merchants, a lot of the pedestrian activists and bike advocates are all saying this is something that would work,” the MTA’s Paul rose countered to CBS 5. Streetsblog appears to agree, pushing an effort to mobilize with a petition to move the pedestrian mall project along.

And, to touch on bicyclists, one prominent pro-bike voice, the parody account Bob Gunderson, has been “critical” of the Winter Walk, which is to say he’s clevelry promoted it. Gunderson’s blog, Dearest District 5, lampoons the likes of Rob Anderson, an actual opponent of bikes, by insisting that the Winter Walk has been a “carless nightmare.” In fact, “The Pedestrian Plaza was supposed to be all fun and games and a “relief from cars”, but it’s done nothing but tear apart families, ruin children’s dreams, and tank the Disney, Apple and Ferrari stores,” writes Gunderson. How long, surely he wonders, can this be permitted to endure?..(more)

 

Federal transit bill falls short, may impact SF transit projects

Vallejo Street Closure For Poets Plaza Now On Hold

hoodline – excerpt

The proposed temporary closure of Vallejo Street between Columbus and Grant avenues has been delayed for a second time, after neighbors showed up at a Sept. 24th hearing for the SFMTA’s Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation for Temporary Street Closures (ISCOTT) to express their concerns…

Kristen Foley, who’s lived in the neighborhood for six years, said she heard “quite a few” neighbors spoke out once again at the Sept. 24th meeting of ISCOTT, which approves or denies road closures. Someone put flyers on cars the previous weekend, she said, which got the word out and might’ve spurred attendance. Foley had previously told us that people who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood aren’t aware of the difficulties the closure will pose for drivers.

“If they did it with thought and weren’t being bullies about it to get someone’s pet project complete, it would make more sense to me,” Foley said. “I feel it would be a community decision, rather than just someone telling us this is going to happen. If they’re claiming this Poets Plaza is going to bring the community together, then why aren’t they involving the community it’s going to affect?”…

“I think there’s some growing concern about what emergency vehicles will have to do,” said Grant Miller, who lives in the neighborhood. He doesn’t have strong feelings about the plaza, but “I’ve heard it may delay response times up to several minutes, and that could be a legitimate concern.” On the other hand, “some people are very much in support of it. It could turn out to be beautiful. It depends on how they do it.” … (more)

S.F. Supervisor Scott Wiener Unveils His Subway Dream

By  : kqed – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is calling for the city to always have at least one subway under construction, an idea that would lead to billions of dollars in transit spending and, most likely, opposition from many residents and merchants.

Prompted by the region’s booming population and chronic traffic congestion, Wiener is introducing legislation Tuesday that would require the city to create a long-term policy for new underground train projects…

The legislation would create a Subway Master Plan that could include extending subway service to the western parts of San Francisco, currently served by above-ground light rail and bus lines….

“It’s a matter of funding and prioritization,” Rose wrote in an email. “We do support stronger transit especially where growth supports.”… (more)

RELATED:
San Francisco needs to keep those new subways coming
A couple of years ago, I was with my friend Adam when he made this simple declaration — “San Francisco should always have a subway under construction.” My first reaction was to think of every objection to the concept, but I quickly realized that the statement was both insightful and correct… Scott Wiener

Union Square merchants not digging new subway

It may have been the most fashionable meeting ever held at City Hall — as representatives of Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Barneys New York, Dior, Bulgari and Arthur Beren Shoes met Wednesday with Mayor Ed Lee to tell him that the Central Subway construction was killing some of Union Square’s best-known high-end stores.

At issue is the tearing up of Stockton Street to make way for the Union Square Station — and the loss of parking, deafening noise and dust from the heavy machinery that go along with it. Combine those with narrow and often unlighted walkways in front of the stores, and customers are staying away in droves.

Lee promised a personal look at the situation, but overall the news was not encouraging… (more)

The Union Street merchants will probably want to vote No on A and B (to limit the damage SFMTA can do by limiting their funds) and Yes on L to restore sanity to the transportation system that is wreaking havoc in the city and will be the source of our downfall. http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Pelosi, Lee tout Central Subway as model economic development project

By sfexaminer – excerpt

The yearslong creation of the Central Subway is a prime example of how large infrastructure projects in cities can boost the economy, create local jobs and increase commerce in the U.S., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.

Amid the roar of construction of Muni’s future Yerba Buena-Moscone station, Pelosi, Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Transportation Director Ed Reiskin touted The City as a key pillar of the Middle Class Jumpstart agenda launched by House Democrats last month to ensure “good-paying jobs” for workers nationwide… (more)

If incumbent Democrats claim that controversial projects like the Central Subway are a good way to generate jobs around the country they are in trouble.

They will have a hard time convincing transit riders faced with higher fees and cutbacks in Muni services and maintenance.

Forget counting on any further support from California motorists who are being gouged by higher fines, fees and an increase in the state gas tax, (unless a bill now running in Sacramento passes in time to save them).

Everyone who is trying to get anywhere on the jammed streets in San Francisco, LA, and elsewhere in California cities where local authorities have implemented restricted parking and traffic policies before establishing workable alternative transit systems.

The major benefactors of these projects are the land owners along the transit corridors who have all their building height limits lifted and the banks and bond holders.

And some of the young, fit, cyclists who demand more bike lanes but refuse to stay in the ones they have.

Number-Crunched: For LaVonda Atkinson, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

Soft Corruption Blues: In San Francisco, Some Wrongs Are Too Big to Make Right

Last week, on the very day the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency ginned up a campaign to charm voters on a $500 million Muni bond, LaVonda Atkinson and her husband signed a clutch of papers, and mailed them off.

It was their declaration of bankruptcy.

The former cost engineer for Muni’s Central Subway project took a leave of absence last month out of frustration that the agency is “ripping off the taxpayers.” In an April SF Weekly cover story and a whistle-blower complaint with the city controller’s office, she elucidated just how…

In her personal life, making the numbers add up requires more than retroactively doctoring the spreadsheets and entering zeroes in the right columns.

Atkinson — employed by a subcontractor to a Muni subcontractor — was spurned in her attempts to stay attached to the Central Subway project and keep an eye on things. Instead, she last week returned to work, part time, and perused BART-related finances.

In the future, Atkinson says she hopes to pen an academic monograph on the sorrow and the pity of the Central Subway. She’d also like to write a study of the effects whistle-blowers have had in righting the course of wayward capital projects.

Time will tell how her own chapter unfolds… (more)

SFMTA claims crime is down on Muni, but it appears to be rising on the Central Subway project, if these claims of cooked books are valid.

There are a few brave souls out there who are trying to Fix the MTA. Let’s hope that LaVonda pens a best-seller. We all can benefit from closer scrutiny on the city agency with the largest most fungible budget. Concerned citizens are uniting to challenge the beast at the ballot box. The lastest effort kicks off on Saturday: Support the November Ballot initiative: Restore Transportation Balance