Letter to NBBA Members, re: Central Subway Project

northbeachbusinessassociation.com – excerpt

Dear Members,

You may have been approached and told that the North Beach Business Association is not actively involved in fighting the proposed extraction of the Central Subway machinery scheduled to take place in the heart of North Beach.


When the MTA gave  the first North Beach merchant presentation to the NBBA in May, we were also the first to sound the alarm about the potential devastation that the project would cause in our neighborhood. We rushed to immediately schedule a general meeting, co-sponsored, with the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, so that all of you would have the opportunity to hear the details of the extraction project. Many of you attended this joint meeting which then led to additional meetings regarding the project.

Since then, NBBA board members have been in constant contact with Supervisor Chiu’s office, working with him to try and find a satisfactory alternative which would not destroy the economy of our neighborhood for a minimum of two years. We have also attended every neighborhood meeting regarding the situation.  We would like to thank Marc Bruno for his leadership in organizing meetings and doing extensive research on the subject of the Central Subway extraction project. His participation has been invaluable .

After much discussion and soul searching, the NBBA has concluded that it may very well be necessary for a lawsuit be filed to force the City to conduct a new Environmental Impact Review for the extraction process as the original one does not adequately address the potential impact this project will have on North Beach. To this end, we have decided to provide funds to retain the law firm of Susan Brandt-Hawley, a well-known lawyer who works exclusively on environmental cases such as ours. She has an amazing track record. If you are interested in researching her, her firm’s website is preservationlawyers.com


Utility relocation starting in North Beach on August 13

Central Subway construction will take place on this block of Columbus Avenue near Washington Square Park.

Construction associated with the Central Subway tunnel will begin August 13 in North Beach. The work involves relocating utility lines on a half-block section of Columbus Avenue between Union and Powell streets.

The Central Subway tunnel is planned to extend past the last station in Chinatown to North Beach. When tunneling is complete, the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be removed from the ground on Columbus Avenue. The utility work is expected to take approximately four months to complete and is required to prepare for construction of the TBM retrieval shaft.

Surface construction activity will be take place on Columbus Avenue between Union and Powell streets, with some work at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Union Street. Construction hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To mitigate construction impacts, street sweeping will occur on a daily basis, dust and noise will be monitored and controlled, and a traffic control officer and a flagger will facilitate the flow of traffic during work hours…


North Beach Central Subway Lawsuit Hopes To Derail Multi-Million Dollar Construction Project

By Aaron Sankin : Huffingtonpost.com – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — A coalition of North Beach residents and neighborhood merchants filed a lawsuit last week attempting to block construction of the Central Subway they fear will disrupt the neighborhood for years to come.

Starting later this month, crews will begin digging a very large hole in the commercial heart of the bustling, historically Italian-American neighborhood. Even though the nearest station for the long-planned extension of the T-Third line is half a mile away in Chinatown, transportation officials will close multiple lanes on a stretch of Columbus Avenue between Powell and Union streets in order to create a pathway for the boring machines employed in the project…

Interestingly, some doubt SFMTA’s motives in extracting the machines in North Beach, positing that the plan all along will be to extend the subway all the way up to Washington Square. SF Weekly reports: Critics of the Central Subway accuse Muni of attempting to have its tunnel and bore it, too. If Muni is really committed to spending upward of $70 million to recover whatever fraction of the machines’ $24 million sticker price it can recoup, then it’s guilty of bad math, charges transit expert and former Muni engineer Jerry Cauthen. And if Muni is attempting to bore a tunnel and create a large cement footprint that will serve as the future site of the as-yet unfunded proposal to extend the Central Subway to North Beach, it’s doing so ahead of conducting necessary environmental procedures. “To me,” says Cauthen, “this is an extension they are trying to cover by saying it’s an extraction location.”