SFMTA considering different options for Central Subway work in North Beach

Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt
Muni is exploring new options for retrieving tunneling equipment in or near North Beach, including one that could save the agency $23 million while keeping the machinery underground indefinitely.

As part of its $1.6 billion Central Subway project, which will extend underground Metro service from South of Market to Chinatown, Muni wants to extract a tunnel-boring machine through Columbus Avenue. Preparation for that process began this year and will be finished by Thanksgiving 2013.
But local business owners and residents, backed by Supervisor David Chiu, oppose the project, saying the work will increase traffic congestion and hurt local businesses. To appease such concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has devised four alternatives… (more)
We attended the meeting and taped it. See Supervisor Chiu’s statement:
http://www.sfenuf.net/Media.html
My favorite exchange of the evening, which pretty much sums it up why no one trusts the SFMTA – “How can you aim a tunnel if you don’t know where it is going?, Ed’s answer, “Great point.”

Community Meeting on Alternatives to Planned Central Subway Tunnel Boring Machine Extraction in North Beach

Please Come to a Community Meeting on Alternatives to Planned Central Subway Tunnel Boring Machine Extraction in North Beach
Monday, Nov. 19th at 7:30 pm at Tel-Hi Gym
North Beach Community Meeting with MTA on possible alternatives to planned extraction of Central Subway tunnel boring machines on Columbus Ave.
Monday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tel-Hi Neighborhood Center Gymnasium, 555 Chestnut St., or enter at 660 Lombard (Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center)
We have received a notice that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency & Supervisor David Chiu will be hosting a discussion on Monday, November 19th about possible alternatives to bringing the Central Subway boring machines out of the ground on Columbus at Washington Square Park.
View the MTA notice here: Central Subway Community Meeting Notice

THD and many others have been seeking alternatives to having the current Central Subway construction disruption to the heart of North Beach on Columbus Avenue continue for the next two years in order to extract the tunnelling equipment there, especially in light of the fact that the nearest subway station would be nearly a 1/2 mile away at Washington & Stockton.
Last week, THD and North Beach Neighbors sent a joint letter to the SFMTA asking why they have failed to thoroughly study alternatives to the highly disruptive Central Subway construction in North Beach as was promised.  View that letter here:  THD & NBN Joint Letter on Central Subway Construction. Download pdf flyer.

Please come to the community meeting on Monday evening to listen, ask questions, and help keep the pressure on the SFMTA & Supervisor Chiu to fulfill their promise of finding a less disruptive method of completing the Central Subway Project.
Mike Sonn, Chair, Transportation Committee – Mike.Sonn@thd.org
Telegraph Hill Dwellers , www.THD.org

Related rail story:
Obama’s New Cabinet Can Make Trains Run on Time
Plans were announced the day of the meeting on sf.streetsblog.org

Dollars into rails

By Eric Young : bizjournals.com – excerpt

Two major transit projects already under way depend on federal money that’s not certain

The fate of two major San Francisco transportation projects appears to hang in the balance in Washington, D.C.
Both the Central Subway and the state’s high-speed rail project, which would terminate in San Francisco, have budgets that are heavily reliant on major chunks of taxpayer money coming from Washington, D.C.
The Central Subway has budgeted some $983 million of its $1.5 billion budget — about 65 percent — to come from the feds. Meanwhile the California High-Speed Rail Authority is banking on about $42 billion from federally controlled dollars toward the overall price tag of $68 billion,…

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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.”

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