Expect a face off over Central Subway at Wednesday meeting

C.W. Nevius : SFGate.com – excerpt

Jon Golinger, president of the North Beach neighborhood association the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, says he expects Wednesday night’s community meeting about the Central Subway to be “challenging.”
That’s one way of putting it. Asked what she expected, neighborhood activist Julie Christensen, who supports the subway, cracked, “I’m thinking a lynching. It could escalate to that.”
She’s kidding of course. But nearly everyone is expecting a packed house of 100 or more for the 6:30 meeting and you can bet some voices will be raised.
Now that the Municipal Transportation Agency has decided not to tear up Columbus Street to remove the massive digging machines, the focus shifts to tearing down the Pagoda Theater, a perennial eyesore, and pulling the machines out there.
Critics want to know how much this will cost, what provisions have been made to protect surrounding buildings, and how this will affect existing bus lines. And, of course, as Golinger admits, “Some people are opposed to the Central Subway no matter what.”…
Lee Goodin who jokingly calls himself the “Constant Cranky Curmudgeon,” has been peppering interested parties in North Beach with e-mails. When I asked him what he hoped to get from the meeting, Goodin was optimistic.
“MTA backed off on the middle of Columbus extraction. And they backed off on the Polk parking/bike thing. At least we can try to get them to back off on the North Beach extraction and bury the (machines) in Chinatown. Hope springs eternal.”… (more)


San Francisco Central Subway Plans Move Forward

SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is modifying part of its plan for the Central Subway Project that sparked opposition and lawsuits from North Beach residents. The original plan was to extract underground drilling equipment 2000 feet beyond the approved tunnel on Columbus Ave. between Filbert and Union Streets. Critics charged that that amounted to extending the subway without doing any environmental studies..
“I’m completely in support of the subway,” said Marc Bruno of Save North Beach, the organization filing a lawsuit against the project. “As soon as we know there won’t be any construction on Columbus [Ave.], we can retract the lawsuit…
Howard Wong from SaveMuni, the other group suing to stop the current project plan, says his concern is not just with the tourism traffic, but the projected change in demographic that could be brought on by the Central Subway…
“I do think moving construction to the Pagoda Theater as opposed to on Columbus Ave. is a better alternative,” Wong said. “But in the long run it is not beneficial to the city.”…   (more)

We were at the North Beach SFMTA Meeting and recorded the event. Clips are online for viewing here:  http://vimeo.com/groups/168462

SFMTA Central Subway Meeting clips

By Zrants – excerpt

Four clips from the SFMTA North Beach Subway November 19 meeting on vimeo. http://vimeo.com/groups/168462

Calls for North Beach Central Subway Station Intensify as Plans Evolve  
MTA supports Pagoda site for subway exit
A Central Subway North Beach Station? Not So Easy, Planners Say
Subway to North Beach is worth a try

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

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


Ferry Building sues to block 8 Washington development

By: Joshua Sabatini : SF Examiner – excerpt

The waterfront luxury condo development known as 8 Washington St. won City Hall approval, but the project is threatened by a possible ballot measure and now a lawsuit from the Ferry Building.

Equity Office Properties, the Ferry Building’s management company, filed a suit Friday against the development’s environmental impact report, arguing that it fails to adequately address parking and traffic….

…EOP spokesman Chuck Finnie said the development would eliminate parking promised by the Port of San Francisco at the time of the Ferry Building’s 2003 overhaul. He said the building needs an alternative parking solution since the garage will take years to be completed, at best.

“EOP is not in the parking business,” Finnie said. “We are in the Ferry Building business.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Elections is counting the signatures submitted for the referendum, a process both sides have been observing. If certified, it would end up on November’s ballot or the 2013 ballot, and the project would be on hold in the meantime…

Jon Golinger, president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers and leader of the referendum effort, said accusations of being misleading make no sense since signature gatherers showed signers a photo of the development.

As for business support, Golinger said the developer’s push for a height exemption created a diverse opposition coalition, which includes not only businesses but also tenant activists and neighborhood leaders.

“That’s how you run successful campaigns,” he said, “and that’s how you win an election.”…