Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Not extending the Central Subway past Chinatown would be criminally stupid

Even as we speak, massive tunnel boring machines are rumbling beneath our feet in a dystopian future straight from the original Schwarzenegger "Total Recall."  Wait, no, that went off track somewhere.  The tunnel boring machines are actually down there, but they're digging a tunnel from SOMA to Chinatown to make the new Central Subway.  And like virtually everything else San Francisco city government is involved in, they're fucking it up.


OK, we've got stations at 4th and Brannan, 4th and Folsom, Market Street, and Chinatown.  And that's it.  Oh, the machines will keep on tunneling, for sure, and emerge from the ground in North Beach, but you better sit down because you will not believe this shit.  At the spot where they come out of the ground, in North Beach, a densely populated neighborhood with no Muni Metro service?  NO STATION.  Just a hole in the ground.

Fuck, I would happily trudge down into a dirt hole to get the train if I lived in North Beach.  Forget the station, just leave the fucking hole open and lay some tracks out there and we'll make do.

Seriously, another SF decision that makes no fucking sense.  Luckily, someone's trying to do something about it:

But supporters of an extension, who are operating under the name SF NexTstop (the capital T, cleverly, is for the T line that will run in the subway), say taking the line north to the wharf makes sense.
"Without this last link, the Central Subway can never fully deliver on its promises of connectivity, improved commerce or reductions in surface congestion," the group says in a statement on its website ( "We need to complete the Central Subway."
The group, which includes members of community groups from Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Russian Hill, and South Beach as well as the Chamber of Commerce, assembled last year after SPUR - the San Francisco urban planning nonprofit - conducted a workshop on the possibility of extending the subway to the wharf.
"The consensus was, yeah, we've got to build it - now," said Julie Christensen, a North Beach resident and the group's spokeswoman. "We decided we needed to get out there and advocate."
Godspeed, NexTstop.  I hope to God someone listens to you.  Because it really really does not make sense to dig a tunnel all the way to Washington Square and then just say "Fuck it" and walk away.  This is stupid even by San Francisco standards, and that's really saying something.

But hey, maybe the Board of Supervisors can get that damn soda tax passed instead.  Priorities!

PROGRAMMING NOTE: We are off to the subcivilized hellscape known as "Arizona" tomorrow to see Moms.  This may occasion a disruption in blogging services, especially if I hang myself in the hotel bathroom.


Civic Center said...

The Central Subway has never made any kind of sense other than as a pork-filled payoff from Willie Brown, Jr. to Rose Pak with lots of federal money thrown into the mix. Glad to hear somebody is saying that if we're going to spend umpteen billions of dollars on this absurdity, let us at least extend the line and have it be useful as public transportation.

And good luck with the Mom of Arizona.

Erik said...

The trick is to realize that the purpose of the project isn't to expand our transit network, it is to provide a handout to businesses in Chinatown: a customer shuttle service. It was promised to them >20 years ago in exchange for them not killing the Embarcadero freeway removal project.

TK said...

Michael - Thanks, and yeah, whatever the initial impetus was, as long as you're down there, KEEP DIGGING

Erik - I knew that Chinatown merchants were completely opposed to the Embarcadero teardown (remember the banging post & pans protest?) but I didn't know this was a quid pro quo. Why are their customers coming from SOMA, anyway? Seems like a line from the Richmond to Chinatown would make more sense.

Tamagosan said...

What Michael and Erik said, plus the serious North Beach NIMBY situation. To make this even more SF, I hope that the Lou Seal mural on the Pagoda non-station is saved. At least we got that cool Burrito Justice tunnel-boring post out of the whole deal.

Anonymous said...

The first rule of tunnel boring machines: NEVER TURN OFF YOUR TUNNEL BORING MACHINE

Also: loop the T-Third down Divis. Thanks, I'll be here all week, tip your tunnel borer.

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