Hearings Begin About New S.F. Subway To Chinatown

<p>The $1.4 billion, 5.1 mile Central Subway connecting the Caltrain Depot at Third and King Streets to Chinatown, is projected to be completed by 2016. Most of the funding has been secured and community meetings will start Oct. 17.</p>
October 15, 2006, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The Central Subway will be The City's first new subway since the old Boeing light rail cars entered service under Market Street in 1980.

"The Central subway is actually an extension of a soon-to-be opened new Third Street Light Rail, which runs from Bayshore Boulevard in Vistacion Valley (by the Bayshore Caltrain station) to the Caltrain depot. The $667 million light-rail project, which has been delayed for a year and a half, is launching with weekend rides Jan. 13, with full operation beginning April 7."

Travel time from Third and King Street to Chinatown, which takes 20 minutes by trolley coach (electrified buses via overhead catenary), is expected to be cut by more than half and only take seven minutes, according to John Fungi, MUNI project manager. It is expected to increase systemwide ridership by 21,000 people.

Muni said it still needs to close a $400 million funding shortfall, but the agency is confident it can reduce costs and increase projected retail revenue to close the gap.

Construction of the project is expected to take up to 10 years and some details remain unanswered. Issues such as where the Central Subway will be above and below ground, as well as locations of stops will be decided after a series of community meetings beginning Oct. 17.

The agency has tried to address concerns of Chinatown residents worried that digging under the streets would cause disruptions. New technology, such as using automated tunnel-boring machines, and new digging methods will minimize the disruption on the surface to mostly trucks hauling away material from the site, according to Fungi.

Thanks to ABAG-MTC Library

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Published on Friday, October 13, 2006 in San Francisco Examiner
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