February 4, 2013
Demolition Of Derelict North Beach Pagoda Theater Set For Approval
The rehabilitation and rebuilding of the gutted and long blighted North Beach Pagoda Theater was first approved in 2008, with plans to convert the theater into 18 condos over two ground floor commercial spaces and parking for 27 cars.
Seeking to quell the concerns of North Beach merchants and residents who would be disrupted by the digging up of Columbus Avenue in order to extract the tunnel boring machines for San Francisco's Central Subway project, Muni now plans to the raze the Pagoda Theater, extend the subway tunnel to the Columbus and Powell Street site, and extract all the machinery from there.
Following the extraction of the boring machines, an all new five-story building with 18 dwelling units over a single 4,700 square foot restaurant and parking for 27 cars, but no new Subway station, would be allowed to rise on the site at the same height and configuration as the previously-approved rehabilitation project, since dubbed The Palace at Washington Square:
San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to vote on approvals for the project this week.
Demolition of the existing theater is expected to take 4 months with 6 months to construct the extraction shaft and 5 months to extract the machinery and close the shaft, for a total of at least 15 months before construction on "The Palace" could begin.
∙ Inside The “Landmark” Pagoda Theater (And Tussle) In North Beach [SocketSite]
∙ A Plan For San Francisco's Central Subway To Stop In North Beach [SocketSite]
∙ Pagoda Theater Preview (And Signs Of Progress All Around) [SocketSite]
First Published: February 4, 2013 4:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Wow, so they're going to drill all the way out to North Beach, something that might actually make the cost of this project worthwhile to somebody other than the Chinatown lobby, but then once there they'll simply extract the machines and fill in the hole behind them without extending the subway itself.... holy... just... whoa...
Posted by: TJ at February 4, 2013 4:21 PM
Amazing that it required a giant sandworm to finally take this derelict building down.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 4, 2013 4:30 PM
You mean to say that the drilling will go to North Beach, but subway access will only extend to Chinatown? Is this a cost issue, or a NIMBY issue? If cost, then forego fancy above-ground station construction and simply make a substation with stairs to the street (a la NYC). If it's a NIMBY thing, then we have to work harder. This district needs a first-rate transit corridor. Come on, people, this line could eventually extend to the Richmond, and actually be worth a Damn!
Posted by: Miah at February 4, 2013 4:34 PM
Wait, so is there the possibility of a subway station here in the future? Or does this development preclude that possibility?
How absurd could the city possibly be to spend billions on a oddly placed subway line, dig to North Beach, and then not secure funding to actually place a station there.
Posted by: Sam at February 4, 2013 4:38 PM
A simple stairway to the tunnel would be illegal under current ADA laws. You need an elevator or you are not in compliance.
Posted by: Mark at February 4, 2013 4:48 PM
Also, Im confused on the height here. The article seems to say it's a 5 story building. The drawing doesn't reflect this, what am I missing?
[Editor's Note: The two-story restaturant and the fifth story which is setback from the street and rendering above.]
Posted by: Sam at February 4, 2013 4:50 PM
They don't have the funding for a North Beach station, and it would have to go through the usual planning before they could even seek funding.
Now why they aren't doing the necessary steps to get the planning done for a NB stop, and then seek funding is certainly a mystery, as it is so obviously a good idea to add this stop.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 4, 2013 5:04 PM
Guys guys guys.
We are supposed to be saving money so we can get to Los Angeles by HOVERCRAFT. Wait, not hovercraft, I mean high speed rail. And not to Los Angeles, to partway through the central valley, to Fresno er something.
That's money well spent.
Posted by: soccermom at February 4, 2013 5:12 PM
A NB variant was already in the central subway plans. I thought it was just a matter of funding the station at Washington Sq that was at issue.
Posted by: Rick at February 4, 2013 5:32 PM
HSR is going to LA, and has nothing to do with this project... and yes it is money that will be well spent on a critical element of CA's infrastructure.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 4, 2013 5:53 PM
I think the point is, you have to dig further than the last stop in order to extract the machines. So if you want a station at Washington Sq, then where are they going to extract the machines? Fishy Wharf? Imagine digging to there and not putting a stop near Pier 39, how would that be received?
What I don't get is, why not leave the machines underground where they could be ready to dig further once funding for the next stage would be approved? In the grand scheme of things, are those machines really that valuable? If the line could eventually extend to the Marina and/or Richmond District that would be a huge win. If it never happens, so be it, but leave the option open.
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 4, 2013 5:55 PM
One of the options is to leave them underground, but that actually becomes more expensive as they then have to buy the machine from the contractor, and they will likely get some serious damage sitting under ground from moisture. It would probably be impossible to do the necessary repairs underground, so they would then have to be brought up anyway to be fixed. Those machines generally cost tens of millions of dollars.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 4, 2013 6:05 PM
Sounds great. What with the high speed rail, we should also be taking a look at how rotary dial telephones that spin backwards faster, and typewriters that are powered by electricity can improve our productivity.
Posted by: soccermom at February 4, 2013 8:17 PM
@Soccermom, maybe we could sell the machine to Fresno so they could complete the HSR line to Disneyland?
But to be a bit more serious, it seems sad that it takes a billion dollar subway to nowhere to finally get this derelict building torn down.
Does this new line still have no connection to BART and MUNI at Market Street?
Only in San Francisco
Posted by: astonished at February 4, 2013 8:25 PM
HSR cracks me up... Maybe we can finally catch up to 1964 Japan. I just spent a month in NY and did all my meetings in SF via Skype and Facetime. Technology has pretty much rendered the business commute b/w LA and SF irrelevant. Who is really going to be using this? Also, one workers strike and the whole thing goes into massive debt. Should be fun.
Thank Jeebus, the Pagoda is going down, but I'll believe it when I see it. Also, the Metro (?) theater on Union has finally been gutted!! The progress is frightening me!
Posted by: Denis at February 4, 2013 8:30 PM
So soccermom's somewhat bizarre comment is trying to suggest that high speed rail is somehow primitive technology pointlessly dressed up. And also the Republican fake talking point that the train is only going to Fresno.
I don't have much sympathy for fake, bad faith arguments like those, and I imagine few here do. If you are going to argue against HSR, try to make real arguments, about things like grade separations on the peninsula, or inflated ridership estimates. Which are valid issues, though in my opinion the project is still a visionary scheme which our kids will thank us for....
But leave off with the Fox News BS, here at least.
Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2013 8:30 PM
Also, people who call this the "subway to nowhere" are just being obtuse: Chinatown is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the united states. Of course the train should go to north beach and the marina too, for us white people. But there are something like 700 people per BLOCK living in parts of Chinatown, hard as that is to believe. Just cause you ain't one of em doesn't mean this is a subway to nowhere.
Posted by: Jack at February 4, 2013 8:38 PM
Well said Jack... it's certainly frustrating when there are legitimate concerns worth discussing, but all the opposition can come up with are fabricated issues without any weight to them.
If you want to oppose HSR, come up with some legitimate issues, and preferably discuss them in threads at all related to HSR. This is the central subway, a completely different project, with it's own issues worth debating.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 4, 2013 10:54 PM
Nonsense. Chinatown's density is not the reason for the central subway project, but rather because of a deal brokered long ago with Chinatown merchants and developers in exchange for tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 89 earthquake. This poorly planned subway was nothing more than "a frenzy of federal fund-chasing" where "salesmanship was placed ahead of analysis and data-manipulation ahead of objectivity."
As has been listed MANY times before on this site, the Central Subway could become one of the great transit planning failures because of no ease of connection to Market Street BART and MUNI lines, and because perceived travel times from Chinatown to Union Square/Market will be longer on the Central Subway vs taking a bus and because of inflated ridership figures.
The roughly 16,000 residents living in the 22 square blocks of "Chinatown" could each be given $80,000.00 plus you would have more than enough left over to purchase new and additional bus vehicles and to create new dedicated bus lanes and drop offs which could transport more people faster, connect to Market Street lines, AND cause less construction chaos to the neighborhood. Subways are not always the answer for better transit.
Posted by: astonished at February 5, 2013 1:43 AM
So here is my proposal to make room for a station entrance without involving Parkland or private property. tell me what you think:
Reconfigure the intersection where Columbus meets Filbert and Powell, by closing the small section of Powell between the other two streets. This will connect the small existing traffic triangle to the larger block containing Washington Square. Place the main Muni subway entrance on the new real estate.
This has the added bonuses of giving direct access to the park, prevents additional foot traffic needing to cross Columbus, and it will not require a narrowing of Columbus itself. The nearby intersection of Columbus and Filbert can be reconfigured to allow for easier right turns, and while it would mean that Powell would be cut in two, unless there is some reason this is a terrible thing, I see no reason not to do it.
Posted by: Adam at February 5, 2013 1:47 AM
As a commuter from my part-time job on Chestnut St. to my full-time job on Mission and 2nd I have to deal with the pains and aches of the 30-Stockton on a regular basis. Taking the bus through crowded NB and northern Chinatown to Washington/Clay, get off, descend over a 100 feet to the station platform, wait for a train only to get off one station later is pure planning brilliance. The funny thing is that the Stockton tunnel is over half the distance between the Union Sq. and Chinatown stations. Once you get past the Sacramento St. bus stop you hit Stockton and Sutter in less than a minute. The bottlenecks are further north in parts of the city that the subway won't even reach.
But that's our wonderful transit planning at its best.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 10:01 AM
I bet the building does not go down until after Peskin (aka "The Mayor of North Beach") is dead...
> So soccermom's somewhat bizarre comment
> is trying to suggest that high speed rail
> is somehow primitive technology
Humans have been moving heavy loads on tracks for more than 400 years, so saying that railroads are not "primitive technology" is "bizarre"...
High speed rail makes sense in Europe and Japan since it does not cost Billions and Billions to replace LSR with HSR just like it would make sense to pull Ethernet cable through conduit if you already had the conduit with copper wire in it. If you have a big old house without any way to pull Ethernet it is more cost effective to put in Wi-Fi than to rip up the entire house just like it is more cost effective with a big old state without a network of LSR to just fly rather than ripping up the entire state and putting in HSR.
Posted by: FormerAptBroker at February 5, 2013 11:14 AM
"The bottlenecks are further north in parts of the city that the subway won't even reach."
Thank you Mark! It makes you wonder if any of the planners use public transportation in this area at all? As you mentioned above, "Taking the bus through crowded NB and northern Chinatown to Washington/Clay, get off, descend over a 100 feet to the station platform, wait for a train only to get off one station later is pure planning brilliance".
And don't forget, this subway does NOT connect to Market Muni lines or to BART, so tell me again, why are we building this? Why were the SaveMuni alternatives not considered by SFMTA?
Posted by: SFMTAfedup at February 5, 2013 11:19 AM
so your argument is that since things have been moved on tracks for over 400 years that HSR is "primitive technology"?
The wheel has been around for thousands of years, does that mean anything that uses a wheel is even more primitive?
HSR, particularly that being planned for California, is state of the art technology. Pure and simple.
Back to the central subway, personally I think it's overly expensive, particularly given the flaws in the overall design, lack of connecting through to neighborhoods further west, and can not support long cars. I hope that it is extended reasonably quickly or it will be a big waste of money. Not to say that there are no benefits, but the costs are way out of line with the benefits as currently designed.
It's pretty hard to justify the cost of a subway for what is really a light rail system.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 5, 2013 12:04 PM
FormerAptBroker - HSR has stricter geometric criteria compared to LSR. Larger curve radii, flatter grades, etc. So you cannot simply lay HSR track down on the LSR right of way. Europe and Asia had to start over acquiring new land, grading the surface, building tunnels and bridges. Just like we will do in Calfornia.
If you look at a detailed map of a HSR route you'll see both the old LSR and new HSR tracks running roughly parallel. Except the new tracks are a lot straighter. Sometimes the LSR route remains in service to handle local traffic.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 5, 2013 12:55 PM
@SFMTAfedup: aside from the atrocious connection to the Powell St. station, the Union Square station has a major critical flaw in that there is absolutely no provision set aside for a future Geary line platform. Basically, MUNI is giving us both middle fingers by ignoring the need to have rail under Geary (BRT will not solve the problem) and skimping out on a North Beach station. The fact that North Beach was never included in phase two of the T line is evidence enough that the Chinatown terminus was politically motivated.
The problem with most transit planners is that they don't use transit.
As for cost of the CS...MUNI can't manage what is currently in place. Yesterday, two sets of double doors on one L train alone were broken. Train was taken out of service at West Portal after a 10 minute wait outside the station. Had the driver opened the functioning doors for us we could have transfered to 4 inbound trains. Today, another 10 minute wait at 19th Ave. when a set of doors failed. The driver didn't believe me when I said they wouldn't open for me from the outside when I pushed the button. My fault, of course. We've all endured these daily hassles, but when hassles turn into operating deficiencies and chronic systemside meltdowns then it's a no brainer that a $1.7 BILLION boondoggle is not worth the expense. Let's raise a toast to MUNI employees getting overtime for their birthdays. After all, they've earned it.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 1:50 PM
"so is there the possibility of a subway station here in the future? Or does this development preclude that possibility?"
Great question! The amendment to the EIS/EIR that came out this week explicitly addresses this and says that the proposed change in TBM extraction site does not interfere with future line extension or a potential North Beach station.
"And don't forget, this subway does NOT connect to Market Muni lines or to BART"
Not true. The underground concourse level for the Union Square/Market St. station will connect directly and seamlessly with the concourse level of the Powell station. Transfers between southbound T trains and Market St. trains will be about the same distance as between southbound 30/45 buses and Market Street trains (but without having to ascend to street level and negotiate crowded sidewalks, of course). OTOH, the transfer will be significantly shorter than the current surface walk between northbound 30/45 buses and Market Street trains (at Montgomery station).
"I don't have much sympathy for fake, bad faith arguments … and I imagine few here do."
As another poster said, well stated, Jack. I've long suspected that a lot of people who occasionally peruse these sorts of forums, and who would potentially contribute useful information and viewpoints, are deterred from participating by the snarkiness and cynicism that are so prevalent.
Posted by: AnotherMark at February 5, 2013 3:47 PM
I certainly wouldn't go as far to say the Powell St. and Union Square stations will be a seamless transition considering that outbound trains at Powell are at the western end of the platform. I personally don't have an issue with the walk having navigated Times Square/42nd St. maze for many years.
There was initial talk of doing a cut and cover tunnel so that the CS would pass over the existing Market St. subway very close to the surface, but MUNI decided that it was not feasible and it would create more disruptions than a tunnel boring machine 10 stories below the surface.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 4:26 PM
The cut and cover tunnel would solve many of the flaws of the Central Subway project. I also agree that it is not a "seamless' transition between this new subway and the Market platforms.
This is an incredibly expensive project to serve a neighborhood of 16,000 people, and would have been better spent serving the underserved western neighborhoods of the city. Worst of all, as mentioned above, I would not get off a bus just to ride this one stop to Union Square when I could stay on the bus and reach my Market Street Muni/Bart destination in less time.
The Central Subway was all about getting federal dollars and not about proper transit design.
Posted by: anon2 at February 5, 2013 4:44 PM
@anon: and don't forget about the direct transfer, or lack of one, to the 1-California since the station will be a couple blocks north of the bus line.
I'm working on a map that involves some suggestions I've been reading online about removing the Central Freeway, as well the more talked about removal of 280 back to 16th St. Okay, here goes...extend Octavia Blvd south along Division, build a mixed use destination (not complex) along both sides of Mission Creek (why not have our own riverwalk in one of the sunniest areas of town, accessible to transit and the ballpark), and build a circle line that makes the CS into something with more purpose.
First, extend the T through NB, to Aquatic Park, down Van Ness where it will branch to the west and end in the Presidio. The circle line will follow this route to Aquatic Park except it will continue down Van Ness with stops at Union, Sacramento/Clay, Geary, City Hall, Van Ness, along Division (Folsom and Showplace Square), and up King St. with a stop at 6th St. and surface to 4th St/Caltrain. All underground except for the portion between 4th/King and Moscone.
Clearly this would cost billions, but aren't we worth more than what we're getting? In many ways I feel cheated living in the Bay Area...an area with so much promise, yet fails to produce. Granted, my idea is full of flaws, but I'm trying to think outside of the box. I want to be able to use transit as much as possible, and feel proud by doing so. Let's face it, MUNI hasn't had a stellar track record of making the city proud of its transit system.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 5:36 PM
@Mark, extending the T through North Beach, Aquatic Park, Van Ness and to the Presidio would make too much sense. (You obviously do not work in SFMTA planning) Being able to access these desirable neighborhoods and cultural destinations would get me out of my car. Just reading your stops along the imaginary Van Ness line made me realize how important it is to build transit to places people actually want be in and go to.
I still believe that a BART style line out to the western neighborhoods would also completely transform the western side of the city.
Posted by: anon2 at February 5, 2013 6:05 PM
@anon2: I agree about serving the western neighborhoods more effectively, like a heavy rail sytem from the TT under Geary down Park Presidio/19th Ave. to Daly City BART, with a branch all the way down Geary to the ocean. I live in parkside and would love to have these transit options to get me around the city more efficiently and connect me faster to other Bay Area transit systems.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 6:46 PM
"considering that outbound trains at Powell are at the western end of the platform.:
-granted, Mark, although same applies to the current transfer from surface lines on Stockton, so it at least washes out in any comparison there. Of course, the stopping location (along the platform) for outbound Mkt. St. lines is not an engineering limitation so much as (presumably) wanting to put waiting passengers closer to the busier Hallidie Plaza entrance, as well as segregating the deboarding area for IB trains to limit platform congestion.
Naturally, being a policy/implementation decision, that could always change at some future point: one could envision, for example, an increased volume of riders entering at the eastern end of the platform dictating a rethinking of the OB stopping location.
The main reason I mentioned that the concourses will be connected (essentially one, continuous concourse between Geary/Stockton and 5th/Mkt.), allowing a fully underground transfer, is the misconception one sees not infrequently in forum discussions that "this subway does NOT connect to Market Muni lines or to BART." In its most extreme form, the myth persists (for some) that transferring will involve exiting way up at Union Square, walking 2 blocks on the surface down to Market Street, and reentering the subway there.
Where the connection really improves over the current transfer is in going from a Market Street MM line to a northbound bus/train. Currently, the easiest way to make the transfer to a NB 30/45 is to exit via Montgomery Stn. at New Montgomery and Market, walk west a half block on Mkt, south a half block on Annie, and west again a final half block on Stephenson to Third St. With the T-Third, the transfer will, instead, use that same underground concourse-to-concourse connection at base of the "Apple Store" station entrance.
I guess, however, that "seamless" is a bit relative: to me, at least, the all-underground connection looks pretty seamless, but that's just my take on it.
The most seamless, of course, is the sort of platform-to-platform interchange such as is seen at Toronto's Bloor-Yonge station (and other examples from around the world, but that one springs first to my mind). In that configuration, the new platform is built directly over or under the existing one such that the platforms form a cross; usually one line uses side platforms and the other a center platform, with direct stairs connecting the two levels. In SF's case, however, both the colocation of BART stations beneath MM stations, as well as the fact that neither the Montgomery nor the Powell MM platform directly crosses an obvious north-south routing across Market Street (such as Third-to-Kearny or Fourth-to-Stockton) nixes that ideal configuration. Re a potential shallow (i.e., at concourse level) crossing at Fourth and Stockton, I understand that there were multiple impediments: vertical clearance issues, surface disruption—not just to Stockton, which we will soon see anyways for the station box to get dug, but even significant disruption of Market Street itself, which folks who lived through the original BART construction reportedly don't wish to relive—and, importantly, a problematic routing around building foundations, as Fourth and Stockton don't meet in perfect alignment. That latter issue would be even worse here than was the case for Third and Kearny, back when a shallow crossing was being planned (and intensively studied) there. In fact, it was one of the issues that ultimately drove a deep-tunneling approach instead (and then, in turn, resulted in the more direct route up Fourth, rather than the ordinal plans for a King-Third-Kearny-Geary-Stockton routing). And talk about not-so-seamless transfers (he he): the T-line to Market St. transfer for that alignment would have been a zig-zagging, underground corridor essentially mirroring the aforementioned, above ground transfer along Stephenson, Annie, and Market Streets — several times the walking distance of the current design. Sheesh!
Posted by: AnotherMark at February 5, 2013 7:23 PM
@AnotherMark: I know! I remember seeing the original design for the 3rd St. alignment. Craziness, especially the fact that there would be two portals, carrying IB and OB traffic on two different streets (3rd and 4th).
I think people are confused and think there are going to be 2 stations, Powell and Union Square, when in reality it's going to be just one. MUNI should market it the correct way by choosing one name. Just call it Union Square station and call it a day since the entire shopping area is collectively refered to as Union Square anyway.
Posted by: Mark at February 5, 2013 7:39 PM
@Jack: This is not a ostensibly a socketsite thread about High Speed Rail. It is however, a thread about a large infrastructure project with the potential to absorb a lot of federal funding and perhaps make a difference in the lives of some people in San Francisco. This trait is common between HSR and the subway project.
Of the two projects (San Francisco subway vs. HSR), I am strongly in favor in relative terms of our new subway system. I also think that they should not demo the Pagoda theater, they should just wait until the hold boring machines rip out of the ground and take the whole building down in a huge storm of dust and brick. And all of the city engineers are sweating bullets hoping that the big drill machine takes out the right building . It would be rad.
High Speed Rail is being built in a 29 mile section in the central valley. It's precisely where a hugely expensive project would start when you have:
1. Farmers in the valley who are more than happy to sell a narrow slice of farmland at extortionate prices to the state.
2. Hugely powerful/wealthy municipalities that stand between that 29 mile section of track and San Francisco. Yeah, the towns of Atherton/Burlingame/Hillsborough are totally happy to let Cal Trans build an elevated track or a miles long tunnel in bay silt through their 10mm homes.
My grandkids won't see this track built.
And even if they do, it will still be faster and cheaper to buy a Southwest ticket and get to LAX than it will be to ride the ridiculous HSR. With the four other people who buy HSR tickets.
I hope that my comments have conformed to your general standards of good behaviour* on the internet. I also hope you are able to understand the connection I am drawing between these two projects. If not, GFY. Good for you.
After all, this is an anonymous comment section on the internet. No one knows I'm a really a chihuahua wired up on red bulls dry-humping a mouse and occasionally tapping my nose on my owner's computer keyboard while he is passed out in a post-coital reverie surrounded by copies of Bay Area Homes magazines, June-October, 1993**
*I like to throw in a British variant spelling when I'm feeling salty.
**You can't buy imagery like that, you get it for free from me, here at socketsite.
Posted by: soccermom at February 5, 2013 9:56 PM
You can say whatever you want within within the bounds of what the editor will allow, but expect to be challenged when your statements have no validity to them.
Atherton, Hillsborough, Burlingame, etc. cannot stop the HSR project, and they can't even significantly delay it. They've already used most of the tactics available to them, and all that did was move the beginning of construction to another location, which is actually a more sensible approach since it's MUCH cheaper construction, and will be needed for qualifying the train-set that is chosen.
They may be able to extract some modifications, which will cost the rest of us millions, if not billions of dollars, but the project will be built, and unless you are already pretty old it will be completed in all our lifetimes.
I'm sure the schedule will slip, but it's getting more and more polished and the slips will be slower. It's a big project, and it may take longer than we hoped and wind up more expensive, but like the Bay Bridge project, it will get done.
Posted by: lyqwyd at February 6, 2013 11:28 AM
FormerAptBroker the existing HST lines in the world are not upgrades to existing rail lines. Existing rail lines typically do not lend themselves to HST due to grades and turning radii. In fact, the so-called bullet train is know as shinkansen in Japan which translates as "new trunk line" as in completely new right of way. Same for the TGV and ICE. You can only get true high speed on new alignment.
Posted by: emanon at February 6, 2013 1:55 PM
To show how completely wrong this project is, imagine if this was one of the new imaginary lines proposed by Mark above. Nobody would be saying this is wasteful or poorly thought through if this was a new line under Geary out to Ocean Beach or under Van Ness, or if it were at least to continue up to Fort Baker and the Presidio.
This whole project was created to strike a deal with Chinatown Merchants and property owners in exchange for tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989. The project has nothing to do with density, transit overcrowding, or any of the other fiction presented by some here. The deal struck long ago is WHY the subway line stops where it does instead of continuing to places people actually want to go.
Posted by: anon2 at February 6, 2013 2:11 PM
I love how Amtrak calls Acela a HSR rail service. What a joke.
Several friends of mine who are SF natives still complain that the Embarcadero Freeway was removed because it was a fast way to get into Chinatown and North Beach by avoiding FIDI completely. But what about all the traffic that was funneled into these neighborhoods from not only the freeway, but from other areas of the city? Shouldn't the goal be to reduce the number of vehicles circling the streets looking for parking by offering a sensible transit option? The answer is, of course, yes. But the CS doesn't do that. It's not a transit solution to the removal of the freeway, it's a political pat on the back of an extremely vocal Chinatown politician whose only goal is to serve the needs of her neighborhood.
I am 1,000% behind a CS project in SF, but one that actually serves a greater purpose by effectively addressing and solving many of our transit problems (I'll settle for one) and provides greater reach to more than just one of our communities.
Posted by: Mark at February 6, 2013 3:45 PM
The Embarcadero Freeway terminated on Broadwayso it did not slam the neighborhood with a lot of traffic . If you lived in Pacific Height, Cow Hollow or the Marina, it was THE way to get home after quickly zooming through the Broadway Tunnel.
I agree that it is best the Freeway is gone, but here is a video showing the old freeway starting on Broadway. Enjoy the 80's music. (I have no idea who made the video, but it is an awesome historical record of part of the city.)
Posted by: anon94123 at February 6, 2013 4:03 PM
Some people are so reluctant to create or even maintain public infrastructure. And yet they use infrastructure financed and built by their parents. Without it their lives would have been very different. But in their older years they become more scared and more selfish.
The line stopping before NB would be an idiocy. It would make the line itself partly irrelevant. Which is the usual way of the anti-public service crowd: by starving a public service, you make it less efficient, and can decry it as a boondoggle.
Talking about HSR, I read an article the other day saying that the French railway company decided against retiring the original HSR trains which showed exceptional robustness due to high quality maintenance. They have been in service since 1981.
Posted by: lol at February 6, 2013 5:11 PM
lol - I thought that the original French TGV trainsets were painted maroon, labeled "Thalys", and sold to the Belgians :-)
Yes there are plenty of Americans who would like to see public transport fail. Sadly the Central Subway seems to be vulnerable to that fate. Extension to the Marina would justify its existence. But at minimum there ought to be a NB stop.
Transit in the Bay Area would be a lot different if politics got out of the way.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 6, 2013 5:48 PM
I'm behind in my reading today, but I just caught wind that Save Muni is opposing the extraction of tunneling equipment at the Pagoda site because the soil around the area is unstable and may affect the foundations of nearby businesses and residences.
Really stupid question: why subject NB in the first place to all this construction when the neighborhood isn't even gonna get a station? Remove the boring machine equipment in Chinatown. Dig a really big hole there or tear down a couple buildings there instead.
Posted by: Mark at February 6, 2013 6:18 PM