As the Central Subway Project builds four new stations, it also upgrades utilities along the alignment. A new water line and high pressure fire hydrant was completed recently across from the future Chinatown Station.
Also in the Chinatown neighborhood, Central Subway ambassadors increase safety by guiding pedestrians at intersections on Stockton and Washington streets adjacent to the construction site.
Fridays we post the most up-to-date construction information.
On Dec. 3, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the Union Square Business Improvement District, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Central Subway officially kicked-off “Winter Walk SF” in Union Square – an open plaza for the public to enjoy. This festive, pedestrian-friendly holiday hub runs through January 1 on Stockton Street between Ellis Street and Geary Boulevard.
More details and scheduled events can be found here.
The Central Subway Project started deploying ambassadors to assist pedestrians. This is part of a pilot program to help keep Sunday foot traffic moving in the heart of the downtown area.
We thank the businesses, residents, shoppers, and commuters of San Francisco for their continued engagement with this significant investment in the extension of our public transportation system.
On August 12, House Minority Leader Pelosi was joined by Mayor Lee and SFMTA Director Reiskin near the future site of the Central Subway Yerba Buena/Moscone Station.
Each speaker emphasized the importance of investing in mass transit. It was also noted that by building infrastructure there is an investment in San Francisco’s future generation.
The Central Subway will significantly improve the public transportation network in San Francisco and provide connections to BART, Caltrain, Muni Metro, Muni bus routes, Muni cable car lines, and in the future, high-speed rail. The T-Line extension is expected to open in 2019.
Artist Tomie Arai met with some of the San Francisco community on August 7 about her art installation for the future Central Subway Station in Chinatown. More than thirty people attended the event produced in conjunction with the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and hosted by the Chinese Culture Center (CCC). The presentation was done both in English and translated into Chinese by Cathie Lam of Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC).
Abby Chin, curator and artistic director of CCC, welcomed the artist Tomie Arai and introduced the SFAC public art representative Mary Chou.
Ms. Chou (SFAC) described the comprehensive public art program and how it will reflect the rich cultural and historical contexts within this area (see Central Subway Arts Master Plan). As explained by Chou, the purpose of this gathering was for the artist to receive input from the community.
The location of this installation will be a wrap around the outside top entrance of the station and two platform level pieces.
Arai took the group through a series of slides that represented some of her previous art work. Much of her work has dealt with cultural identities. Her work tends to highlight and celebrate a community’s shared history. Arai’s goal is to tell a story about San Francisco’s Chinatown and her concept for her installation is “Urban Archeology.” Her vision for this art piece is to represent both the past and the present of the Chinatown community. A commemorative group photo of this important gathering can be seen below.
Father John Takahashi and Central Subway Program Director John Funghi stand beside concrete blocks that once formed the foundation of a historic North Beach church.
Earlier this month, construction crews demolishing the Pagoda Palace unearthed a long-lost piece of San Francisco history: the foundations of a church that stood on these grounds more than a century ago.
The Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, now located at 1520 Green Street, once stood in North Beach at the corner of Powell Street and Columbus Avenue. Built in 1888, the dramatic onion-domed structure was completely destroyed by the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. All that remained were five bronze bells – and they survived because they were off site at the time, being repaired. The church relocated to the Green Street location soon after, opening in 1909.
Last week a concrete block from the old church’s foundations joined the bells at the Green Street cathedral. After construction crews unearthed the foundations, we contacted Father John Takahashi, the senior priest of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, to inform him of our discovery. We also invited him to visit the construction site and see the newly uncovered relics of his church’s past.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral on Powell Street, circa 1890.
Once on site, Father John spoke with Central Subway Program Director John Funghi, and the Central Subway team gave Father John a block of concrete from the old foundations. The block will now live in the garden of the Green Street cathedral.
Central Subway crews discovered the historic foundations while dismantling the thick concrete slab that formed the base of the Pagoda Palace Theatre. Once the slab was removed, the outlines of the foundation revealed themselves amidst dirt and rubble.
Archeologists and construction personnel examined the unearthed foundations and concluded that they were consistent with building practices in the late 19th century. The absence of rebar, the consistency of the concrete and the size of the aggregate in it helped support this conclusion.
With a piece of the old church now safely preserved, crews then broke apart what remained of the foundations to make room for the next phase of Central Subway construction, and the next chapter in the life of this storied North Beach site.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee takes a look at tunnel boring machine Mom Chung in the excavation under 4th Street where tunneling will begin.
Yesterday, Mayor Edwin M. Lee paid a visit to the construction site where tunneling will begin and saw Mom Chung, the 350-foot-long tunnel boring machine currently being assembled underground.
Speaking to reporters in front of the digging cutter head of Mom Chung, Mayor Lee said he was excited about the Central Subway, calling the T Third Line extension “one of the most important projects for the future of San Francisco.”
SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan, SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin, Central Subway Program Director John Funghi, key city officials and members of Central Subway team accompanied Mayor Lee under 4th Street to show him the major excavation where tunneling will begin. Check out the photos below for more on the Mayor’s visit to this important construction site.
The tour group heads down the ramp near 4th and Bryant and into the excavation beneath the roadway.
The tour group makes its way through the excavation and toward Mom Chung. From left to right: Director Reiskin, Mayor Lee, John Funghi, tunnel contract Resident Engineer Sarah Wilson.
Sarah Wilson, the engineer overseeing construction of the Central Subway tunnels, explains the details of the tunneling process to Mayor Lee. From left to right: SFPUC Assistant General Manager Emilio Cruz, SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, Jr., Mayor Lee, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Steve Kawa, John Funghi, Sarah Wilson.
Mayor Lee responds to questions from reporters. From left to right: Director Reiskin, Chairman Nolan, Mayor Lee, John Funghi, SFMTA Board Vice Chairman Cheryl Brinkman, Sarah Wilson.
The tour group gathers around the front of Mom Chung. Called the cutter head, this spinning excavator will dig through the earth under 4th Street, Stockton Street and Columbus Avenue.
Representatives of tunnel construction contractor Barnard Impregilo Healy meet Mayor Lee and Director Reiskin. From left to right: Assistant Project Superintendent Andy Granger, Mayor Lee, Project Manager Ben Campbell, Director Reiskin.
Read more about the Mayor’s visit in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Tunneling is slated to begin in June.
The Central Subway team helped welcome the Year of the Snake at the Chinese New Year Parade & Festival in Chinatown.
Hot off the presses: It’s the spring 2013 edition of the Central Subway newsletter. Download it in English or Chinese to read about the latest project news and to gain insight into construction progress, funding milestones and more.
In addition to the print version, you can view the online version of our newsletter here.
To subscribe to receive the e-newsletter via email, fill out this form and check the “Quarterly Project Newsletter” box. You can also subscribe to our weekly construction updates and to receive neighborhood-specific project information.
This edition of the quarterly project newsletter features:
Thank you for your continued interest in the Central Subway Project.
The Central Subway tunnels will end here, at the Pagoda Palace in North Beach, under a plan to relocate the retrieval site for the project’s tunnel boring machines.
In response to community concerns about Central Subway construction in North Beach, SFMTA staff and multiple city agencies have worked for the past few months to relocate the retrieval site of the project’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from Columbus Avenue to the Pagoda Palace (1731-1741 Powell Street).
As we complete the administrative steps required to finalize the site change, we would like to clarify the details of the plan and respond to questions that have been raised about it. These FAQs, posted on our website, include information about the Pagoda Palace construction plan, construction impacts, the reasoning behind the change and the community’s involvement in the process.
In addition, we have prepared a memo for the SFMTA Board and our partner agencies that describes our construction plan, the lease terms for the Pagoda site, and our process in pursuing the change. You can read the memo online here.
Should you have any further questions about the Pagoda Palace plan, don’t hesitate to contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-701-4371. Thank you for your continued participation as we work to improve public transit in San Francisco.
Mom Chung, shown here, will construct the tunnel for southbound trains. More photos of both TBMs are available on our Flickr page. (Photo courtesy of The Robbins Company)
We are excited to introduce Big Alma and Mom Chung, the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will excavate and construct the Central Subway tunnels. Named Big Alma, after “Big Alma” de Bretteville Spreckels, and Mom Chung, after Dr. Margaret “Mom” Chung, the machines will begin tunneling later this year, starting in SoMa and heading north under 4th Street and Stockton Street through Union Square, Chinatown and North Beach. A press release about the TBMs is available online here.
The first of the machines, Mom Chung, is expected to arrive in San Francisco in April. The 300-foot-long machine will be assembled within an excavation on 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant streets and will start building the tunnel for southbound trains about two months later. Big Alma will arrive soon after Mom Chung to construct the northbound tunnel.
As tunneling proceeds, updates about the TBMs, including photos of the machines and the tunnels, will be posted on Twitter at the usernames @BigAlmatheTBM and @MomChungtheTBM. You can learn more about them on our website, at www.centralsubwaysf.com/tbm-name.
The front of the TBM, called the cutter head, spins as it excavates. In this photo Mom Chung is being tested before being disassembled for transport to San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Barnard Impregilo Healy)
The names were selected by the public in an online poll held in January. Participants could select up to two names, one for each TBM. Of the 1,453 responses, Big Alma was the top vote-getter at 682 votes. Mom Chung took second place with 487 votes, closely followed by Firebelle Lil (451 votes), Mary Ellen (437 votes) and Juana (148 votes).
In tunneling tradition, the custom of naming TBMs is believed to bring good luck to tunneling projects. The names will remain in official use by the SFMTA and the tunneling contractor throughout the duration of the project.
“Big Alma and Mom Chung will construct San Francisco’s first new subway tunnel in decades, bringing together neighborhoods of our city that have long been in need of improved public transit,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “We are happy to have included the public in this exciting part of tunneling tradition. We thank everyone who voted for contributing to this important project.”
Big Alma, shown here, is still being assembled. She will arrive in San Francisco after Mom Chung to construct the northbound tunnel.
Each TBM consists of a rotating cutter wheel (the cutter head), a cylindrical steel shell (the shield) and a 300-foot train of tunnel-building mechanisms (the trailing gear). The TBMs will arrive in several parts, to be assembled at the site on 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant streets where tunneling will begin.
About the Winning Names:
“Big Alma” de Bretteville Spreckels (1881-1968): Known as “Big Alma” (she was 6 feet tall) and “The Great-Grandmother of San Francisco,” Alma de Bretteville Spreckels was a wealthy socialite and philanthropist who, among her many accomplishments, persuaded her first husband, sugar magnate Adolph B. Spreckels, to fund the design and construction of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor at Land’s End in San Francisco. A model in her youth, Spreckels was the inspiration for the “Victory” statue atop the Dewey Monument in the center of Union Square.
Dr. Margaret “Mom” Chung (1889-1959) was the country’s first female Chinese-American physician, practicing in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown. During World War II she “adopted” more than a thousand “sons,” most of them American servicemen, mentoring them, sending them presents and sharing meals with them during and after the war. She was also one of the earliest supporters of women in the Navy. When one of her “sons” became a congressman, he filed the first legislation to create a female branch of the Navy in response to a phone call from “Mom Chung.”
The Central Subway tunnels would end here, at the Pagoda Palace in North Beach, under a plan to relocate the retrieval site for the project’s tunnel boring machines.
The Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to pass a key component of the plan to relocate the retrieval site for the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to the Pagoda Palace. The Board’s vote authorizes a Special Use District that will allow the owner to move forward with a previously approved development project after the building is demolished and the TBMs are extracted. You can view a press release about the vote online here.
The Pagoda Palace is the preferred location to remove the TBMs. As a result of community objections to the original plan, which involved removing the TBMs on Columbus Avenue, the SFMTA initiated a review of alternatives. Removing the TBMs at the site of the Pagoda Palace, a building that has been vacant for nearly 20 years, minimizes local construction impacts and leaves no physical impediments to a potential extension of the T Third Line to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.
The retrieval site change will also require National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) clearance by the Federal Transit Administration. If all of the necessary legislative processes and approvals occur by early April, then the demolition of the Pagoda Palace site can commence.
We will continue to update the community as the retrieval site change moves forward. Thank you for your participation in this process.
Today at City Hall the Board of Supervisors voted on a key component of the plan to relocate the retrieval site for the Central Subway’s tunneling machines. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Alaskan Dude.)
Today the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support a key component of the plan to relocate the retrieval site for the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to the Pagoda Palace in North Beach. The item, an ordinance to create a Special Use District (SUD) for the Powell Street property, would allow the owner to move forward with a previously approved development project after the building is demolished and the TBMs extracted. A second and final vote to approve the ordinance is expected at next week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
To relocate the retrieval site from Columbus Avenue, the SFMTA has signed a lease with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property. The two-year lease will allow the agency to demolish the building and extract the TBMs. The state-of-the-art tunneling machines are expected to reach North Beach in 2014.
The relocation plan is undergoing review by the Federal Transit Administration for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). If all of the necessary approvals occur by April 1, then the demolition of the Pagoda Palace building can then commence.
We will continue to keep the community informed as we work to respond to concerns about the original retrieval plan. Thank you for your continued participation as we work to finalize the retrieval site change.
The Central Subway tunnels would end here, at the Pagoda Palace in North Beach, under a plan to relocate the retrieval site for the project’s tunnel boring machines.
Today the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee voted 3-0 to recommend approval of a Special Use District (SUD) for the Pagoda Palace (1731-1741 Powell Street). The SUD, a key component of the plan to relocate the retrieval site for the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from Columbus Avenue, would allow the owner of the Pagoda Palace to move forward with a previously approved development project after the building is demolished and the TBMs extracted.
Tomorrow the full Board of Supervisors will consider the SUD. This meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at City Hall, Room 250.
Under the retrieval site relocation plan, the Pagoda Palace will be demolished this spring. Central Subway crews will then prepare the site for arrival of the TBMs. The state-of-the-art tunneling machines are expected to reach North Beach in 2014.
We will continue to keep the community informed as we work to respond to concerns about the original retrieval plan. Thank you for your continued participation and patience.
Inside the Pagoda Palace, a former theater that will be demolished under a plan to relocate the retrieval site for the machines that will build the Central Subway tunnels.
Today the SFMTA Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve key components of the plan to relocate the retrieval site of the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from Columbus Avenue to the Pagoda Palace (1731-1741 Powell Street). The Board’s vote authorizes a two-year lease to utilize the Pagoda property. It also allows for the increased construction costs associated with the site change, including demolishing the existing structure and extending the Central Subway tunnels past the original site on Columbus Avenue.
The two-year lease, capped at $3.15 million, including $800,000 in rent and up to $2.35 million in ancillary fees, allows the SFMTA to demolish the existing structure and utilize the property to retrieve the TBMs. Total costs to the SFMTA, including the lease, demolition of the building and extraction of the TBMs, will not exceed $9.15 million. Additional details about the lease are available in this press release from the SFMTA.
Next week, the Board of Supervisors will consider a Special Use District (SUD) for the Pagoda Palace site. The SUD would allow the owner of the Pagoda Palace to move forward with a previously approved development project after the building is demolished and the TBMs extracted.
Members of the public may comment on the SUD at the Land Use Committee meeting.
We thank the community, Mayor Lee, Supervisor David Chiu, numerous city agencies, and the property owner for their support and cooperation throughout this process. We will continue to keep you informed as we work to finalize the retrieval site change.
The Pagoda Palace in North Beach, long considered an eyesore, will be demolished under a plan to relocate the retrieval site for the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines.
For the past two months, SFMTA staff and multiple city agencies have been working to allow the relocation of the retrieval site of the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from Columbus Avenue to the Pagoda Palace (1731-1741 Powell Street). This effort has been undertaken in response to community concerns about construction and traffic disruption associated with the original plan.
On Wednesday the SFMTA completed lease negotiations with the owner of the Pagoda Palace. The lease, a major step forward in the agency’s efforts to relocate the retrieval site, allows for the demolition of the existing building and the use of the property to retrieve the TBMs. We thank the community, Mayor Lee, Supervisor David Chiu, numerous city agencies, and the property owner for their support and cooperation in achieving this agreement. You can view the press announcement about the lease agreement here.
Although several steps remain before the retrieval site relocation is finalized, yesterday two integral components of the relocation plan moved forward when the Planning Commission voted to approve a Conditional Use (CU) application and recommend a Special Use District (SUD) for the Pagoda Palace site. The SUD and CU would allow the owner of the Pagoda Palace to move forward with a previously approved development project after the building is demolished and the TBMs extracted.
In the coming weeks, items related to the relocation plan will be considered at the following meetings:
As always, we welcome and encourage public comment at these meetings.
We will continue to keep you informed as we work to finalize the retrieval site change. We thank you for your continued participation as we work to respond to community concerns about construction in North Beach.
Vote now to help name the Central Subway’s tunnel boring machines after historic San Francisco women. From left to right: Lillie “Firebelle Lil” Hitchcock Coit, “Big Alma” de Bretteville Spreckels, Margaret “Mom” Chung, Juana Briones and Mary Ellen Pleasant.
Now’s your chance – help us choose the names of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will build the Central Subway tunnels! The TBMs, scheduled to arrive in San Francisco in spring 2013, will be named after prominent historic San Francisco women, pioneers in civil rights, commerce, medicine and the arts who have helped shape the San Francisco of the past, just as the Central Subway will help form the San Francisco of the future.
In tunneling tradition, the custom of naming TBMs is believed to bring good luck to tunneling projects. We are excited to include the public in this fun and important tunneling tradition.
To cast your vote, please visit www.centralsubwaysf.com/tbm-name.
School kids, community members and the Central Subway team show their support for the T Third Line extension.
San Francisco needs the Central Subway, said the San Francisco Examiner’s editorial board in a column published this weekend.
With major federal funding for the project now approved, this essential public transit investment will “tie together some of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in San Francisco with the densest community on the West Coast” and “help The City more effectively handle the growth that is projected over the next few decades.” These important advantages, the Examiner argues, make the project “beneficial to all of The City and people who live and work here.”Read the full column here, at the Examiner’s website.
Federal, state and local officials gathered in Union Square yesterday to announce approval of federal funding for the Central Subway Project.
Yesterday Mayor Edwin M. Lee and key officials announced that an agreement dedicating $942.2 million in federal funds to the Central Subway Project has been approved. This major funding news finalizes the financing for extending the Muni Metro T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Peter Rogoff, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and other federal, state and local officials joined Mayor Lee to announce the approval of funding through the FTA’s New Starts program.
“When the Central Subway is complete, our city will see a stronger economy, a larger workforce, decreased pollution, less congestion, and faster, safer commutes,” said Leader Pelosi. “Working with partners and leaders from government, business, and the community, this project will serve as an economic engine for our city, improve and enhance our infrastructure, and connect the diverse communities of San Francisco.”
A major improvement over existing transit service along the congested 4th Street and Stockton Street corridors, the Central Subway will cut travel times by more than half compared to current Muni bus routes. In addition, construction of this major infrastructure project will create thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, and provide a boost to the local economy.
The announcement took place at a ceremony held at the future site of the Union Square/Market Street Station. More information about the Central Subway and this exciting funding news is available in this press release from Mayor Lee.
Here are some photos of the event:
Secretary LaHood announced approval of the federal funds, earning a round of applause from attendees.
Democratic Leader Pelosi, a longtime advocate for the Central Subway, spoke about her experiences trying to catch Muni buses along the congested Stockton Street corridor. Crowded buses crawl along Stockton Street at a rate as slow as three miles per hour.
Senator Feinstein, a strong supporter of the project, spoke about the major improvements to public transit the Central Subway will provide. With the addition of the Central Subway, the T Third Line is projected to become the most heavily used line in the Muni Metro system by 2030.
Congresswoman Speier spoke about the major transit investments planned for the Bay Area, including the Central Subway, California high-speed rail and the electrification of Caltrain. Investments like these will vastly improve the Bay Area’s transportation network.
FTA Administrator Rogoff signs a ceremonial document confirming the New Starts grant. New Starts has contributed $92.4 million to the Central Subway Project to date. The remaining amount will be distributed in annual allocations as the project progresses.
The Central Subway will connect to BART, Caltrain, Muni Metro, Muni bus routes, Muni cable car lines and, in the future, high-speed rail, significantly improving San Francisco’s and the Bay Area’s public transportation network. It is expected to open to the public in 2019.
Construction is progressing at the site where tunneling will begin next year. Download our summer 2012 newsletter to learn more.
Hot off the presses: It’s the summer 2012 edition of the Central Subway newsletter. Download it in English or Chinese to learn about the latest project news and to gain insight into construction progress, the public art program and community outreach events.
This edition of the quarterly project newsletter features:
The Central Subway newsletter is also available via email. To have future newsletters delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to our mailing list here.
The front page of our new project brochure features photos of the neighborhoods and local destinations the Central Subway will connect.
Reducing travel times. Improving San Francisco’s transportation network. Connecting bustling neighborhoods, premier commercial districts, world-renowned tourist destinations and a burgeoning technology and digital-media hub. The Central Subway – a rapid, emission-free alternative to crowded buses and congested city streets – will do all this and more when it opens to the public in 2019.
Learn more about the Central Subway and its many benefits in our new project brochure. It includes key information about how the Central Subway will improve San Francisco’s public transit system, connect local communities and invest in San Francisco, as well as a brief history of the project’s strong local support.
Download the brochure here and share it with friends, family, coworkers, fellow transit advocates and others interested in finding out about more this important investment in San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure.