Lengthy Central Subway work worries locals, vendors

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerProject: Construction

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerProject: Construction

Muni is pushing ahead with its plan to bring up tunnel-boring equipment through Columbus Avenue in North Beach during Central Subway construction, despite a petition circulating to request a moratorium on the upcoming work and Supervisor David Chiu asking for alternatives.

Merchants and residents are concerned about having construction equipment staged for two years near Washington Square Park as part of the $1.6 billion project. The work, which includes underground utility relocation and building a storage and extraction site for equipment, would require one lane on Columbus to be closed in 2013 and two, on either side of the street, in 2014.

Chiu, a firm supporter of the Central Subway, sent a letter to Muni Director Ed Reiskin this week asking the agency to review other options for extracting the equipment. In the letter, Chiu asked if the equipment could be pulled up piece by piece in a less disruptive way or simply left in the ground until the tunnels are completed.

On Thursday, Reiskin met with merchants and Chiu to discuss the plan. John Golinger, a resident who is leading the petition movement against the work, said Reiskin promised a “pause” to the project following the meeting.

However, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the project has already been paused and Thursday’s meeting did not change the status of the plan, although a start date for preliminary construction is pending.

The agency will continue to meet with local merchants to address concerns.

Golinger said several merchants are considering litigation if the project does move forward.

“It sounded very clear that there would be a pause, at least temporarily, to the project,” said Golinger. “I really hope there wasn’t a promise made just because it was in the heat of the moment.”

Reiskin said the equipment proposal was approved in 2008 as part of the project’s environmental impact report process.

“Reviewing alternatives to the project would likely require a lot of time and money that we don’t have,” said Reiskin.

The planned construction site would cover a half-block on Columbus in an area where there are no businesses, Reiskin said.

“This will be similar to any other construction work in The City,” said Reiskin. “There are some disruptions, but life goes on during these projects.”

Marc Bruno, who’s part of an organization opposed to the plan, said the project will not only affect Columbus, but also portions of Union Street where there are businesses.

“They’re talking about dusting off windows at area businesses like its no big deal,” said Bruno. “Are they going to dust off the sandwiches at those places too?”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalNorth BeachSFMTATransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Diners at Teeth, a bar in the Mission District, on July 9, 2021. Teeth began using digital menus based on QR code technology in August. (Ulysses Ortega/The New York Times)
The football stadium at UC Berkeley, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. George Kliavkoff, a former top executive at MGM Resorts International, took over the conference at the start of the month. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
What’s Ahead for the Pac-12? New commissioner weighs in

‘Every decision we make is up for discussion. There are no sacred cows.’

The sidewalk on Egbert Avenue in the Bayview recently was cluttered with car parts, tires and other junk. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
New surveillance effort aims to crack down on illegal dumping

’We want to make sure we catch people who are trashing our streets’

As the world reeled, tech titans supplied the tools that made life and work possible. Now the companies are awash in money and questions about what it means to win amid so much loss. (Nicolas Ortega/The New York Times)
How tech won the pandemic and now may never lose

By David Streitfeld New York Times In April 2020, with 2,000 Americans… Continue reading

Most Read