Traffic flows past temporary barricades as Central Subway construction continues along Stockton Street in Chinatown on Friday, July 19, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF to provide ‘mitigation package’ to Chinatown businesses impacted by subway construction

Small businesses in San Francisco’s Chinatown will receive help to mitigate and lessen the impacts of delayed construction on the Central Subway, Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced Thursday.

The comprehensive plan, being called the Central Subway Construction Mitigation Package, includes access to funds ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per business for improvements or investments. The money comes from the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund.

The package also includes the construction of a temporary bus stop by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency at Washington and Stockton streets to increase access to businesses, as well as a possible expanded SFMTA shuttle to bring more visitors to Chinatown.

Additionally, the package would reestablish loading zones and a third vehicle travel lane on Stockton Street between Jackson and Washington Streets to reduce congestion. Also, community ambassadors and trafficflaggers will be stationed near work zones to help improve traffic and pedestrian safety, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Finally, the package promises an advertising campaign to highlight local merchants and celebrate Chinatown. The advertising campaign is set to launch during the upcoming 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations.

“We cannot afford to let our small business community bear the brunt of our construction delays and unintended impacts. This construction mitigation package for Chinatown builds on our ongoing efforts to support small business throughout the city,” Breed said in a statement.

“I am happy to see the city taking Chinatown’s concerns seriously,” Peskin said. “They have long been some of the fiercest champions for equitable public transit and pedestrian safety—but certainly not at the cost of losing immigrant small businesses due to construction impacts and delays.

“These additional support measures, including access to our newly-formed Construction Mitigation Fund, are a direct response to the community’s requests,” he said.

The city will begin providing information sessions for merchants interested in applying for the program. Additionally, the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development will offer application assistance by going door-to-door to businesses along Stockton Street between Sacramento and Jackson streets; Washington Street between Grant Avenue and Powell Street; Powell Street between Clay and Jackson streets; and Clay Street between Grant Avenue and Stockton Street.

The Central Subway project, which will take passengers from the South of Market neighborhood to Chinatown, broke ground in 2012 and was initially set to be completed this year.

However, due to construction delays, the project won’t be completed until summer 2020. After undergoing a year’s worth of train service testing, the subway will then be open to riders by summer 2021.

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