Mayor Ed Lee and Rose Pak tour a North Beach construction site for the Central Subway in June 2014. Pak, who died in September at age 68, could be the namesake for the subway’s Chinatown station, pending a policy vote by the SFMTA board. (Jessica Christian/2014 S.F. Examiner)

With Rose Pak in mind, transit board to vote on Muni station naming policy

Rose Pak Station, anyone?

Muni stations and other transit assets may be named for people with “extraordinary contribution to local public transportation” among other considerations under a new naming policy set to be voted on by city transit officials next week.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency revealed the policy was under development a week after the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the SFMTA to name the Central Subway station in Chinatown “Rose Pak Station” when it opens to the public in 2019.

Pak died in September at age 68 of natural causes. Her death sent a ripple through the Chinatown community and local politicians, who considered her a political leader.

She also championed the creation of the Central Subway.

“I think the community in Chinatown will try to advocate to name it after Rose,” said Jen Low, an aide to Supervisor Norman Yee and co-founder of the newly formed Rose Pak Democratic Club.

Still, she cautioned it might be “very controversial,” as the Chinese religious group the Falun Dafa and other Chinatown community members oppose naming the station for Pak.

The SFMTA Board of Directors is considering the policy for a vote on Tuesday.

Under the policy, naming of transit assets would be approved by the board on a case by case basis.

The proposed policy states that SFMTA’s transit stations or stops need to be named “in a way that clearly communicates the location to frequent, infrequent and prospective transit users,” and highlights a geographic location of a stop.

In some situations, the policy states, a commemorative name may be added “to a portion of the assets, such as an entrance, waiting area or plaza” which would be named after people broadly recognized for their social, historical, cultural or political significance.

For example, staff wrote, Harvey Milk Plaza near Castro Street Station is named for the civil rights leader.

David Ho, a political consultant who was close with Pak, said that though many Chinatown organizers argued for the Central Subway, Pak played a key role.

“I think it’s one of her strongest legacies, the Central Subway,” Ho said.

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