Push For Chinatown Central Subway

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Leaders of San Francisco's Chinatown community will make a push today for bringing a central subway to their congested neighborhood.

They'll rally for the long-awaited project at a meeting of Bay Area transportation planners today.

The Third Street light rail line from Visitacion Valley to the AT&T Ballpark area is set to open at full service next month, but did you know it's just phase one of a three-part transit project?

Phase two is the central subway, which will pick up where the Third Street line now ends, and continue on to Chinatown.

The buses on Stockton Street in San Francisco's Chinatown are overloaded with passengers during peak commute times. But the narrow, busy streets can't hold any more buses, so planners want to go underground for relief.

They want to build a 1.7-mile central subway that would run from south of Market at Fourth and King to the heart of Chinatown.

John Funghi: "It's something that the city doesn't currently have. We have great transportation if you look from the east to the west, with existing metro and BART. But central subway would provide the first rail connection from the south to the north."

The total projected cost of the central subway is $1.2 billion.

Aaron Peskin: "As San Francisco gets denser and more congested, we're going to have to make those investments. Are they expensive? Yes they're very expensive, but is it going to be worth it for the city of San Francisco? Absolutely."

The target date for completion is the year 2015.

The central subway has benefitted from 20 years of planning and 10 years of intensive engineering efforts.

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