Posts Tagged ‘Subway to Nowhere’

NEVIUS TRILOGY: Big Central Subway Booster CW Nevius USED TO HATE the Central Subway – Why the Change?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Let’s check in with San Francisco Chronicle writer CW Nevius on the topic of the Central Subway:

S.F.: City of whine aficionados” - January 9, 2014

“A subway will take traffic off some of the busiest streets in the city – try riding Muni on Stockton Street in the morning – and provide quick north-south access across the city, and it’s mostly paid for with federal funds. Who wouldn’t like something like that?”

So that was Nevius 2014. Now let’s check in with Nevius 2008 on the same exact topic:

Nevius: Chinatown subway plan makes me wince” - February 21, 2008

“There’s really only one question to ask about the proposal to bore a light-rail subway deep under the heart of downtown San Francisco. You’re kidding, right?

“Just the initial math makes your head hurt. Basically it works out to somewhere between $1.22 billion and $1.4 billion for an underground railway that runs for less than two miles and has only three stops. That’s not a transit system, it’s a model railroad.

“Throw in a few of the inevitable cost overruns and this could work out to a billion dollars a mile.”

“No matter. This is the kind of big, splashy project that city officials love to put their name on.”

“Basically, the argument seems to boil down to this - we’ve got the money (as if federal tax dollars grow on trees), the Chinatown community is behind it, why not build it? Oh, let me count some of the reasons.”

“But, critics say, a stop on Market beneath which BART and other Muni lines already run might have made this whole thing an easier sell. That would have created an opportunity for a single station where riders could make connections between regional and local trains, almost like Grand Central Terminal in New York. Instead, riders will have to walk all the way up to Union Square.”

“Oh, and did I mention that in order to get under the BART tube, the subway station at Union Square will have to be at least 95 feet below the surface. That’s nine stories.”

“What is it about that image of deep, underground dirt-munching machines in earthquake country that makes me wince?”

Has CW Nevius offered any explanation for this 180 degree turnaround?

‘Cause I’ll tell you, this subway-to-nowhere project has gotten worse since 2008.

Let’s review:

CIVIL GRAND JURY, CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO – “CENTRAL SUBWAY, TOO MUCH MONEY FOR TOO LITTLE BENEFIT

Wall Street Journal: Off the San Francisco Rails – $1.6 billion for 1.7 miles of subway.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Central Subway gravy train shows how City Hall work

SF Weekly: Portmistress Pelosi

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera: It’s time to rethink the Central Subway 

San Francisco Examiner: Dennis Herrera comes out against San Francisco Central Subway project

CalWatchdog: S.F. Subway Derails Into Boondoggle

SAVEMUNI: Central Subway – Background – An Opportunity Gone Wrong

Former Richmond District Supervisor and San Francisco Transportation Agency Chair Jake* McGoldrick: S.F. must stop Central Subway from being built

Get the point? Good, let’s dance!

Nevius 1988, artist’s conception – perhaps this particular Nevius had yet another strongly held position on this corrupt SFGov boondoggle:

Post sponsored by Nevius Nation 1414 – “We are a part of the Nevius Nation

*Forget about it Jake, it’s Chinatown

SURPRISE: San Francisco Chronicle Writer CW Nevius Comes Out AGAINST the Central Subway – Here’s What He Said

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

All right, first of all, if you want CW Nevius to Block you from his Twitter feed, start up a crappy WordPress blog and call him one of the following:

“SHARP-AS-A-MARBLE, EX-JOCK, EVERYMAN NEWS COLUMNIST/QUASI SPORTSWRITER” or a

“BROWN-NOSING, OBSEQUIOUS KISS-ASS LICKSPITTLE TOADIE”

That’s what did it, one or the other, I figure.

So now I’m banned, for life, from the Twitterings of the The Neve.

Oh well.

Anyway, here’s what the Nevinator has to say today about the Central Subway boondoggle.

See? It doesn’t seem that the Nevemeister opposes the wasteful Subway to Nowhere.

But he does! Check it:

“Nevius: Chinatown subway plan makes me wince”

“There’s really only one question to ask about the proposal to bore a light-rail subway deep under the heart of downtown San Francisco. You’re kidding, right?

“Just the initial math makes your head hurt. Basically it works out to somewhere between $1.22 billion and $1.4 billion for an underground railway that runs for less than two miles and has only three stops. That’s not a transit system, it’s a model railroad.

“Throw in a few of the inevitable cost overruns and this could work out to a billion dollars a mile.”

“No matter. This is the kind of big, splashy project that city officials love to put their name on.”

“Basically, the argument seems to boil down to this - we’ve got the money (as if federal tax dollars grow on trees), the Chinatown community is behind it, why not build it? Oh, let me count some of the reasons.”

“But, critics say, a stop on Market beneath which BART and other Muni lines already run might have made this whole thing an easier sell. That would have created an opportunity for a single station where riders could make connections between regional and local trains, almost like Grand Central Terminal in New York. Instead, riders will have to walk all the way up to Union Square.”

“Oh, and did I mention that in order to get under the BART tube, the subway station at Union Square will have to be at least 95 feet below the surface. That’s nine stories.”

“What is it about that image of deep, underground dirt-munching machines in earthquake country that makes me wince?”

Of course that was from a half-decade back, but it shows how he actually felt about this boondoggly boondoggle, about Big Dig West.

I mean, the Central Subway proposal hasn’t gotten better the past five years, has it? Five years ago, the promise was that it would “make money” for MUNI, that it would subsidize other parts of the system by generating a surplus. But now we know that it will burden the SFMTA and the current projections for the number of riders per day is down dramatically from what people were promising back then.

So what’s a matter Neve? Why don’t you write things like this anymore? Cat got your tongue?

Pak got your tongue?

The Old Nevius wasn’t afraid to be labeled a racist who’s against “transit justice.”

The Old Nevius wasn’t so monomaniacally dedicated to write source greasers every chance he got. 

Oh well.

The Most Ignored Person in the World Has Got To Be This “Pedestrian Monitor” for the Central Subway Boondoggle

Friday, March 29th, 2013

This is the scene down at 4th and Market, where the Big Dig West Coast Central Subway project is, well, digging big these days.

San Francisco’s horrible pedestrians want to get across the northern side of the intersection and it’s this person’s job to stop them from doing so.

It’s not working. Check it out sometime.

But don’t laugh at sad sack Charlie Brown here – the Theory of Prevailing Wages ensures that he makes more moolah than you:

Click to expand

In closing, San Francisco pedestrians are the worst in the world just saying.

For Some Reason, Willie Brown Needs More Money So This Part of Stockton St. is Shut Down for 5 Years

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Is this what the busy intersection of Stockton and Market is going to look like for the next five years?

Apparently.

Click to expand – looking north from Market and Fourth Street. 

Who would design a political system that would assign more power to a former Mayor than the current Mayor?

It’s a mystery…

Anyway, let’s hope the ridiculous three-way light setup at this intersection is now back to two-way light so Market Street traffic won’t be choked as much as it’s been up ’til now.

Is There a Bay Area Transit Rail Project Being Built Right Now That Could Actually Be Useful? Yes, the Sonoma-Marin SMART Train

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I guess they’re building this?

Anyway, they’re advertising it these days, for some reason.

Check it.

Click to expand

Basically, it’s going to be like a mini-BART* but for the North Bay – news to me.

And unlike massively-expensive California High Speed Rail project, we can actually afford the SMART train.

And unlike the useless Central Subway federal pork subway-to-nowhere project in Chinatown, SMART has the potential to benefit its riders.

Hurray!

*Speaking of which, BART to Livermore and/or San Jose, those projects also sound like they could be useful in the future, I don’t know.  

Central Subway Boondoggle Update: Government Audits & Oversight Committee Hearing This Thursday

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Well, here it is, coming up at 10:00 AM on October 27th, 2011:

“Hearing on the recently published 2010-2011 Civil Grand Jury report entitled “Central Subway Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit.”

Leave us review why the Central Subway sucks so much:

 It has a pattern of increasing cost estimates.

 San Francisco will be responsible for any cost overruns which could be substantial.

 The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance environment to the breaking point.

 There are no plans to address existing problems on the Stockton corridor before project completion.

 There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and BART systems.

 It ignores service to the Financial District.

 It ignores current transportation trends

So, the reply from the Central Subway people is that these criticisms are the same old thing. But they’re still valid criticisms, right?

A premature celebration? 

Save Muni will be on the scene at City Hall, looks like:

SaveMuni strongly condemns Mayor Ed Lee’s careless and highly inaccurate response to the Grand Jury’s carefully researched report on the Central Subway

On October 27, the Board of Supervisors Government Audits and Oversight Committee will consider the results of the Grand Jury’s seven month investigation of the Central Subway debacle.  SaveMuni will support the well reasoned conclusions of the Grand Jury’s report and provide new information about the Central Subway and its failings.

SaveMuni will also expose and rebut the MTA’s weak response to the Grand Jury report, which consists mainly of vague generalizations intended to defend the status quo at all costs.   Because of MTA’s and Mayor’s inadequate responses we will call upon the Board of Supervisors to table the matter until such time as the MTA and Mayor Lee have provided detailed and well thought out responses to each of the Grand Jury’s findings and recommendations.

Government Audits & Oversight Committee

Civil Grand Jury Report:  “Central Subway – Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011, 10:00 AM

City Hall Room 263, San Francisco

Agenda:  http://www.sfbos.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=39945

 www.SaveMuni.com

All right, see you there!
Ever more deets:
 
September 17, 2011 - Central Subway Charts:  Compares ridership, costs and trip Times.  Highlights SFMTA’s deceptive marketing practices.
September 9, 2011 – San Francisco City Attorney and Mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera comes out strongly against the Central Subway. 
http://herreraformayor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Central-Subway-Issue-Paper-FINAL.pdf
September 9, 2011 - San Francisco Examiner:  “Central Subway federal funds in jeopardy”.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/09/central-subway-faces-funding-threat
September 4, 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle editorial blasts  Central Subway.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/04/INLN1KU8H8.DTL
August 31,  2011 – Former Board of Supervisors Presdent Aaron Peskins strongly opposes Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/aaron-peskin-blasts-central-subway-1
August 29, 2011 – SaveMuni.com summary of how the Central Subway was deceptively marketed to San Francisco.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/summary-of-sfmta-deception
August 23, 2011 – San Francisco Bay Guardian comes out against the Central Subway.
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/08/23/central-subway-gravy-train-shows-how-city-hall-works
August 23, 2011 – Wall Street Journal editorial blasts Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/wall-street-journal—august-23-2011 
August 18, 2011 – Jake McGoldrick, former Chair, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, announces his strong opposition to the project.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/18/EDV61KOL4I.DTL
August 14,  2011 – Other Muni improvements.  For a plan for Stockton Street click on Download.  For other Muni improvements click on https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/save-muni-summit
July 22,2011 – Cal Watchdog digs into the Central Subway mess.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/cal-watchdog-article
July 16, 2011 – Judge Quentin L. Kopp blasts the project.
Download  
 
July 1, 2011 – San Francisco Grand Jury Releases Report is released.
 May 9, 2011 – Sierra Club Resolution calling for Central Subway funds to be put to better use on behalf of Muni. 
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/sierra-club-central-subway-resolution
November 9, 2010 – SaveMuni.com Central Subway White Paper relased

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Central Subway “Poses Graves Risks to MUNI” – Plus, a MUNI Rider Rant

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

1. Here’s what’s first up:

“SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 27, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued the following statement through his campaign for Mayor of San Francisco on a Board of Supervisors resolution expressing support for the controversial Central Subway project. Herrera published his 11-page issue paper on Sept. 8 outlining his opposition to the project as currently conceived on the basis of extensive evidence. The campaign issue paper detailed Herrera’s rationale for why the Central Subway project has ceased to be a prudent investment; why it will not improve MUNI service; and why it does not fulfill the objectives of a modern citywide transit system.

Herrera’s conclusion mirrored findings of the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, whose July report after a seven-month investigation concluded that the Central Subway project was “too much money for too little benefit,” and should be redesigned.

The following is Dennis Herrera’s statement on the Board resolution today:

“Reasonable minds can disagree, but I strongly believe that the roughly $1-billion-per-mile cost of the Central Subway cannot justified by its purported benefits. As currently designed, it poses grave risks to MUNI’s financial stability and will adversely impact transit riders citywide. I respect the views of Board members who support the project, and I think we can all agree that the enormous costs and risks of this project to San Francisco taxpayers deserve a serious, substantive discussion about its relative merits. I welcome that debate, and hope it is one all the mayoral candidates will have in this election season.”

Herrera’s issue paper on the topic, entitled, “It’s Time to Rethink the Central Subway.”
http://herreraformayor.com/issues/central-subway/ 

OK, fine.

2. Now, let’s hear from a MUNI rider, who also has some thoughts on the horrible, politically-motivated Central Subway.

Read the whole thing from John Murphy right here. An excerpt:

“Supervisors -

I am dismayed to hear your commentary regarding the Central Subway in the Board of Supervisors today. Certainly it has become a political football as we all know.

Full disclosure – in my opinon, there are better options for rider service than digging a tunnel. However, I think a well designed tunnel has a lot of benefit that might scale to larger solutions, so I cannot oppose the idea of such a tunnel.

However, if this subway does get built I feel it is imperative to move the Union Square station to connect directly at Powell. If we spend “over a Billion” dollars on this project, we must do it properly, otherwise it will not draw the support that will get us the money to extend the system further.

The transit dependent citizens of Chinatown – and transit dependent citizens of other neighborhoods – will be done a huge disservice if the subway goes in as it is designed. Every Saturday AM I ride the BART from the outer neighborhoods towards the East Bay. It is absolutely packed with senior citizens from Daly City who are headed to Chinatown, and whom transfer to the 30 at Powell Street Station. The reverse trip is also very common. Those people deserve a legitimate connection from BART and MUNI Metro to the Central Subway – not a series of escalators and a long walk to Union Square. The Central Subway supporters claim that the Union Square/Powell connection does exist, but as a reference the “combined” station will resemble the “Chatelet” station in Paris, which is used as a connection primarly by confused tourists who have yet to realize that the connection is worse than going above ground and walking to your destination.

This echos Supervisor Chu’s call for outer neighborhood connectivity – the current design reduces that connectivity! The average age of the riders I see on those trains is well over 60. In theory the 30 Stockton will still exist, but the operations funding needed to run the Central Subway will reduce the ability to run that line at frequency….”

I learned a thing or two there, didn’t you?

I mean, I just don’t understand how on Earth the Central Subway, as it’s proposed, makes sense.

3. Do you know that after they cancelled the Bridge to Nowhere, Sarah Palin went ahead and built the $26,000,000 connecting road anyway? It’s called the Road to Nowhere.

See it? They were going to build a Golden Gate Bridge so people in town could get to the airport on a road instead of on a ferry. The bridge was going to go in right at the lower right of the photo:

 

Click to expand

Why should the federal government fund projects that can’t get financed on a more local level?

Oh well.

Best San Francisco Examiner Newspaper Cover Ever: “Art Money for a Dog Killer” Re: Central Subway Art

Friday, September 16th, 2011

There’s no reason for me to read the actual bit, AFAIAC, ’cause I already don’t like our troubled CentralSubwayBigDigSubwayToNowhere.

Click to expand

But as for you, enjoy.

Central T Subway: Connecting People, Connecting Communities, Giving Money to Dog Killers 

BTW, here are the policies for the ridiculous Central Subway blog, you know, in case it gets a reader or commenter some day.

“Central Subway is Phase 2 of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Third Street Light Rail Project.  It will operate as an extension of the T Third line and will extend light rail service with a surface stop on 4th Street near Brannan Street, and subway service under the South of Market (SoMa), Union Square and Chinatown neighborhoods.  The Central Subway project is a critical transportation improvement linking neighborhoods in the southeastern part of San Francisco with the retail and employment centers downtown and in Chinatown, and it will provide much needed and improved transportation to an under-served portion of the City.

The Central Subway Blog is monitored and maintained by the project’s Outreach Team.

Comment Policy

The Central Subway Blog serves as a forum for open communication about San Francisco’s Central Subway project.  We welcome your comments and expect that our conversation will follow the general rules of respectful civil discourse – we expect this community to treat its members with respect.

Bloggers are fully responsible for everything they include in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.  We do not discriminate against any views, but we reserve the right not to post comments.  The Central Subway Blog will remove any comments that include personal attacks, slurs, offensive language, or otherwise inappropriate content.

Thank you for visiting the Central Subway Blog!

Linking Policy and Disclaimer of Endorsement

The views expressed by official authors of the Central Subway Blog reflect the official opinion of the Central Subway project and SFMTA.  The views of public comments may not necessarily reflect those of Central Subway, SFMTA or the City of San Francisco.

The Central Subway Blog includes useful hypertext links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations and individuals’ blogs.  The Central Subway and SFMTA share these links solely for the public’s information and convenience.

When you select a link to an outside Web site, you are leaving the Central Subway Blog and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside Web site.

The Central Subway and SFMTA do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on a linked Web site.

The Central Subway and SFMTA do not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked Web sites, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.

The Central Subway and SFMTA cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites.  Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Those who provide comments are responsible for the copyright of the text they provide.

The Central Subway and SFMTA are not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked Web sites.

The Central Subway and SFMTA do not guarantee that outside Web sites comply with Section 508 (Accessibility Requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.”

Hey, SPUR – Why Don’t You Take Your Precious Central Subway and Shove It Up Your Ass? A Reasoned Retort

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Let’s check in on the Central Subway.

Comes now SPURious establishmentarian Stephen L. Taber to sneer at those who don’t don skirts and wave pom poms for San Francisco’s very own, quasi-federally funded Subway to Nowhere, or Big Dig II if that prior terms offends. Read his words and a brief retort below.

But first, let’s check in with “Auntie Rose” Pak, who looks like she’s celebrating the Central Subway already:

Charming!

Now, how much of an exaggeration is this?

“In order to get from Chinatown to the Market street metro lines/BART, you go down ten stories, ride one stop, then you have to go up 10 stories, walk 3 football fields, and then go down another 7 stories and wait for your train.”

I’ll tell you, not much.

Leave us begin:

[I]n San Francisco nothing new has ever been proposed that does not draw opposition just because it is new.

Or, maybe people oppose the corrupt Central Subway because it sucks air, instead of because it’s new? Isn’t that at least a possibility? I think you’re jumping to conclusions, SLT. They call that a dicto simpliciter, don’t they, counselor?

A small band of shortsighted naysayers has emerged with the irrational notion that a subway line would be slower than traffic-choked bus lines and that merely adding more slow buses would solve the problem.

Uh, most sensible people who have looked at the spiraling costs of Big Dig West have concluded that it’s Too Much Money for Too Little Benefit - like the Civil Grand Jury of San Francisco, 2010-2011, for example. Are the members of the Grand Jury “irrational?” Should they, as a group, be hospitalized for mental illness?

They would let the $1.3 billion in federal and state funding be sent to other cities to solve their transit problems, leaving San Francisco without a similar opportunity to correct our dysfunctional transit system for decades to come.

Uh, does free federal money “solve problems?” Really? Sometimes not. You see, what the Grand Jury is worried about is how dysfunctional the rest of MUNI is now. The Grand Jury, in its wisdom, knows all about the free money from Uncle Sucker, but that doesn’t mean that the Central Subway is good for San Francisco.

These opponents have called this project a “Subway to Nowhere.”

Well, that’s a reference to Sarah Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere, aka the Gravina Island Bridge. Now that particular project had mindless boosters as well, just like the Central Subway has SPUR and corrupt Chinatown “leaders.” And the idea of building a Golden Gate Bridge to an island with 50 people on it was a boondoggle too. So why are you bringing this up, dude?

It is an offense to our Chinese community, whose historic Chinatown, a vibrant and bustling commercial and residential neighborhood, is certainly “somewhere” and clearly warrants rapid transit service.

Uh, I think you mean Chinese-American, right, in the parlance of the day, right? And I think you’re being too touchy there, dude. But all right, how about Big Dig II or Big Dig West? I’m an opponent now and that’s my name for your corruption. Does that offend?

Conspiracy theorists argue that the Central Subway is simply the result of a political deal.

Well now you’re talking. Yes, yes, it’s the result of a political deal. Don’t you know? Let’s let John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle take over now: “A vigorous debate about the Central Subway inevitably would lead to a focus on interim Mayor Ed Lee’s relationship with ex-Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak, two chief proponents of the project, and their allies who have enjoyed a slice of the contracts to date.” Am I a conspiracy theorist? I don’t know, not generally, like I think Oswald alone when he killed JFK, for example. As far as the CS is concerned, of course there was a political deal – this is common knowledge about town.

But this claim overlooks the real history. The Central Subway was a key component of the “four corridors plan” developed by a citywide citizen’s committee and approved by the voters as part of Proposition B in 1989. 

Doesn’t this 4 Corridor plan go back much farther than that, per the Grand Jury? Are you familiar with the Grand Jury’s recent report? They go on and on about it, FYI. It’s like you haven’t read it, like you haven’t acknowledged it…

Because Muni will retain the No. 30 bus line in order to provide local service, the critics will not have to ride the Central Subway, but can sit on an uncrowded 30-Stockton bus while the bulk of the travelers speed past them underground.

No, don’t you get it, the Central Subway is too much money for too little benefit, right? A few riders will benefit from the CS, but most of the benefit will accrue to the builders and their allies, the Powers That Be. Overall, this subway will be a burden on MUNI. Hey, why don’t we call it Solyndra II?

Stephen L. Taber is chairman of the SPUR Central Subway Task Force, a former SPUR board member and current member of its advisory council. He is a San Francisco native and an attorney at Meyers Nave.

Oh, you’re a San Francisco Native. Well, why didn’t you say so? Now that changes everything. All hail Stephen L. fucking Taber who had the god-damned foresight to be borned in the 415. Withdrawn, forget my reasoned reply.

Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown, San Francisco’s corrupt Chinatown.

Talking Points:

 It has a pattern of increasing cost estimates.
 San Francisco will be responsible for any cost overruns
which could be substantial.
 The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing
operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance
environment to the breaking point.
 There are no plans to address existing problems on the
Stockton corridor before project completion.
 There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and
BART systems.
 It ignores service to the Financial District.
 It ignores current transportation trends