Pagoda theater construction: muni and neighborhood planning process needed

Press Conference and Neighborhood Planning Meeting
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 6:30 pm
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard Street, San Francisco

At the neighborhood meeting on January 22, a fire alarm prevented questions and answers regarding the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) plan to demolish the Pagoda Theater, construct an access shaft and pull two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) out of the Central Subway tunnel below.

Although invited to the March 26 meeting, SFMTA may not meet with neighbors until April.  But Pagoda construction may start in April.  And the Central Subway’s EIR allows many years of construction-related deliveries through the tunnel to Chinatown—before the Pagoda’s owner constructs a condominium project.  A collaborative planning process is needed immediately.

SF WEEKLY:  “Central Subway:  Muni’s Drilling Plan Strains Credulity”

Letter to SFMTA:
Questions to SFMTA:
Let’s review technical reports and start planning for:

  • Unnecessary impacts on nearby businesses, merchants and residents.
  • Street closures, traffic diversions, noise, dust, exhaust fumes, truck routing, debris hauling, materials delivery, pedestrian safety, public safeguards….
  • High risk in geological conditions will endanger nearby buildings and streets.  The proposed TBM Retrieval Box is only 18’-7” from the 1907 brick building adjacent to the Pagoda Theater.  The 45 feet X 49 feet X 42 feet deep box is well below adjacent foundations, and secant piles are drilled to 70 foot depths.
  • No nearby building has foundation or basement deeper than 10 feet below grade.
  • No part of a 42 foot excavation will be in competent bedrock, while digging 36 feet below the groundwater table.
  • There are insufficient or no geological/ structural studies of the Pagoda and adjacent properties.
  • Underground springs flow from Russian Hill under the Pagoda Theater and older buildings.  On Filbert near Columbus, there was once a bathhouse that tapped into underground springs.  In the past, neighbors could hear rushing water underground.
  • The earlier Muriel’s Theater project at the Pagoda encountered underground water, which resulted in increased construction costs.  Also, removal of gas tanks at the old corner gas station found underground water.
  • The North Beach Pool subsided because of an underground stream.  After the 2005 renovation, the pool had further subsidence and was closed for more structural work.
  • Fallback construction plans, if high costs and risks can not be mitigated, include burying TBMs in the ground (like in New York City), removing TBMs at the Chinatown Station (per the original EIR)….

Whether one opposes or supports the subway, no one supports subterfuge!
Sponsored by a North Beach businesses/ residents group (see Letter to SFMTA).