To satisfy critics, bridge district shrinks size of controversial Sausalito ferry terminal proposal

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Sausalito Harbor photo by Zrants

A project to revamp the ferry terminal in Sausalito and planned upgrades to San Francisco’s docks, above, along with Larkspur, are intended to smooth boarding for wheelchair users under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

An embattled $11 million project to rebuild and revamp an aging Sausalito Ferry terminal will shrink to meet concerns of Sausalito neighbors, as the project faced further critique last week.

And the project may face other obstacles as well, as The City of Sausalito sent a letter essentially barring construction crews from a long-planned staging area.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District voted to mitigate the size of the revamped terminal last Friday, after working in cooperation with The City of Sausalito… (more)



SF Transportation Authority – CAC meeting Wed May 27

Notes from the meeting by guest author:

The SFCTA CAC item 12 addressed the Potrero Hill Neighborhood Transportation Plan.  The southern Potrero Hill area will be rebuilt and the curvy  streets realigned to a grid design.   The enclosure to Item 12 is a full report and Appendix F discusses a shuttle and costs linking the neighborhood.  Line 53 was discontinued around 2009.  Some CAC members expressed concern that Muni should provide the service rather than a private contract provider.

Item 13 addressed various fund requests.  DPW requested  $1,045,000 in Prop K funds for tree planting and maintenance.  A CAC member questioned the continued tree program and impact on residents once the tree is relinquished to the property owner.  My comments were: repair the tree induced buckled sidewalks backlog first before planting more trees during a drought.  Two members abstained from voting on Item 13.

$1 million dollars for planting trees during a drought using prop K funds does seem a bit much while citizens are being told to stop watering lawns. Should we ask the governor about it?

Item 16 updated the CAC on the platform height between High Speed Rail and CalTrain on the SF/SJ blended system.  The powerpoint provides the details as the San Jose, Millbrae and San Francisco stations would be affected.   Last month during general public comment, I asked about the platform / rail car design status.  Still not resolved.

Item 17 Transportation Sustainability Program eliminates Level of Service from CEQA project consideration and imposes a transportation fee per square foot on Residential Projects.  Commercial projects have a fee (old Prop M).  I commented that this presentation was made in early 2012 to the SFCTA / MTA and Planning Commission with a completion of the end of 2013.   The current presentation estimates an end of 2015 completion,  a two year delay.  I questioned how many residential projects outside of Priority Development areas have received a free pass by not paying an impact fee.   Also, any impact fee can be used anywhere in the city for a transportation project.  They are expecting the Developer  to  implement the Transportation Demand tool kit  encouraging sustainable travel.  The goal is to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).   I questioned the impact of transportation network vehicles (Uber, Lyft) driving around empty searching for the next ride on the VMT calculation.

Lastly, during general public comment, I discussed the Corp Commuter Bus Pilot program.  Explained the large buses have a rear swing and displayed the broken red lens from a double deck bus that collided with a  Muni key stop ramp.  CAC requested a future update  presentation on the MTA Pilot program.

North Beach Residents Fight Big Hole

By ELIZABETH WARMERDAM: courthousenews – excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Neighborhood groups in San Francisco’s North Beach sued the federal and city transit agencies over a “massive excavation project” in the popular tourist area. and sued the Federal Transit Administration and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in Federal Court.
The plaintiffs challenge “the so-called ‘Pagoda Option,’ a massive excavation project located in the heart of the historic North Beach area of San Francisco, within an historic district and adjacent or proximate to multiple properties and parks. The ‘Pagoda Option’ is associated with but is not an essential part of a proposed subway (Central Subway Project) connecting San Francisco’s South of market area with Chinatown. The ‘Pagoda Option’ represents a potential means of removing the tunnel-boring machines to be used for subway construction from the completed tunnel. This lawsuit does not challenge the whole subway project but rather the superfluous and historically destructive ‘Pagoda Option.'”…

“On October 25, 2013, more than five months after the FTA Determination and just six days before the deadline for claims seeking judicial review of the Pagoda Option, SFMTA issued a ‘Construction Update’ stating for the first time that the Pagoda Option includes a large excavation at 1455 Stockton Street, in North Beach. The excavated area will be at least 20 feet wide and 27 feet deep. None of defendants’ environmental review documents – not the SEIS, not the ROD, not the ‘North Beach Retrieval Option Review,’ not the Addendum, and not the FTA determination – disclosed or evaluated any construction activities at 1455 Stockton Street,” according to the complaint.
This location, as admitted by the FTA and SFMTA, is an historic resource. A March 2008 “Historic Property Survey Report” attached to the ROD stated that the address was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places for its historically significant architecture and as a significant contributor to the North Beach Historic District.
“The Cavalli Building, located at 1435-1445 Stockton Street is an historic resource within the North Beach Historic District. It is immediately adjacent to and will be impacted by the Pagoda Option excavation now planned for 1455 Stockton Street.
“The building at 635-39 Green Street (also known as 36 Card Alley) is another historic resource within the North Beach Historic District that would be impacted by the Pagoda Option excavation,” the nonprofits say.
They claim the transportation agencies violated law by failing to evaluate the potential use of historic resources and by approving a transportation project that will use historic resources or parklands when feasible alternatives exist.
They seek an injunction requiring that the agencies take no action to implement the Pagoda Option and withdraw their approval of the Pagoda Option.
They are represented by Nicholas C. Yost with Dentons US LLP…

North Beach Lawsuit over Central Subway

FEB. 22, 2013 DEADLINE: COMMENTS ON TEP (Transit Effectiveness Project).

SFMTA is proposing improvements to Muni.  Some proposals have drawn controversy.  And everyone has good/ better ideas.
When commenting, remember that the Central Subway’s hundreds of millions of dollars of state/ local funding can be better used to improve hundreds of miles of Muni routes.  The Central Subway Project has drained Muni dollars, cut Muni services, eliminated bus lines and increased fees/ fines/ fares to subsidize the 1.7 mile Central Subway.  BETTER PRIORITIES =  BEST TEP SOLUTION.   Fix Muni first!
Regards, Howard Wong, AIA,


If you have general questions regarding the environmental review for this project, please contact Debra Dwyer at (415) 575-9031 or

SFMTA reaches private property lease terms for Central Subway construction – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) finalized the lease terms with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property in North Beach, Calif.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) finalized the lease terms with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property in North Beach, Calif.
This step brings SFMTA closer to finalizing plans to extract its two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used to construct the Central Subway. The lease is subject to approval by the SFMTA Board.
“The Central Subway invests in a modern 21st Century public transportation system for San Francisco that will connect our city’s diverse neighborhoods and create thousands of jobs,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. “This next step will allow the project to move forward in building a transit system for the growing population and workforce of the future and minimizes the construction impact to the North Beach neighborhood.”
The two-year lease, capped at $3.15 million, allows SFMTA to demolish the existing structure and utilize the property to retrieve the TBMs…
The project will also require National Environmental Policy Act clearance by the Federal Transit Administration. If all of the necessary legislative processes and approvals occur by April 1, 2013, then the demolition of the Pagoda Palace site can then commence. Before any construction begins, SFMTA will conduct building surveys on the properties adjacent to the Pagoda Palace site to assess existing conditions…  (more)


This is your opportunity to protect North Beach from debilitating construction impacts. The SFMTA has not clearly explained their plans.  Your questions have not been answered, especially with the fire alarm that ended the 1-22-13 community meeting.  Because similar projects have put businesses out of business, the City needs to hear your concerns.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013, 12 PM, ITEM 7a (12:30 PM ?, Pagoda Theater)