Central Subway tunnel boring machines will live on

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Tunnel-boring machines Big Alma and Mom Chung might be finished with Muni’s Central Subway project, but they have thousands of feet left in their arsenals. Upon refurbishment, they would be suitable for more local projects, such as extending the subway farther or building tunnels for BART’s extension to San Jose.

BART is currently building more track south from Fremont and into northern San Jose, with the goal of one day going into the downtown area. For a future project, 5 miles of the BART extension in San Jose would require underground tunneling, although designs are still being refined. If the refurbished Central Subway tunnel-boring machines meet the criteria for BART, they “certainly would be worth considering,” said Bernice Alaniz, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which is building the extension because it is out of BART’s district.

An extension of the Central Subway to Fisherman’s Wharf is being studied. But even if that moves forward, Big Alma and Mom Chung are not designed to make a turn that would be necessary for the project… (more)


Please forward this to appropriate parties.

PAGODA THEATER, Central Subway Project:
Property Address:  1731 Powell Street, Block/ Lot:  0101/ 004
Demolition Permit No.:  201302190452, Filed 02/19/2013

Compared to Chinatown’s open permit process, the Pagoda’s attempted demolition without permits is symptomatic of the project’s flaw – namely, SFMTA acknowledges the project is not even necessary

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NO PERMITS:  The Demolition contractor, MH Construction, has been jack-hammering, digging with backhoes, using electric saws and attempting to hide work behind opaque screens.  Each day, when asked for permits by neighbors, MH Construction makes different excuses.

NO POSTING:  There is no large poster on the building for a mandated time period, showing the granting of a demolition permit, permit application data, contact phone numbers and timelines for questions and appeals.

NO PUBLIC NOTIFICATION:  No mailing to properties within 300 feet of the site has occurred, showing the granting of a demolition permit, permit application data, contact phone numbers and timelines for questions and appeals.

NO REVIEW OF ENGINEERING PLANS:  Because of an independent geotechnical engineer’s warnings of unstable saturated soils, neighbors have been asking to review the Pagoda’s Engineering Plans.  But neighbors have had no such opportunity.  Moreover, there has been no follow-up to Neighborhood Meetings—at which a majority of neighbors asked that TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) be buried or extracted in Chinatown.

PAGODA THEATER, 1731 Powell St.,. Demolition Permit No.:201302190452,

If you witness illegal work without permits:
DBI Illegal Activities:  File a Complaint at (415)-558-6570.
DBI Permit Violations:  File a Complaint at (415)-558-5570.

Police Non-emergency Complaint:  SFPD doesn’t have jurisdiction but report any serious infractions.  Ask police to talk to contractors about obeying the law at (415)-553-0123Feel free to call your own contacts at DBI, Planning, City Attorneys, Board…..

 SFMTA ACKNOWLEDGES THAT PROJECT IS NOT NECESSARY:  The demolition is being rushed for political reasons.  Internal SFMTA documents show that demolition is not necessary for the Central Subway:  In SFMTA’s Risk Management Report No. 46, Risk Item 208 notes:  “March 2013:  2. If resolution of costs associated with the Pagoda option is not achieved, the TBMs will be buried to maintain budget requirements.” 

So, TBMs can be buried under Columbus Avenue, Stockton Street or Chinatown, eliminating the empty 2,000 foot tunnels from Chinatown to Washington Square and the Pagoda Project;  and saving up to $80 million – better used to quickly improve Muni throughout northern and western San Francisco.

BAD MUNI PRIORITIES:  For many years, SFMTA has continued Muni service cuts, route eliminations, shortened bus lines, deferred maintenance, switchbacks, increasing fares/ fees/ fines/ meters….  Muni has fewer riders now than it did a decade ago—the only major transit agency to lose customers among the nation’s top six transit districts.   Only 17 percent of all trips within the city are made by public transit; 21 percent are by biking-walking and 62 percent are by motorized vehicles.  Politicized management, not insufficient funding, is Muni’s roadblock for world-class public transit.   The agency has wasted funds on transit-poor projects, like the 1.7 mile Central Subway, while taking money from Muni. 

Howard Wong, AIA, SaveMuni.com

Fate Of Central Subway Excavation Machines Stirs SF North Beach Debate

Reporting Chris Filippi : CBSlocal.com – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The question of what to do with two huge tunnel boring machines that will dig the hole for the Central Subway project in San Francisco is generating more controversy.
On Wednesday night, over 100 people packed a community meeting in North Beach where some neighbors questioned why the machines can’t be left underground.
SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said getting the machines out and tearing down a building many consider an eyesore seems like a win-win for the community.
“I’ll note also that there was no support in this room at the time to leave the machines buried here in North Beach,” Reiskin said… (more)

The more they learn the less they like.

Maybe people object to the soaring costs that turned up the minute the contract was signed, or maybe the disagreement between engineers cause some to pause and re-think the plan, or maybe the fact that reports on the bolts were ignored prior to installing them, and only when they obviously failed were they defects taken seriously. What are we NOT seeing that we need to concern ourselves with and who do we trust?

Hi Everyone, let’s keep together as a neighborhood!

The Land-Use Committee is your only opportunity to make public comments.
Voice your concerns and tell your stories.  Members of our community will still suffer from the Pagoda Theater’s unnecessary work.  Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) can be buried underground or extracted in Chinatown.  The Pagoda Theater requires a Supplemental EIR—due to unstable soil conditions, adjacent historic buildings and spot-zoning to benefit one property.  Let’s support ALL our North Beach merchants and neighbors!

City Hall Legislative Chambers, Room 250
AGENDA:  Item 2 Special Order at 1:30 pm—Pagoda Theater

Email the Mayor and Board of Supervisors:
Mayor and Supervisors: (Updated January 13, 2013)

AGENDA:  Item 33 Pagoda Theater—3:30 PM (?)
Note: No further public comments are allowed.

Bury TBMs or Extract TBMs in Chinatown – The Pagoda Theater’s TBMs extraction is totally unnecessary.  It is fiscally irresponsible to spend up to $80 million for the northern tunnel extension to North Beach—to get only $4.4 million in TBM salvage value.  Instead, per the original plans in 2005-08, the TBMs can be extracted or buried in Chinatown, saving up to $80 million and eliminating all disruptions.

Pagoda Theater Extraction Cuts Muni Bus Service – TBMs extraction at the Pagoda will cost an unnecessary $9.15 million in Muni operating funds.

STREETSBLOG:  “Central Subway Pagoda Deal Will Take $9 Million From Muni Operating Funds”   http://sf.streetsblog.org/2013/02/20/central-subway-pagoda-deal-will-take-9-million-from-muni-operating-funds/

Telegraph Hill Dwellers asks for TBMs extraction in Chinatown. –  If built, the Central Subway Project will reduce surface transit throughout the northeast quadrant.  In the Federal Transit Administration’s summary, the Central Subway will take $15.21 million in operating funds from Muni—annually.  Per the Final SEIS/SEIR, the subway will cause 76,400 hours of reduced Annual Diesel/ Trolley Bus Hours.  In the FY 2012 New Starts Criteria Report, the subway will cause 34,426 hours of reduced Annual Trolley Bus Hours.

SFMTA reaches private property lease terms for Central Subway construction

rtands.com – 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)