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Friday, November 18, 2011

Central Subway - The Subway to Nowhere

Muni to Chinatown Station?

When you think of the Central Subway, how do you feel? In my point of view, I think the subway is a poorly thought out project.

It's truly a "subway to nowhere." Why would the city decide to build a subway that ends in Chinatown? Sure, it helps the infamous overcrowding of the 8X, 30, and 45 lines, and the horrifying traffic on Stockton, but that's mostly it.

Just Chinatown?
Why doesn't the line go any further than Chinatown? The city is installing a stop in tourist infested Union Square, but what's the use of stopping there when tourists have only one place to visit, Chinatown?

Can't the line go further to end at Fisherman's Wharf?

Getting to the Wharf from downtown is a total pain in the ass, you either have to wait at a Cable Car stop and pay an outrageous $6 fare or be sardine packed on the F-Market streetcar. By having a light rail line going underground from Union Square to the Wharf, tourists and residents alike can get between these areas in record time, and it helps reduce the overcrowding on the F-Market and Powell cable car lines.

If you can shuttle more passengers to the places they need to go, Muni stands to make a bigger cut of money from their farebox revenues and get people from end to end in record time. Even the residents of North Beach and Wharf areas would benefit too with quick metro service to downtown.

Common sense! A lot of the general public has it, except for most of our city politicians and people coordinating the subway project.


Mikesonn said...

"Sure, it helps the infamous overcrowding of the 8X, 30, and 45 lines, and the horrifying traffic on Stockton, but that's mostly it."

Actually, it won't. The Chinatown station is 6+ stories below Washington St which is at the south end of Chinatown. Also, most of the 8x/30/45 Chinatown riders are going to Market to transfer to the underground/BART. Once they try the Union Square/Powell transfer once, they'll never do it again.

Also, once the CS is built, Muni will begin cutting surface bus service. Now you'll have pretty much the same ridership on fewer buses. It won't be pretty.

Akit said...

True, Muni could cut the other lines. All we need is live chickens running around the trains on the infamously slow T line.

Mikesonn said...

It won't be a complete cut. I should of said "reducing surface bus service." I believe they are going to target the 30 first, but I've found it hard to pin the SFMTA down on which lines will see less service. But one or more lines definitely will, where else is the extra operating money going to come from?

Anonymous said...

For purposes of the Central Subway EIR it was the 30-short line which runs to Van Ness (not all the way to the Marina) was cut, but that was never intended to be the final decision.

SFMTA will look at the service changes for both bus and metro closer to opening. Other projects in the works might effect what changes they would make, like the planned extension of either the 30 or 45 from Caltrain down into Mission Bay or Potrero Hill.

CRS aaferguson32@hotmail.com said...

Muni hasn't looked at improving surface transit, because officials want it to remain bad.

When the surface transportation is really bad, the better the proposed Central Subway project looks.

Anonymous said...

The Muni Metro gets stuck in traffic underground every morning and afternoon. People are not going to ride that and get stuck underground.

Mark Taylor said...

It is a waste of resources and as Akit points out, the T is a very slow line. I take a 30 or 45 out to North Beach every weekend from Caltrain. The bus is always or nearly full by Mission or if not fills up at Market or Kearney stops. It empties out in Chinatown and on the return trip empties out (after filling up in Chinatown) at Market.

So they designed the central subway with that in mind. It ought to go out all the way towards Fisherman's Wharf or at least near Washington Square. That T will be as packed as the 30, 45 and 8x combined making it more uncomfortable than before.

As for Fisherman's Wharf, here is one way I do it from Caltrain. I either can take a 47 for slow ride or catch a 30 or 45 to Washington Square. I get off there and catch the next 8x which is has emptied out coming up Kearney. It goes right down Powell and terminates right across from Pier 39.

BBnet3000 said...

The only way this line makes sense is with an underground station at Washington Square and continuing on the surface to Fisherman's Wharf.

Even then, the revision to make a single station at Union Square to transfer to the Market Street lines has definitely diminished the utility of such a transfer.

Mark Taylor said...

If I remember correctly, when operational getting off at the Union Square station requires a very long walk to get Powell St BART/MUNI through the underground access tunnel.

Has that been changed or am I wrong on this?

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents:
1. At the very least, there needs to be a station at Washington Square. That way people coming from further out, including North Beach (on foot), the Marina (via the 30), Cow Hollow (via the 45) and Fisherman's Wharf (via the 8X), can transfer. The tunnel boring machine is already being brought above ground in Washington Square anyway, so why not build a station there?

2. After the subway opens:
- Reroute the 30 to follow the existing 41 route to the Financial District and Transbay Terminal
- Have the 41 run all day
- Kill the 45