Central Subway Equipment to Block North Beach Streets

The Central Subway's tunnel-boring equipment will be parked on North Beach's Columbus Avenue.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012  |  Updated 1:37 PM PDT
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Central Subway Equipment to Block North Beach Streets

Subtract the sidewalk and add tunnel-boring equipment parked in front, and you have the new Central Subway-improved North Beach!

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be digging on the subway -- and blocking access to the trattorias, coffee shops, and retailers of North Beach, all the live long year. Two of them, in fact.

North Beach residents say they didn't know about the SFMTA's plan to store much of the heavy equipment needed to build the Central Subway along Columbus Avenue, the neighborhood's main drag, the San Francisco Examiner reported. But now they do know about plans to rip up sidewalks and narrow Columbus Avenue down to two lanes of traffic -- and they're not happy.

The construction equipment that will dig the Central Subway's 1.4-mile tunnel from Caltrain to Chinatown needs to exit somewhere, and that somewhere is North Beach, the newspaper reported. North Beach is not scheduled to get a train station, leading some residents to complain that it's getting stuck with all of the hassle and none of the benefit from the $1.6 billion subway project.

Relocating the utilities, moving traffic and tearing up sidewalks "will basically render this entire area inaccessible," said Daniel Macchiarini, a longtime merchant and artist with a shop and studio on Grant Avenue.

Supervisor David Chiu, who represents the area, says he hopes the SFMTA will find an "alternate" plan. SFMTA says the equipment needs to go through North Beach in preparation for a possible Fisherman's Wharf station.

Plans for any such station do not yet exist.

The SFMTA plans to begin construction work by the end of this year, with heavy construction starting in 2013, the newspaper reported.

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