Well at least someone besides me said it: CW Nevius wrote a couple of pieces in the Chronicle this past week, expressing similar concerns to my own that we’re about to embark on an expensive white elephant of a rail line known as the Central Subway.
The Central Subway is an intersection of petty political promises and half-assed planning that will do nothing to improve transit for anyone, be they those who live in North Beach, Chinatown, downtown, or on the T-Third (!) line, and as a bonus, will need to steal trains from all the other lines to accommodate this short, 3-stop, multi-billion dollar Tunnel of Love.
Mayor Newsom loves to talk about it though, since he can ribbon cut at a ceremony or something. At last year’s “Fake Question Time,” he was able to say in the same sentence that he “wanted to hear what people thought,” but also that “this is a done deal and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And it would seem he’s correct on the latter point – there seems to be this mantra of “if we don’t take the Feds’ money for this project, no matter how lame, we’re ‘losing out” on something” that everyone at MUNI and City hall repeat.
Ah well. I keep forgetting that common sense and reason are in short supply these days, and that “leadership” in San Francisco consists of doing Really Stupid Things to appease future patrons of future campaigns. Epic FAIL.
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It still was a puff piece considering his robbing of the coffer’s seem to need a feel good piece about a already troubled MUNI and it’s head masters.
“would rather see MUNI prioritize little things like:
— Buses that run on time
— Less-surly drivers”
Or … drivers who would pass the driving test give to teenagers? This morning’s driver on the 29 was throwing passengers around worse than an N on a bad braking day. It was as if every stop sign she came to was a complete surprise, and the rest of the time she was experimenting with the lash in the drivetrain. Almost on the floor of the bus during my 30-minute ride were a teenager, college student, and of course a little old lady. Fortunately the aisle was so full that other riders were there to catch them.
It is possible to brake a bus smoothly, or so I hear.
I met a sculptor from the Midwest at Martuni’s bar about ten years ago who had just come from a meeting where he’d been commissioned for artwork for the new “downtown subway.” I asked him what the heck he was talking about and he described the multi-billion dollar boondoggle that’s just been presented to us as a “done deal” ten years later.
In truth, it was a white elephant deal stemming from the Willie Brown, Jr. years, and I’m sure he and Rose Pak have already made pretty amounts of money “consulting” on the project. This stinky thing has been around forever. Do everything you can to stop it, although it’s probably way too late. The deals have already been made, secretly.
Why spend money on commissioned artwork? Rename the Chinatown tunnel the Academy of Art University Subway and the art will appear all on its own.
Before Muni builds anymore rail, it needs to prioritize cost-effectiveness. If Muni can’t build something that doesn’t cost nearly $1 Billion a mile, than it shouldn’t be building anything.