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Release date: 1/26/11

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), and contractor Synergy Project Management, Inc, will begin utility relocation for the Union Square/Market Street area on Monday, January 31. This will require relocating all underground utilities from the street to underneath the sidewalks along Stockton Street. The SFMTA anticipates that construction on Stockton Street and on nearby streets will continue through June 2012. The Central Subway utility relocation is part of the $1.58 billion Central Subway project, Phase 2 of the Third Street Light Rail Project.

“The Central Subway project is vital to linking the diverse communities within our City,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “I commend the federal, state, local, and community commitments that have allowed us to undertake this transportation investment that will connect the southeast sector of the City to Chinatown.”

“This project represents one of the largest investments in San Francisco transit infrastructure in recent history," said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “We will continue to work with the communities along the Central Subway route to ensure that the construction process is as smooth as possible."

The work area will include Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets, including side streets on Sutter, Geary, Post, O’Farrell, Ellis, Market Streets and Maiden Lane. The contractor will maintain pedestrian access to all businesses during business hours. Those traveling or working in the area can expect an increase in noise, dust and traffic as a result of the construction.

The Union Square utility relocation work includes moving underground utilities from under the street to under the sidewalk. Sidewalks along Stockton Street will be removed in phases for this work. At the end of the utility relocation work, the sidewalks will be restored with temporary standard City concrete sidewalks in anticipation of the future Central Subway Union Square station construction. The removal of utilities from underneath the street allows for the future excavation of the subway station without impacting utility service for nearby residents and businesses.

The construction work will begin at the southeast corner of Geary and Stockton streets. The work will proceed along the east side of the street, one block at a time down Stockton Street to Market Street. The work will then continue back up the opposite side of Stockton Street to Union Square. Once the work south of Geary is complete, the construction will continue north along the east side of Stockton Street from Geary Street to Post Street.

Construction is scheduled to continue seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., although night work may be necessary. Noise and dust will be kept to a minimum.

The businesses along the construction route will remain open for business. The contractor will always maintain safe pedestrian access to all stores during business hours and construction directly in front of store entrances will not be done during business hours. The Central Subway Project will provide identification signs for affected businesses.

Standard traffic signs will be used to detour pedestrian and vehicle traffic and variable message signs will be placed on Geary Street, O’Farrell Street and Stockton Street to inform approaching traffic of detour routes. Detour signs will include directions to nearby parking garages.

Traffic Impacts

  • 3 to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, and Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., two lanes of traffic will be open on Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets. Two detour routes will be in place to alleviate traffic congestion. Motorists going to 4th Street and other SOMA destinations will be advised to take one of the detours.
  • At all other times only one lane of traffic will be available on Stockton Street between Sutter and Market streets. Two detour routes will be in place to alleviate traffic congestion. Motorists going to 4th Street and other SOMA destinations will be advised to take one of the detours.
  • Two options for traffic detours will be in place to allow better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic.
    • Option 1: Divert west on Sutter Street, south on Mason Street, east on Ellis Street and south on 4th Street, or
    • Option 2: Divert east on Post Street, south on Montgomery Street to New Montgomery Street, west on Howard Street and south on 4th Street.
  • Parking Control Officers will be on hand to monitor traffic.
  • Garages within the construction zone will also be open and accessible.
  • When two lanes are open, the Stockton Street transit-only lane will remain in effect.

Muni Service Impacts

  • During the utility relocation, the following Muni routes may experience delays, but will be able to continue their routes on Stockton Street:
    • 8X Bayshore Express
    • 30 Stockton
    • 45 Union-Stockton

All street vendors within the street right of way (i.e. hot dog carts, merchant vendors, etc.) will be relocated per SFPD street vendor policies. The flower stands on Stockton Street near Geary Street will move to nearby locations on Geary. The flower stand near O’Farrell Street will move to Market Street at Ellis.

The Central Subway outreach team has been working closely with the Union Square Business Improvement District since July. They most recently met in January with more than 140 business representatives to provide an update.

The first section of the utility relocation began with 4th Street last January. The finishing work on that portion of the project between Bryant and Howard streets will be completed by the end of April. This work prepares the street and surrounding area for the construction of the Moscone Station and the subway portal under I-80.

The “Utility Relocation & Moscone Station Portal contract” for $9.3 million was awarded to Synergy Project Management, Inc., a San Francisco company.

The Central Subway is Phase 2 of the Third Street Light Rail Project. When service begins, this 1.7-mile extension of the existing T Third rail line will connect communities from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown with modern, convenient light rail service. The improved service will decrease transit travel times, relieve congestion, enhance the environment, stimulate economic activity along the corridor and provide thousands of much-needed jobs along the way.

The project has consistently received positive reviews as part of the FTA’s New Starts program. The Central Subway has received $72 million in New Starts federal funding to date. Environmental clearance of the project was granted by the FTA in November 2008, while approval to begin final design was granted last January. The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion. The Central Subway is scheduled to open to the public in 2018.

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