With Progress on Chinatown Station, Central Subway Project Continues to Advance

City Unveils Decorative Vinyl Wrap at Future Chinatown Station Site, Report Progress on Station Contract, Property

3/16/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today unveiled a decorative vinyl wrap installed at the future site of the Central Subway’s Chinatown Station. Local officials and community leaders highlighted recent progress on the station and the Central Subway Project, praising the Central Subway’s positive community impacts and outlining recent and upcoming milestones on this major infrastructure investment. Construction on the station is on track to begin in 2012 and end in 2017. Bids to build the new Chinatown Station are due May 8th.

“Once the Central Subway is built, this new light-rail extension will be an engine for job creation and economic growth in our City, connecting our vital neighborhoods and diverse communities,” said Mayor Lee. “This important investment in our City’s infrastructure will improve transportation options, reduce emissions and enhance the quality of life of residents and visitors.”

“The Central Subway will reduce travel times and improve transportation options for people who live and work in Chinatown, downtown and SoMa, as well as for residents and businesses along the existing route of the T Third Line,” said SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan. “The areas the Central Subway will serve have long been recognized as in need of improved transportation options. The Central Subway and the Chinatown Station will deliver on that promise.”

The new subway station will be built at the southwest corner of Stockton and Washington streets and was designed by the Central Subway Design Group, a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Michael Willis Architects and Kwan Henmi Architects. The station’s open, contemporary aesthetic will emphasize transparency and simplicity. Light-colored and reflective surfaces will maximize lighting efficiency and create a bright, welcoming atmosphere even when customers are below ground.

Artwork by artists Yumei Hou and Tomie Arai will adorn the station and provide insight into local culture and history. Hou’s work, Yang Ge Dance of Northeast China, is based on traditional Chinese paper cut art. It depicts a popular outdoor folk dance from the Northeastern provinces of China and will decorate two large walls of the station’s concourse and mid-landing levels. Arai's installation will use architectural glass elements to illustrate the history of Chinatown, from prehistoric times to the present. Arai’s work will be installed on multiple station levels, allowing customers to experience the story of Chinatown as they travel through the station.

“The expansion of light-rail transit into Chinatown will be a boon for this already vibrant, bustling community,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “The Chinatown Station will be a useful and attractive addition to one of the country’s most densely populated neighborhoods.”

The vinyl wrap unveiled today features renderings of the future Chinatown Station design, a Chinese mural provided by the Chinese Historical Society of America and artwork provided by students from the Chinatown YMCA. The mural, created by San Francisco native James Leong, tells the story of Chinese immigrants building their lives in America while maintaining connections to their heritage.

The wrap will remain in place to beautify the neighborhood and protect the now-vacant 933-949 Stockton Street building until it is demolished later this year.

The SFMTA aided in the relocation of 19 residential households and eight commercial businesses. All of the residential tenants have moved to new residences, including four households that have purchased homes. The eight commercial tenants have been relocated, and six of them have relocated nearby.

Along with the Chinatown Station contract, the Central Subway Project expects to achieve several major milestones in 2012. A decision is expected this year on whether the project will attain a full commitment of federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program. Work to prepare the project alignment for the construction of a 1.6 mile-long tunnel is on track to commence this spring. The contracts for the other three Central Subway stations (detailed in the table below) are scheduled for advertisement this year.

Station Type Location Expected Advertise Date Estimated Cost
Union Square/Market Street Subway Stockton Street at Union Square April 2012 $189 million
Yerba Buena/Moscone Subway 4th and Folsom streets June 2012 $117 million
4th and Brannan Station, Trackwork and Systems Street Level 4th and Brannan streets July 2012 $125 million

“This is a big year for the Central Subway Project,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “All four station contracts are on track to go out for bid, the tunneling machines have been ordered and we plan to break ground at the tunnel portal site. We look forward to continued momentum on this essential investment in public transportation in San Francisco.”

About the Central Subway Project
The Central Subway Project will extend the T Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, providing a direct, rapid transit link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa and downtown. Four new stations will be built along the 1.7-mile Central Subway Project alignment – a street-level station at 4th and Brannan streets and three subway stations at Yerba Buena/Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. The first segment of the T Third Line began revenue service in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years. The Central Subway is expected to open to the public in 2019.

For more information about the Chinatown Station artwork selected through the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Public Art Program, please visit sfartscommision.org.

For construction updates and project information, please visit our website at centralsubwaysf.com, connect on Facebook at facebook.com/centralsubway and follow on Twitter at @central_subway.