Another day, another challenge to the Central Subway project, which is literally minutes from getting back underway along the Stockton corridor and up by Union Square. Earlier this week we heard about North Beach merchants and their upcoming lawsuit over the MTA's plans to close half of Columbus Avenue and generally muck up the Washington Square Park environs for the next couple of years all while the subway is going to terminate several blocks shy of North Beach, in Chinatown. Today we get news that a new group is making noise about the proposed Union Square Station, saying that the entrance at corner of the park will violate the City Charter and is therefore illegal.
The group, Save Muni, is led by one Jerry Cauthen who is threatening litigation if the SFMTA moves forward as-is with the Union Square Station plan. He says the station violates a provision in the charter that says that no structures with "non-recreational purposes" can be built in public parks unless approved by the voting public. Now, this is ultimately going to be up to a judge, and one argument could be that the station does have a "recreational" purpose in that it brings people to the park. City Attorney Dennis Herrera cites a 1981 City Attorney decision allowing manhole covers in public parks, saying that that applies here.
We'd argue that the entrance isn't exactly in the park so much as it at its border, and the design is certainly not dissimilar or any more noticeable than the parking garage entrances now on either side of the park.
Meanwhile, if the federal loan of $942 million doesn't come through soon, this project could be sunk anyway.
PREVIOUSLY: NIMBY Watch: North Beach Folks Want to Stop/Stall Central Subway Construction
Central Subway Entrance At Union Square Revealed; It's Not That Exciting
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