SF Weekly on Central Subway: “The Canary is Dead”

Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly blasts the SFMTA’s Chinatown Central Subway project as a budget-busting (and foot-busting) nightmare:

A map and chart obtained from Muni via a public records request breaks down this journey into what may well be the world’s longest transfer — from Union Square/Market Street to Powell… This trip, Muni calculated, will take an able-bodied person seven minutes and six seconds.

The one piece of the project that has come in under-budget? The art in the proposed subway tunnel’s concourses. Don’t celebrate too loudly, though, until you hear the reason why.

Eskenazi continues:

Finding artists to decorate the Central Subway project has been a project of its own. In 2011, a furor erupted when it was revealed that sculptor Tom Otterness — recipient of a $750,000 contract to create art for San Francisco General Hospital and the Central Subway — shot a dog to death on film as a work of “art” in 1977…

In San Francisco, you can ram through a logistically nightmarish transit project of questionable worth even as the estimated ridership and price tags cross each other headed in the wrong directions. But you’re not going to decorate it with the work of someone who did something awful to a dog in the 1970s.

Eskenazi’s piece is a fantastic read, and a great overall analysis of the sad state of urban politics in San Francisco.

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About Matt Murphy

I'm a software engineer with a certain company you've probably heard of. In my free time, I'm an advocate for individual liberty and free markets.
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