Jan 9, 2023 - News

San Francisco's Central Subway fully opens

People Outside Chinatown Station on Opening Day of Free Weekend Shuttle Service in Central Subway

People outside Chinatown Station in November 2022. Photo: Jeremy Menzies/San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

San Francisco's Central Subway opened Saturday, connecting Chinatown to downtown, SoMa and Bayview-Hunters Point.

Why it matters: Chinatown has been relatively disconnected from San Francisco's city center since the 1989 earthquake led to the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway.

  • Malcolm Yeung, executive director of the Chinese Community Development Council, told Axios the new subway "is giving this community a sense of permanence on an existential level and on a physical level."
  • The Central Subway, which better links Chinatown to other neighborhoods, "is critical to the survival of Chinatown, its residents and businesses."

Details: The T Third line now runs between the Chinatown-Rose Pak Station and Sunnydale.

  • The Central Subway features four new Muni stations — in Chinatown, Union Square and Yerba Buena, and above ground at Fourth and Brannan streets.
  • The T runs Monday through Friday from 6am to 12am, and Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 12am.

Be smart: The T will no longer run along King Street, the Embarcadero or Market Street, and the KT Ingleside-Third trains will no longer be combined.

  • Riders looking to transfer to other Muni underground lines or BART can do so at the Union Square/Market Street Station.

Flashback: Construction on the Central Subway project started in 2013 and was originally set to be finished by 2018.

  • The delay was due to several factors, including contract disputes and a June fire at the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station. Before the fire, the SFMTA said service would start in October.
  • The project cost nearly $2 billion and received almost $1 billion in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • During the transit line's soft opening in November, the SFMTA used red Solo cups on exterior walls to temporarily double as drainage pipes. Those have since been removed.

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