SFMTA scraps plans for new Duboce Triangle utility cabinets

Photos: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on May 09, 2018.

The people have spoken.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced yesterday that it will not install two utility cabinets proposed for the northwest corner of Duboce Avenue and Church Street.

"In response to public feedback, we decided to change the proposed design to keep the electrical traction and power circuit underground," according to an SFMTA statement. An existing cabinet box at that corner will still stay and continue its function.

After the agency began accepting public comments in February, Duboce Triangle residents voiced concerns about installing additional boxes on the sidewalk. 

"I, for one, appreciate the SFMTA working with the neighborhood’s input and modifying the design," said Nancy Randall, who lives nearby. "It restores my faith in humanity and how a collective of voices can be heard.”

Efforts to spruce up the transit hub have taken several forms in recent years. "Domestic Seating," a public art installation that placed nine bronze chairs on the sidewalk, was added in 2012.

Five years ago, the SFMTA replaced a cabinet which artist Mona Caron had covered with a lenticular mural called "MANIFESTATION STATION." At the time, the agency was upgrading various electrical switches and associated controller boxes.

Caron's artwork was eventually located and brought to Alemany Farm, where it's used for storing equipment for its demonstration kitchen.

This year's upgrade will allow the light-rail system to be powered by multiple substations. During the work, minimal disruption to streetcar and bus service along Church Street and the Duboce Portal is expected, the agency said.

SFMTA is completing the design phase before the contract goes out for bids in June, with construction set to begin during in late summer.

Work will start with the excavation of a foot-wide trench between 14th Street and Reservoir Street on the western sidewalk along Church Street for conduit installation. Construction will approximately last for two or three weeks.

In a statement, the agency said ambassadors will be on hand to provide assistance to local businesses during that time and after the main construction phase, minor work will take place around the existing utility box.

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