The Central Subway, connecting downtown to Chinatown, was originally supposed to open in 2018. That didn’t happen. It was supposed to cost $1.3 billion, but went $300 million over budget. And the fight over whether to name the Chinatown station after cigar-munching political power broker Rose Pak raged for three years. But after all that, we finally have a Rose Pak-Chinatown station, and a few hundred select members of the public got their first look at it Thursday.
Though in true Muni fashion, no trains ever showed up. The light-rail streetcars are not yet running, though the public got their first look at the extremely delayed station.
“We’re sorry it took so long,” the district’s supervisor Aaron Peskin told the crowd to laughter Thursday, according to SFGate. “I want to keep it real: It was a pain in the butt for Chinatown.”
Celebrating as a community the decades of organizing, advocacy, and perseverance to make Chinatown Rose Pak Station a reality. 華埠白蘭站 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9balxzcQUJ— Rose Pak Democratic Club (@RosePakDemClub) October 20, 2022
The underground station is at the corner of Stockton and Washington Streets, and it’s one of three stations that will be part of the new Central Subway. The other two underground stations will be the Union Square/Market Street station and the Yerba Buena/Moscone station (which has had its own share of problems).
Starting in 15 min - our Chinatown community sneak preview of Chinatown Rose Pak Station pic.twitter.com/JxJGQs236W— Jeffrey Tumlin 🏳️🌈 (@jeffreytumlin) October 20, 2022
These stations will open to transit service on November 20, and it will be free, but it will only run on weekends. (Full service is expected at some point in January 2023). Trains are slated every 12 minutes, though I wouldn’t hold my breath on that frequency. But this does offer a highly anticipated option for a neighborhood whose population is reliant on public transit.
SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin tells the SF Standard that “by making transit even better for our highest transit ridership neighborhood, we expect it will help accelerate our overall recovery as we wait for empty offices in downtown to be full again.”
4th and Brannan Station to Chinatown/Rose Pak Station, stopping along the way at Yerba Buena and Union Square where passengers can make transfers to BART and our Market Street subway. Service specifically on this weekend shuttle for the Central Subway will be free in November and pic.twitter.com/hKdUZBVYaf— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) September 20, 2022
As seen above, once complete, the light-rail line will go from Fourth and Brannan Streets near the Caltrain station, to Market Street, and then north to Chinatown. It’s planned that service will eventually connect to the T-Third line, taking riders as far south as Visitacion Valley.