Tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway
Mayor Art Agnos finally came down on the side of demolition; that tipped the scales, and the freeway was gone by the fall of '91. Two months later, Agnos lost his bid for re-election. The Chinatown business community had supported the freeway; it was good for business, they said. When it went, they turned on Agnos, and he lost the election by 6,272 votes.
And then they turned to Mayor Brown, who made the Central Subway deal with Rose Pak, which is the real price the city is paying for taking down the Embarcadero Freeway.
Since the city is chipping in $126 million in Prop. K money and $163 million in city parking revenues to build the subway, how seriously can we take Muni's $21 million deficit? (And another $148 million for the Transbay Transit station!) Seems like the transportation money in SF is nothing but a shell game, with money being shifted hither and yon to pay for everything but to take care of a system that has 707,459 boardings every weekday.
I'm not arguing that the Embarcadero Freeway shouldn't have been torn down; it was an awful blot on the city's landscape. But the Central Subway is an expensive project we could have done without---and it's going to cost Muni $8.84 million in annual operating expenses once it's built.
Maybe Nolte will favor us next with a column about the Central Freeway, Octavia Boulevard fiasco, another well-intentioned project with unintended consequences.