Given San Francisco’s housing crisis and traffic congestion, if you had $1.6 billion to build a tunnel, where would you put it? I’d start digging down Geary Boulevard, from downtown to the Outer Richmond. Then I’d encourage construction of multistory, middle-class housing along the way with vibrant ground-floor retail. A subway would save commuters from the cursed 38-Geary bus, which crawls along miles of failed car-first planning from the middle of the last century. But a Geary subway won’t happen anytime soon. Too many San Franciscans deplore change and defend “neighborhood character” as never better than the day they arrived.
Wrong! Engardio has the conventional wisdom mastered: multi-story housing with retail on the ground floor and a slur on the #38 Geary line, which actually works well, with more than 50,000 boardings daily. (As a bonus, he even throws in one of City Hall's favorite terms, "vibrant.")
Opposing a subway under Geary has nothing to do with defending neighborhood character. Engardio, who claims to be fiscally responsible, is apparently oblivious to what that would cost. $1.6 billion would barely get you out of downtown San Francisco.
The official price tag for building the 1.7 mile Central Subway is $1,578,000, which is $928,235,000 a mile. The state and the Feds are picking up most of the tab: