M-Ocean View line underground proposal has high cost, no definite gain

A faster commute between campus and downtown is a nice thought, but building a subway through 19th Avenue is a pipe dream.

The project is designed with good intentions but completely impractical. Students will not benefit soon enough and the money could better be used elsewhere. Not to mention that tunneling underneath the M-Ocean View line is contingent on whether it gets approval in the first place.

Bureaucracy — government action that impedes progress through official procedures — is number one on the list of reasons as to why American mass-transit projects take so long to build, according to an article on Salon.com.

Many big transit projects receive partial funding from the Federal Transit Administration but before the FTA decides to award a grant, projects must prove their worth in the form of a study.

As of right now, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is only looking into the project with a preliminary study.

The project is expected to cost about $520 million but that number may end up being as high as $780 million. Not to mention that funding has not been fully identified, according to the study.

Even if the project does get the green light, then construction is likely to cause disruption in the nearby area.

Take the Los Angeles MTA Purple Line extension for example. It is designed to connect the western edge of the city to downtown, so it will require a large investment of time and money and it is only in the most preliminary stages of construction.

It’s slated for completion in 2035 at the earliest but neighbors have already begun complaining about the noise, according to a recent article by the LA Times.

No doubt the noise will be an annoyance here as well. Construction on the 19th Avenue subway project will make living near the proposed site unpleasant to those who value their sleep.

Even if construction takes place during the day, school is in session. Not only will the noise be disruptive but the work sites will force students to find alternative routes, causing unnecessary stress.

Traffic congestion, which is already bad enough, will become worse when construction workers have to redirect impatient drivers around the busy highway that this project proposes to tunnel under.

 Current students are not likely to be around for the subway’s completion in 2022, which means a new subway will not benefit them. Besides, there are too many other things that need attention now.

Students did not even have access to a full-service Science Building this semester and the University already faces a massive backlog in deferred maintenance.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SF State will contribute $1.8 million to help pay for the new station. The University cannot afford to invest in a project like this when many of the already existing structures on campus are badly in need of attention.

SF State funds too many projects that don’t benefit students when it matters, such as the Recreation Center planned for completion in 2018 and the full-scale revamping of the Gymnasium’s locker rooms.

The solution lies in making better use of the resources that are available now. Speedy travel can be made by relieving the city from its dependence on cars, while also encouraging more frequent trains and greater ridership on the already existing railway.

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