Gas station a casualty of subway 

A busy gas station south of Market Street where motorists fill up tanks before hitting Interstate 80 could be demolished for a new light-rail station.

The 76 station — the only gas outlet directly between Market Street and the Fourth Street onramp to the Bay Bridge — and a Chinatown building packed with shops and residents are among the properties that could be affected by construction of the Central Subway.

By 2018, Muni’s T-Third Street line could be extended nearly two miles from the Caltrain hub through the new subway beneath Fourth and Stockton streets and into Chinatown.

Trips through the 1.7-mile Central Subway are expected to take seven minutes.

This year, contractors have been relocating cables and water and sewer pipes beneath Fourth Street in the South of Market area to clear a path for the subway.

“We have to move everything out of the way,” Central Subway project spokesman Brajah Norris said.

A three-year tunnel-boring project could begin in less than a year.

The $1.6 billion Central Subway project includes construction of four new T-line stations.

City lawmakers could be asked in late July to rule it necessary to purchase a gas station, a Chinatown building and three underground easements to complete the project.

The two buildings would be demolished to make way for underground train stations. The three easements would allow subway boring without requiring demolition of overhead buildings.

Construction of the Moscone station will require the demolition of the Fourth and Folsom streets gas station within three years, according to Norris.

Roughly one-third of the gas stations that operated in San Francisco in the early 1990s have since shuttered, Planning Department figures show.

Reasons for the closures include San Francisco’s high land costs and a movement away from automobile travel in favor of mass transit.

The subway project is envisioned as a replacement for the Embarcadero Freeway, a double-decker roadway that connected downtown with Chinatown until it was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

At the northern end of the Central Subway, plans to build an underground Chinatown station call for the acquisition and demolition of a two-story building at the northwest corner of Stockton and Washington streets.

The Hogan and Vest Building in Chinatown is occupied by residents and businesses, including shops.

“All of those residential units will be replaced,” Norris said.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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