The equipment is ready to go, the changeable message signs in place. Get ready to say goodbye to Stockton Street's Union Square sidewalks, one block at a time, beginning Wednesday. Underground utilities have to be moved from the street to under the sidewalks to make way for the new central subway.
From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, two lanes of traffic will be squeezed down to one, to allow for a pedestrian detour in a traffic lane.
"All the stores will remain open during construction; the contractor has to keep access to the stores at all times," SFMTA spokesperson Brajah Norris said. "Most of the work in front of the stores will be done at night after the businesses are closed."
John's Grill sits half a block away from Stockton on Ellis Street, where sewer and water lines will also have to be dug up and relocated. Owner John Konstin says the contractor has promised to take care of window washing and traffic control
"I think people are always going to be in this neighborhood whether traffic or no and so many more people are using public transportation maybe we'll put in bike racks," Konstin said.
The central subway will start where the T-line now ends at Fourth and King streets, dive underground at Fourth and I-80, headed for Chinatown.
"We'd just like the public to be patient with us; we know the long term result is a benefit for transportation users in the city," Norris said. "Little sacrifice now, a lot of reward in the end."
Service on the 1.7 mile line is not expected to begin until 2018.