munipiece2.jpgThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a lease that will allow the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to move its operations center to a new location on Market Street.

The SFMTA’s command and control operations are currently housed in several facilities around the city, but in the agreement passed in a 7-4 vote by supervisors Tuesday, they will be consolidated in a building at 1455 Market St., between 10th and 11th streets.

The agency is expected to move into the space in June 2012 on a 10-year lease.

The new center will include the Operations Control Center, the central nervous system for San Francisco Municipal Railway that monitors the movement of buses and light-rail vehicles and detects any problems.

Supervisor Scott Wiener called the move “a mission-critical project for Muni,” which he said has “had many, many problems with the subway system.”

The SFMTA’s long-term plan is to relocate the center to the new Transbay Terminal when it opens in 2017, but will determine when construction is complete whether to continue to use the Market Street site as its primary operations facility or convert it to a secondary site.

The board approved the plan even though its budget analyst, Harvey Rose, did not recommend it.

Rose’s analysis of the plan found that the SFMTA will be occupying more than 52,000 square feet in the new space, an increase of more than 216 percent from the space it currently takes up.

Supervisor David Campos, one of the four dissenting votes, also questioned the length of the lease. Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi were the other supervisors to vote against it.

But board president David Chiu called it “a very important project” for San Francisco.
“We’ve all had our criticism of the MTA, but this is about the future of transportation management in our city,” Chiu said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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