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Old Posted Aug 17, 2020, 6:29 AM
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Location: San Francisco
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Unfortunately owners are usually pretty reluctant to do something like this. Most basement space is used for something, and carving a passageway means you have to move something, somewhere else. If that something is part of the mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems, then moving it could be very complex and disruptive.

If you want underground passageways free of charge, the best way is to do what several cities did in the 60s and 70s - encourage teardown and redevelopment, then let developers build taller in exchange for public benefits like underground connections. Most cities still do this, but the "public benefits" extracted from developers are usually things with a social-justice bent like affordable housing. Cities don't really have the leverage to get public infrastructure from developers anymore.
San Francisco is expert at extracting public benefits--maybe world champions (it already requires roughly 30% of new residential projects be "affordable" housing or a similar amount of housing be built off site). But these are large buildings--they aren't going to be torn down and redeveloped, especially not to avoid something like a 25 ft wide, 850 ft tunnel. I have no idea how practical the idea is, but it's worth exploring and I suspect the city could apply some form of pressure on PG&E without tearing down the buildings. They were just convicted in court of multiple felonies, after all, have lost 2 CEOs in a short bit of time and the city is considering siezing their power lines in the city by eminent domain to create a public power entity.
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