Controversial vote set for naming new SF subway station Rose Pak

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A controversial vote is in the hands of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors. 

On Tuesday, the board is set to decide whether to name the city's new Chinatown subway station after late activist Rose Pak.

Construction is under way right now on the station, which is scheduled to be completed by February. But before that, it needs a name.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin says Rose Pak's efforts to help raise funds for the subway project should be recognized.

In a statement the supervisor said, “There’s not one San Francisco elected official between 1995 and 2016 that didn’t hear from Rose numerous times about Central Subway. She fought for neighborhood access and transit equity in Chinatown. While her public transit advocacy was dogged, it wasn’t hers alone. Rose rallied a grassroots group of stakeholders."

Peskin continued, "In talking to a number of key stakeholders who were there from beginning to end, they all agreed that this community effort needed to be memorialized in the station name.  They also agreed that linking Rose Pak’s name to the Station would be the best way to accomplish this goal."

Before Pak died in 2016, she was known by many as a powerhouse activist in the city and a champion for the Chinese community.

The San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce is also on board with naming the station after Pak, saying that she deserves to be recognized with the honor because of the important role she played in the community. 

But hundreds of Chinatown merchants and the Chinatown Neighborhood Association petitioned against the name.

In a news conference opponents said Pak wasn't an advocate and doesn't deserve credit for the construction of the project.

"We think that either the MTA or the supervisors will be clear. If the community is not 100% in support of this, do we want to wait until later when someone raises this and says who put that name there? No. we think they’ll do the right thing," one opponent said.  

The vote to name the station "Chinatown-Rose Pak Station" is set to happen on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

When the station is completed, it will extend the Muni Metro T Third Street line through SOMA, Union Square and Chinatown.