October 22 2013

San Francisco’s New Transbay Center: A Commitment to Sustainable Growth

San Francisco is on its way to hosting the most significant transit hub on the United State’s western coast. The Transbay Transit Center will connect eight Bay Area counties through 11 transit lines, including the California High Speed Rail that is being developed, and include new housing, retail, commercial and open space. It’s a 4.5 billion dollar investment for the region’s future.

Project Board Transbay Transit Center San Francisco Bay Area California

The former site, constructed in 1939, helped connect San Francisco to the East Bay. At its peak, it served 26 million passengers a day. That number has since dropped, for several reasons. Now it’s time for an update.

The new project consists of three elements:

  1. Replacing the current transit terminal with the modern one;
  2. Extending CalTrain 1.3 miles from its current stop to the Transbay Center;
  3. Creating a new neighborhood with 3,000 homes (35 percent of which will be affordable), retail, commercial space and an elevated park.

Construction Site San Francisco Transbay Transit Center California

Construction Site San Francisco Transbay Transit Center California

Construction Site San Francisco Transbay Transit Center California

The first phase of the project is targeted for completion in 2017 and will initially be used by AC Transit and other bus services. Phase 1 includes the Transbay Tower, a “train-box” in the station’s lowest level, bus ramps, a bus storage facility and the landscaping of the parks and plazas. Start dates for Plan 2 are not established.

Funding comes from several sources, with the largest being the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, land sales, loans and the Prop K Sales Tax. The first phase alone is projected to cost 1.6 billion dollars. Fortunately, it looks as if the project will meet the budget.

Upon completion of Phase 1, the site is expected to serve 100,000 transit riders daily.

This is a huge step in the right direction. The San Francisco Bay Area has been lagging on transit infrastructure and housing development for decades. As a result, we have sprawled out, exporting our housing away from cities and jobs. Building the Transbay Center will show that San Francisco is committed to being a transit-friendly, sustainable city.

What steps is your city taking to become a public transit-oriented community?

Credits: Images by Robert Poole. Data linked to sources.

Rob Poole

Rob Poole graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego, but now resides in San Francisco. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development for all income levels in the City. He also interns with Streetsblog San Francisco. Rob plans to pursue a career that promotes civic engagement in cities and improves the public process for local governments.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 am and is filed under Engineering, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Robert Poole, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “San Francisco’s New Transbay Center: A Commitment to Sustainable Growth”

  1. Gina Kiani Says:

    Wow!! Great Article!
    Sounds Exciting….
    11 transit lines!!
    Loved the video and glad to hear about the affordable housing coming considering how much I’ve heard of it being stymied in S.F. due to the efforts of historical preservation!

  2. Robert Poole Says:

    Thanks Gina! It’s an exciting project and apparentely it went through without too much opposition, which is rare for SF. I think that’s because the downtown district of the City is more receptive to growth than the rest of the City. I just hope the phases are actually completed on time!

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