May 29 2013

Transbay Transit Center: San Francisco Builds a Visionary Transportation Hub

If you’ve ever taken Bay Area public transit, you’ll know that there are many options for traveling within and between cities. There are also many options for traveling to different parts of California from the Bay Area using public transit.

But one of the biggest challenges facing public transit is the issue of intermodal passenger transport. Using two or more modes of transportation on a single journey is often difficult – especially with public transit systems – due to distances between stops or differences in schedules.

The Transbay Transit Center, slated for completion in 2017, is the most ambitious step San Francisco has taken thus far to solve that problem. Located in the heart of downtown, the Transbay Transit Center will:

  • Connect 11 national and local transit systems;
  • Serve 100,000 passengers each week day;
  • And serve 45 million passengers per year.

Transbay Transit Center Section

However, the Transbay Transit Center is not merely a transportation project.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the architecture of the building is both beautiful and educational. Project directors have planned for a semi-transparent metal skin to wrap the exterior of the building using a pattern derived from a mathematical pattern.

From an urban planning perspective, the 5.4-acre park, spread over 5 blocks on the center’s roof, is an enormous gain in public open space. It will contain playgrounds, cafes, a 1000-person amphitheater, and many cultural programs.

Transbay Transit Center Bird's Eye View

Additionally, the accompanying high-rise development adjacent to the center, including the 1070-foot Transbay Tower (the highest tower in San Francisco upon completion), will bring a mix of office space, retail space, and housing (including affordable housing) to the area.

Transbay Tower

What are your first impressions of San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center? Are there any similarly ambitious projects you know of that could serve as an appropriate comparison to the Transbay Transit Center?

Credits: Images courtesy of Transbay Center. Data linked to sources.

Steven Chang

Steven Chang was a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and held a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His interest in urban planning began in his hometown of Rowland Heights, California (near Los Angeles), when he noticed that his community, a predominantly ethnic suburb, was very different from other cities he had traveled to. He was very interested in every aspect of urban planning, especially in the way people influence and are influenced by the city fabric. He hoped to one day pursue a Masters of Urban Planning, focusing on economic development and housing. He was also very excited to bring the bustling activity of the San Francisco Bay Area to The Grid!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 at 9:08 am and is filed under Architecture, Environmental Design, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. 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.

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