I doubt that my title will be used for the new Transbay Terminal’s publicity campaign, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi. San Francisco’s public transportation system is actually quite good between the BART, Muni light rail, trolleys, and Caltrain. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in the West and is actively promoting bikes as a viable form of transport.
Busses, however, are apparently not the city’s strong suit. The current Transbay central bus terminal is filled with homeless people sleeping on benches and… you guessed it, littered with excrement!
In an effort to change clean up that image, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority selected Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects/Hines’ design for a new, modern Transbay terminal and accompanying 1,200 foot skyscraper featuring 1.6 million square feet of downtown residential and office space. Wind turbines atop the skyscraper will handle some of the building’s power needs.
Construction on this $3.4 billion project begins in 2008 ($983 million of that for the terminal building and bus station), with completion scheduled for 2014. The Caltrain rail line will be extended 1.3 miles to integrate with the terminal, and BART, Muni, Greyhound, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, and the future California High Speed Rail will link here as well.
It’s always great to hear of a city devoted to improving public transportation. The shortcomings of the current terminal indicate more than a lack in transport, however. Homelessness, lack of shelters (and bathrooms), an apparently understaffed janitorial service, and general neglect come to mind. Problems that could probably be solved with less than $983 million.