Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Buses

San Francisco Mayor to NYC: “Eat Your Heart Out.”

transbay-transit-center-rendering-small1.jpgA rendering of the Transbay Transit Center with a 5.4 acre park on its roof.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco yesterday, Mayor Gavin Newsom asserted the project will be "so much more extraordinary than Grand Central Station."

Pointing to the renderings on a projection screen behind him, with a 5.4 acre park atop the terminal, 2600 units of housing (with a pledge of 35% affordable homes), the construction of the tallest building in the West, and a terminal expected to serve 100,000 daily riders, Mayor Newsom added: "Eat your heart out, New York City."

If the city manages to find the $2 billion necessary to complete the project, San Francisco's transit hub would be finished in 2014, 101 years after Cornelius Vanderbilt opened the doors to New York's Grand Central Terminal.

The Transbay Transit Center, a public-private partnership headed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), will replace the existing Transbay Terminal with a multi-modal transportation hub that would serve nine transportation systems in the same complex, including the potential California High Speed Rail route through San Francisco.  

Mayor Newsom and several other speakers stressed the economic significance of a large-scale construction project as the overall economy sours and the city makes budget cuts.  

Nathaniel Ford, Sr., Chairman of the TJPA and head of MUNI, argued that "without projects like this, we will not be able to provide mobility for the growing population of California, and bring together the fractured public transportation system in San Francisco."  

Groundbreaking1.jpg
Mayor Gavin Newsom, former Mayor Willie Brown, and board members of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority

Though the project design is impressive, funding remains a daunting obstacle. As outlined in the excellent feature story by Steve Jones in the San Francisco Bay Guardian yesterday, the TJPA has not found the money to pay for the entire project and may be relying on state funding that won't materialize, especially with California's ballooning budget deficit.

While the TJPA has suggested that it hopes the Transbay Transit Center will catch the eye of President-elect Barack Obama's team, as it expedites construction projects for the fiscal stimulus package early next year, it will be only one of many transit projects competing with the road and bridge lobby, which is already circling the wagons nationally and in California.

"It's exciting to see the first shovel in the soil for the new terminal and there are still real concerns about how we raise the additional $2 billion or so for the project," said Dave Snyder, transportation policy director for San Francisco Planning and Urban Research. "But this is a perfect public works project for the new century."

Below are the various renderings of the proposed terminal as presented by Mayor Newsom and the TJPA at the groundbreaking:

transbay-transit-center-natoma-street-small1.jpg
The Natoma Street facade

transbay-transit-center-light-column-small1.jpg
The center light column from below...

transbay-transit-center-bus-level-small2.jpg
... and above.

tranbay-transit-center-mission-square-small3.jpg
The view from Mission Square

Photo: Matthew Roth

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Go Back to the Future

If you liked the first Trump administration's transportation policies, you're going to love the second Trump administration's transportation policies.

July 19, 2024

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024

Friday Video: Paris Does it Again

Come for the bike-friendly streets, but stay for adopt-a-tree program and all the car-free school roadways.

July 19, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: IrrePLACEable

Kevin Kelley on his book Irreplaceable: How to Create Extraordinary Places that Bring People Together, and the future of downtowns.

July 18, 2024

This Heat Wave is a Car Dependency Problem

Our quickly warming planet has a unique impact on people who don't or can't drive — and we need policy action to protect their health.

July 18, 2024
See all posts