Jamie Whitaker from RinconHillSF.org provides the SocketSite community with his take on the Transbay Transit Center as well as a rundown of resources to help keep you “plugged-in” to community meetings and progress around the developing Transbay neighborhood:
The new Transbay Transit Center and Transbay Redevelopment Area plans are moving right along. Community meetings about the projects will be scheduled throughout the year with upcoming dates posted on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) web site.
The main reasons for building a new Transbay Transit Center include:
∙ Alleviating traffic congestion downtown by encouraging the use of public transit
∙ Provide a safe/essential community facility where community groups can hold meetings
∙ Spur additional economic growth with new jobs, new business developments, increased real estate values, and more affordable housing
The new Transbay Transit Center is tentatively scheduled to be built and ready for use by buses only at the start of 2014 while there are plans for an underground tunnel to connect the new Center to the Montgomery BART station, providing a relative easy travel option to reach many East Bay communities from the south peninsula down to San Jose. San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center could be a one-stop transit hub between Oakland and San Jose, with each City having its own international airport and other resources for residents and businesses.
Another big piece of the plan (pending funding) includes extending Caltrain from the current terminal at 4th and Townsend to the new Transbay Transit Center. One hurdle for the Caltrain extension is that the locomotives convert from diesel fuel to electricity as their primary power source. A glance at the rail electrification fact sheet on the Caltrain web site indicates the construction phase of this project starts in 2009 and tentatively ends in 2012. The TJPA project schedule shows Caltrain actively running to the Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco from San Jose at the start of 2018.
The current path planned for the Caltrain extension includes mining and cutting and covering a tunnel northeast under Townsend Street and bending north under Second St. The current plan is to have four tracks along this route for Caltrain engines and cars to travel. An alternative to this plan is to run two tracks along Second St. and, if the demand for Caltrain service from the Transbay Transit Center justifies it, run another set of tracks up Main St. (although it wasn’t clear how the Main St. track would connect to the 4th and King St. tracks in the last community presentation).
The Transbay Transit Center project plan also includes building the foundations below ground for bullet train service (you may have read about a bullet train that can transport passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2.5 hours), but it is too early to tell whether the bullet train idea will ever come to fruition. You can learn more about California’s bullet train plans at the California High-Speed Rail Authority web site.
For those who wish to be involved and stay informed, there are at least two Citizens Advisory Committees (CAC) that provide a venue for public input for the plans and implementation of those plans. One is called the TJPA CAC and the other is called the Transbay CAC.
The TJPA CAC is mostly concerned with the Transbay Transit Center itself and the accompanying Transit Tower Project. You can keep up with the meeting dates and other information of the TJPA CAC on the Transbay Center web site. The first meeting of the TJPA CAC happens on Tuesday, April 10th where mostly administrative issues for the CAC will be addressed. The Transbay CAC is related to the City’s Redevelopment Agency and will focus on the Transbay Redevelopment Area plan.
The State of California is giving the City about 12 acres of land where highway used to stand before the 1989 earthquake. The land, mostly between Howard and Folsom and 2nd and Main Streets, is terribly underutilized at the moment as surface parking lots. You can keep up with the meeting dates and other information about the Transbay CAC on the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area web site.
(Submitted by Jamie Whitaker, author of the RinconHillSF.org community web log.)
∙ The Rincon Hill Weblog: A New Virtual Neighborhood Association [SocketSite]
∙ The Transbay Redevelopment [SocketSite]
∙ Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) [TransbayCenter.org]
∙ Foster + Partners Dropped From Transbay Terminal Design Comp [SocketSite]