Transbay Transit Center Groundbreaking (

Nine shovels are in place, and with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mayor Gavin Newsom soon to be speaking (amongst others), the Transbay Joint Powers Authority is about to ceremonially break ground on San Francisco’s New Transbay Transit Center.

UPDATE: While Governor Schwarzenegger had to send a representative (something about being busy dealing with some necessary budget reforms), the others have spoken and the ground has officially been broken on San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center (referenced throughout the ceremony as the “Grand Central Station of the West”).

28 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center <strike>About To</strike> Has Broken Ground”
  1. Brake: pun or Freudian slip?
    [Editor’s Note: We’re invoking the “posting from an iPhone” defense (and since corrected).]

  2. Would be so much more valuable if you guys would post links to actual news stories, etc more often instead of just old socketsite threads.
    [Editor’s Note: Great point, next time we’ll wait for the “actual news” to cover the story before plugging you in to what’s actually going on…]

  3. UPDATE: While Governor Schwarzenegger had to send a representative (something about being busy dealing with some necessary budget reforms), the others have spoken and ground has officially been broken on San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center (referenced throughout the ceremony as the “Grand Central Station of the West”).

  4. I bet the Millennium sales office will be really busy now that their front yard has turned into a construction zone. On one side, you’ve got noise galore. On the other side, a tent city has formed in the parking lot. All the displaced residents of the Transbay Terminal have moved behind the old Beale Street Bar. A delightful odor now permeates the front door of RN74. Mmmm, definitely worth $1300 / sq ft and $1100+/month HOA dues.

  5. “the Grand Central Station of the West”
    Oh, so many problems with that statement. First of all the preeminent rail terminal on the west coast is LA Union and the new transbay will not be able to eclipse LA, there’s just too many people down there. It won’t even eclipse San Jose in terms of heavy rail departures and arrivals. And NYC’s Grand Central is a terminal, not a station. It isn’t even the busiest rail facility in NYC, Penn Station is.
    But maybe the speakers are referencing the place that the new Transbay will take in civic architecture. No argument that Grand Central in NYC is a beauty compared to Penn’s brutalist network of basement hallways. Lets hope that that the Transbay becomes more than just a pretty showpiece.

  6. @Milkshake
    or we could be less pedantic about the whole thing and realize that when people think interesting, memorable transit hubs, Grand Central is the first thing that comes to mind.

  7. I’m not sure what’s all that pedantic about pointing out that Transbay is the most expensive bus terminal in the world with a rail terminal thrown into the basement as an afterthought, but that’s just me.

  8. I took a train from Grand Central Station last year to New Haven. For someone not familiar with it, Grand Central really is a beautiful place, from another time, a remarkable architectural experience, and much more so than comparable stations in London (except the restored St Pancras) and Paris.
    I doubt than the new TransBay will ever be equal to it.
    By the way, there were no homeless, no beggars, and no hucksters in Grand Central Station. NYC does not allow them.

  9. rr – and that is what I meant in my last paragraph. The speakers were probably referring to the building’s aesthetics rather than its function. (though it will still be hard to beat the classic beauty of LA Union). And I really hope that the Transbay team keeps the focus on the function of this project. It is just way too expensive of a structure to be just a bus station capped by an elevated park.
    [In keeping with looser, freer, and less pedantic speech, I would like to declare Sweet and Sassy Cherry as the “Grand Central Station” of Hubba Bubba bubble gum flavors.]

  10. So now I know who was in the motorcade that came south on the Embarcadero. Must be the reason all the homeless were moved along, out of sight, and sidewalks were hosed down this morning. Can these dignitaries come by every week and check on the progress?

  11. Amazing how many naysayers and negative commentators there are here today on the Transit Terminal.
    What about being excited that this new project is actually starting and that it promises to be a great architectural place to experience and use? and stop comparing it to ANY other terminal already existing?
    What’s the point?

  12. “What’s the point?”
    The point is that Transbay is cart before the horse. The trains MAY arrive eventually long after the terminal is built, and some (HSR) may not at all. It reminds me of some North Korean projects, “Look at our world’s tallest hotel, but you cannot stay in any of the rooms as we never finished the interior infrastructure. ”

  13. Does anyone know what the new operational Transbay Caltrain deadline is? Also for High Speed Rail?
    Construction on the Caltrain Downtown Rail Extention is currently estimated to begin in 2012 and be complete in 2018 (versus a 2017 opening for The Center).
    We don’t have a current estimate for High Speed Rail.

  14. The problem with Transbay is that it’s a glorified bus station. It’s hard to get excited about that, even if it’s considered architecturally interesting.

  15. You missed MY point Mr. Ed. I was referring only to the architectural design of the project.
    I was not referring to trains, planes and whatever else may or may not fly in there.

  16. “After all, Starfleet HQ is in San Francisco.”
    Yeah, that never made any sense. The NIMBYs would certainly protest the Starfleet HQ being placed in that part of Marin County or in the Presidio. It would never work. Duh.

  17. Yeah, that never made any sense.
    Well, not if you don’t expect a major conflagration between now and, say, 2287. Given our seismicity and wooden building inventory, I’d say it’s inevitable.

  18. WHAT HAPPENS if they build the terminal and then cannot finance the rail link to Caltrans ??
    Then what?
    My understanding is they are starting the terminal without having rail capital. Regardless of the announced “start date” for rail project.

  19. The link to CalTrain has complications and will probably require more engineering and money than expected, but failing outright and stopping there isn’t going to happen. Existing schedules are not that important because delays are the rule rather than the exception for big infrastructure projects.
    The Grand Central of the West theme works well because this is a major urban area, the station itself will be quite grand, and many will use it for various travels near and far. The exact size, style, and count of travelers isn’t all that important. What counts is the level of centralization and the experience.
    This station will make the Millenium even more valuable. Being steps away from the most concentrated transit hubs makes it really easy to get around. Construction is always annoying, but never lasts very long.

  20. “This station will make the Millenium even more valuable. ”
    ^^^Do you really think a Millennium buyer would use public transit? This was, at least with the orignal pricing, supposed to be a very affluent group of owners. I remember someone claiming it would surpass the wealth and prestige of buildings such as 2500 Steiner and 2006 Washington. I never believed in that hype, but if Millennium is to be a building full of the very wealthy, one can expect a lot of S500’s and 750’s going in and out of the garage vs. owners walking across the street to the bus.

  21. “one can expect a lot of S500’s”
    Nah. If they were really very wealthy, they would at least be driving S550s instead, if not S600s, S63s, or S65s. Maybe S400 Hybrids since this is SF. :p

  22. I’ve never quite understood the hype about the Millenium. I have friends who have bought there and their view has been the huddled homeless. The only thing that is cool about it for me is that when I park my car a doorman (security?) comes and asks who I am visiting and then talks into his wrist … to announce my name before he escorts me to the concierge who then escorts me to the elevator. That and Joe Montana renting there.

  23. This station will make the Millenium even more valuable. Being steps away from the most concentrated transit hubs makes it really easy to get around
    Get around to where? Part of the sell on the Millenium is that it’s walking distance from work/meetings/whatever in the financial district. Apart from maybe a high-speed rail trip to LA, I don’t see jet-setters having much need for the transportation offered at this bus/train terminal. For the occasional trip to the valley — if necessary — I’m sure these folks will drive. It’s not like there’s going to be a heliport there.

  24. How many millionaires do you know that live near Grand Central? or Penn Station? Last time I checked, they were on the Upper East Side? The Transbay will in no way improve the quality of the Millennium. For the next 10 years it will pollute the air and muck up the traffic patters. I feel badly for those people who believed the hype and bought early. Now, it is nothing more than a nice rental building filled with 20 and 30 something professionals plus an occasional sports star. The gym is nice, but for the purchase prices still being asked, rent elsewhere and buy a membership to the Sports Club!

  25. “Do you really think a Millennium buyer would use public transit?”
    yes and no. There’s a hierarchy of public transport comforts and the upper levels will appeal to even affluent people. Check out a first class cabin of Asian or European HSR.
    Here in the bay area the hierarchy of public transport comfort looks something like this :
    Amtrak, airlines
    CalTrain, ACE
    various trolley systems
    when HSR arrives it will sit at the top of the stack, even above the SF-LA shuttle airlines.
    Of course there are also the fantastically wealthy folks who use limos and private jets to get around and wouldn’t even consider a first class airline ticket. That rare breed couldn’t care less about public transit except for providing a way for their servants to travel to their urban home without needing to obtain an extra parking space.

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