Transbay Transit Service Train Box

While bus service to and from San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center is scheduled to start in November or December of 2017, and rail service to the center was originally slated to begin in 2018, according to a presentation to Caltrain’s Board of Directors, a 1.3 mile extension of tracks from the existing Caltrain station at Fourth and King won’t be operational until 2026 at the earliest.

That’s assuming the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) completes a funding plan for the Downtown Rail Extension (DTX), the budget for which was last estimated at $2.6 billion – and growing – by the middle of next year.

And of course, that also assumes no major delays triggered by the Millennium Tower situation and associated lawsuits, which have already derailed the early funding to fund a portion of the aforementioned DTX funding plan, nor an all-new plan for rerouting Caltrain up Third Street.

98 thoughts on “No Train Service to San Francisco’s New Transit Center before 2026”
    1. Wow, if Santa Clara County passes Measure B, BART to downtown San Jose could be completed a year ahead of the DTX.

  1. no worries, the unused train station will make a very convenient parking garage. Seems as if our transportation plan/policy still dominated by GM, Exxon, and Ampco.

  2. When he was the newly named president for baseball operations, fans would stop Theo Epstein on the streets of Chicago and launch into conversations that had a recurring refrain: “My dad is 87 years old and has been waiting all his life to see the Cubs win a World Series — what should I tell him?”

    Seated in the Cubs’ dugout at Wrigley Field last September, Epstein said he always had the same reply: “I would say, ‘Tell him to take his vitamins, because it’s going to be a few years.’”

      1. As the Cubs, Red Sox, and Giants all have demonstrated: even if you have a unique location, enthusiasm, talent and money, you also need excellent mgmt else you can wait … interminably.

    1. There are more jobs within a mile of the Transbay Terminal than within a mile of all other Caltrain stations combined. So assuming a few more people could have been convinced to ride up to SF to get to work… a lot of revenue is being left on the table.

  3. Travesty. Add the usual additional 3 to 10 years of additional, “unexpected” delays, and that means I’ll basically never see them – because there’s no way we can continue to afford living in S.F., or even the Bay Area as a whole, as retirement approaches.

    Well, at least California high speed was kind of neat to think about, if only as a fantasy…

  4. Is there any one place that the city, Caltrain, TJPA or anyone else even remotely involved in planning or managing this project articulates exactly why this is happening? I have no doubt that politics and procedural medalling is somewhere near the top of the list, but what the actual f*ck?

    [Editor’s Note: The revised timeline, beyond 2024, hasn’t officially been acknowledged or released.]

    1. Actually in July TJPA board meeting staff shared the funding strategy and timeline of the DTX.

      Essentially, if all the money were available (4Billion) tomorrow, construction would start in 2019 and it’s a 7-year construction schedule so the earliest trains will make it to the TTC under the current alignment is 2026. HSR is coming to 4th/King in 2025 as an interim stop until TTC trainbox is fitted out. The City and County of San Francisco Planning Department is undertaking the Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study (RAB) looking at different construction methods and alignments into the TTC that may be on the same timeline but fix some of the issues with having Caltrain and HSR in the City including trenching the 16th Street and MIssion Bay Drive intersections 35-50 feet below where they are today and cutting off other access from existing streets to 7th currently. Its a problem with multiple agencies dealing with individual projects but not looking at the whole picture. TJPA responsible for DTX and TTC, Caltrain for Electrification, HSR for the blended service. All on different schedules but converging in the City about the same time.

      1. The presentation to the TJPA Board in July had projected the DTX would be finished by the end of 2025, but you’re absolutely correct with respect to the $4B cost estimate.

      2. Right, so take 2026, add a couple years for the “Railyard Alternatives” study; a couple more years after that to run community meetings and charettes to discuss (a.k.a. promote) the preferred alternative, two to four more years to do the EIRs for same … *then* seven-call-it-nine-or-ten years to actually build … so you’re now looking at 2041, minimum, before trains at Transbay. Criminal.

  5. By the time this is actually completed we’ll have some kind of teleportation technology. Or Uber flying vehicles.

  6. Who knows, maybe some $$$ will surface, I love the way various governmental agencies at the city and state level pull the poor card at their convenience.

    1. The irony is that government agencies aren’t poor at all and spend lavishly on freeways. Just scrap the next ten freeway upgrades in the pipeline and voila: there’s the money to build DTX.

        1. You’ve got to be kidding. 101 between SJ and SF has been under continuous improvement for the last couple of decades. There’s currently a large project underway in Palo Alto / Menlo park right now for example.

          The fact that congestion on 101 is still bad after hundreds of millions in investment is a testament to how short sighted freeway expansion is as a solution for commute problems. The only reason freeway projects get funded is because freeways are popular and a large segment of the population thinks only in terms of driving. So when a ballot measure is floated to add more lanes, voters enthusiastically reply with a “yes, please!” confirmation. Most voters don’t understand how short sighted and wasteful free expansion is. Rail is far more effective in addressing the transportation needs of a growing but geographically constrained urban area.

          1. Zig – That’s true, NIMBYism needs to be addressed to densify around transit stations and make rail more effective. Though both BART and Caltrain ridership has grown faster than density.

            Ironically the best way to reduce freeway congestion is to ramp up mass transit capacity on parallel routes.

          2. there has no improvement to 101 between SF and San Bruno in the past 20 yrs since iv been commuting it.
            you obviously are not driving enough to realize the bay area has some of the worst roads in the country. 101 is full of potholes, cracks, etc

  7. With this news can people please stop calling it the Grand Central Station of the West. By 2026 the west coast’s truly great train station, Union Station L.A. will be well into it’s awesome redevelopment plans. Today, it already has train service, subway service, light rail service, bus service and has the same daily number of passengers that the Transbay Terminal is projected to have in 2040. Also, the exterior is way more beautiful and doesn’t look like a doily.

    1. 4th & Townsend has most of that too and that’s where we should have kept the “downtown” rail terminus for SF. It might as well also be said that 4th & Townsend is every bit as much in the center of things as LA’s Union Station. All this is said when replacing the TransBay Terminal was first proposed.

      1. LA’s union station has 12 tracks for intercity rail plus 4 for local LRT and subway

        4th & Townsend is pissnat in comparison with or without the central subway

    2. San Francisco is not a tier 1 city like LA or NYC or Chicago and never will be. Trying to pretend it is, our local PTB that is, is what results in messes like this.

      1. Price Waterhouse recently conducted an exhaustive analysis of “Best Cities of Opportunity” and SF was ranked 8th worldwide slightly behind NYC (6) and ahead of LA and Chicago (tied at 13th).

        [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind PWC’s analysis was based on a screening of 30 cities.]

    3. The correct name of the fabled train building in the heart of Manhattan is Grand Central Terminal, not Grand Central Station, though this is a common error. The distinction is important because stations are stops along the way; terminals are the end of the line.

      The SF Transbay Transit Center is planned as the northern terminal for CA HSR and CalTrain. It’s a great vision and it’s still a good, even vital, plan. Disappointing, though not surprising – given commitment by government to cities in general and to non-automobile-related infrastructure in particular – that it will take so long, but the vision and plan are still right and very much worth pursuing.

    4. I’ve been calling it Port Authority West since day one, a $2 billion+ bus station. i think the money would have been better spent keeping the temporary transbay terminal and building a new BART transbay tube instead.

  8. I really don’t care about HSR at the terminal, just an electrified caltrain would be a reasonable goal for this station.

    In the intervening years until then, I am assuming that the train level will be usable enough for other purposes. Here are my suggestions:

    A farmers market.
    Go-kart racing (electric of course…)
    Filming for THX 1139 (the sequel to THX 1138)
    “underground” theatrical productions.
    Homeless shelter

  9. SF can now claim the best bus station with a park on top on the planet. And IMHO it was foreseeable that that was what we’d get for our billions. Another bit of Chris Daly’s legacy to the town he briefly adopted until the trust fund got balance got too low to afford the rents he helped create.

  10. If they are saying 10 years at the earliest you can bet it will be 20 years, at least, before this opens.
    If it does. I think there is a good chance HSR will end up coming up the east side of the Bay, as it should have been planned from the get-go, to an Oakland terminus.

    That the DTX funding is delayed due to the Millennium situation is a key. What if, after the lawsuit is settled, the TTC is found partly responsible for the problem? Does that bring into question whether over time other towers could be impacted? Given seismic situations or even trains coming into the station (over an extended time period)? The ongoing liability potential is potentially huge – given the answer to these questions.

    Just think, if HSR ends up coming to Oakland, the state can then create a fancy bus-bridge from Oakland to the TTC – the most expensive bus terminal in the world. It’ll become an SF tourist attraction don’t you know.

    1. i would be happy with a high speed rail that goes to 4th and townsend and buiilding a nice terminus. The addtional cost to go to downtown not worth it. and downtown is moving that direction anyway.

      1. Leaving the terminal at 4th and King would be just fine for me too personally. However big decisions like this are not made to suit individuals like you and I. A transbay terminal would attract an enormous amount of traffic.

        Here’s a good article explaining why DTX is so important: “Transbay has more than 100,000 jobs within a half-mile radius (more than every other station in the system combined). The concentration of jobs near San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center cannot be understated.”

    2. No wonder Dave is against anything good for SF. He’s an Oakland booster. Tell you what, instead of that nice “bus bridge”, how about we reinstate train tracks on the Bay Bridge. No, not for the HSR coming from LA via Oakland fantasy, but for reestablishing the true western terminus (NorCal branch) for transcontinental rail travel.

  11. While these [people] fumble around trying to get a train track to go an additional 1.2 miles… China will have built an additional 20,000 km of high speed rail line, equivalent to the amount they built in the last 10 years. At this rate, we deserve to lose to the Chinese.

  12. This is the biggest waste of tax payers money and no one is talking about it. This project is going to cost the tax payers $4.5 billion dollars and at the end of the day we are only going to get a bus station????? WTF??? When this project was presented to the public it had a living roof, glass walls and a train station. There will be no living roof, no glass siding and no trains. How much did it cost the tax payers to build the temporary bus terminal? Well that all we needed. EVERYONE WHO WORKS AT TJPA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES.

    1. It will eventually get trains. it’s too expensive to NOT build trains to it. And, that’s probably what the original plan was – basically ensure the rest of it gets built by pouring so much into this that nobody will be able to stomach not eventually getting there.

      1. True. Without DTX or some other similar way to get people to the CBD (another BART tube? Even more expensive), SF’s growth will be stifled. But maybe that’s the ulterior motive to block/delay DTX: preserve SF in amber.

  13. Development team for this project totally hosed the public. The “park in the sky” was such an obvious head-fake – and an equally obvious easily removed surplus element. It was straight up “put a bird on it”.

    Like the Chron’s John King, I personally preferred the Richard Rogers proposal. No silly park in the sky. No glass menagerie that would be easily VE’d. Striking design and the public space element was centered on a semi-enclosed concourse not easily VEd out, and that could accommodate revenue generating retail.

    But the SF public is obsessed with “green space” as the be all to end all, and thus we have the design we do.

      1. That the design selection of what is ostensibly a public building was primarily driven by who could lie the most about what they would pay the TJPA was part of the problem.

  14. Well, let’s hope that whoever is the next president considers upgrading US infrastructure a high priority. Hopefully that will close the time gap between now and completion…

    1. GG Bridge and Bay Bridge were also envisioned, designed, built and completed in less time than it’s been since the Transbay Terminal was first proposed…

      1. Not quite right. The bridges were envisioned in like 1870 but the technology didn’t exist yet to build them

      2. “In August 1919, City officials formally requested that O’Shaughnessy explore the possibility of building a bridge that crossed the Golden Gate Strait…finally broke ground on the bridge on January 5, 1933…the bridge opened in 1937”– history from namelink.

        There were ~2300 lawsuits bought against the Golden Gate Bridge before construction began.

        1. And? Even taking that extreme starting point (1919, for a total of 18 years from formal idea to opening) as the point of comparison:

          * former transbay terminal damaged in 1989 quake (27 years ago, and 37 years before earliest possible HSR to TTC)
          * SF voters adopt Prop H, to bring Caltrain downtown, in 1999 (17 years ago, and 27 years before earliest possible HSR to TTC)
          * TTC groundbreaking 2010 (6 years ago (with construction still ongoing), and 16 years before earliest possible HSR to TTC)

          I stand by my comment; when one factors in the inevitable additional future delays due to lawsuits, the 280 teardown study, etc., we’re faced with the reality that we simply can no longer do big, great projects – that we’re literally looking at the passage of generations, plural, before a major infrastructure project can go from “what a great idea” to “opening day!”.

          1. The “formal idea” predates the official request for the GG Bridge study. And it is completely unfair and unrealistic to measure HSR timing based on the earthquake. Also silly to measure Caltrain to downtown based on passage of an unfunded Prop that didn’t even have a timeline. That’s no more than the public instructing the city to do it whenever.

            These long cycle times aren’t due to our ability to “do big projects”, it is about the willingness to spend public funds for public mass transit and infrastructure generally, when we could spend the same money subsidizing sports teams or invading a country most of us can’t locate on a map or correctly pronounce or just give back as tax cuts. And DTX is not a “great” project anymore than is the Central Subway or the multi-billion dollar rebuild of the city water and sewer system, or the multi-billion dollar clean up of the SF Port. These are just routine taking care of our basic needs, which a past generation or two sorely neglected.

          2. fine, when *do* you want to start the clock? because downtown rail, 2nd bay tube, Geary subway, etc. have all been talked about for *decades*, long before the dates above, which were specific fixed dates in rebuttal to yours.

            We sit here navel gazing and holding charettes and public input meetings and insisting on EIRs to see if, SURPRISE, a subway is more environmentally friendly that thousands of cars … while the rest of the world builds and grows.

          3. Start the clock when you have the funding. Talk is cheap, often free, most often fact free. And in your simple accounting of our ability to “big project” don’t forget to include the collateral costs in the worker lives lost and the environmental damage inflicted. We simply are more careful about those delicacies than they were ~100 years ago.

            We, the people of the dis-United States, do have less interest in the big projects that you want (and that I want, mostly) than we have in building other large projects, like the largest prison system in the world, or the largest fleet of aircraft carriers, or on and on and on of large complex projects that don’t involve assisting whiny urbanites (who predominantly vote for the political party that does not control the purse) to zip past each other.

            I’d bet the cost of a month of a Monthly Reserved BART parking space that the new year will see the USA Federal budget for our big project “wall” (physical, electronic, virtual, spiritual) with Mexico will increase more than the USA Federal funding for any of the projects on your list. Ask not for whom the yuge projects happen, they happen not for thee.

          4. The one bright side of Trump’s win is his support for major infrastructure improvements. He proposed a larger program that Clinton IIRC. Of course a GOP Congress would oppose this if Cilinton proposed it but Trump has a better chance of seeing a huge infrastructure program get off the ground. IMO..

            LA BTW seems to be moving forward on many fronts with public transportation – are they getting more than their fair share of public transportation dollars? Has LA County voted for big transportation bonds?

          5. Don’t go counting your subway stations before the GOP congress shapes infrastructure spending to aid their constituents. There are many freeway miles and bridges that could use some work in the heartland. And pipelines. And swamps that want draining and rivers that want straightening and coal ash pits that want expanding. And who doesn’t like a nice new shiny coal export port or two? Gonna be beautifical.

            I would expect the Republicans to stimulate the economy in time for the next mid-terms. A yuge tax cut for the rich next year should have just about trickled down to the servants by then. And we always need to replenish the stock of freedom bombs. The brilliant side is that they don’t have to pay for it because Saint Ronnie proved deficits don’t matter.

          6. The rich don’t pay taxes, case you didn’t know, neither the Clintons nor the Bushes. Trusts are a wonderful thing.

            As an RE investor in an entitlement project in ND this is gravy. Trump won’t stop fracking, but from the Wikileak stuff, we know Clinton would not have either. Despite her protestations otherwise. I was not sweating that.

            RE will depend on the flow of the overall economy and, truth to tell, no single President has the power to change that tide.

          7. Dave, the Clintons pay taxes. Their tax returns are public going back decades. Why do you go on making these easily disproved statements?

        2. Cronyism exists on the left and right. With Democrats and Republicans. Look at what goes on in progressive SF and how efficiently and in the taxpayers interest money is spent – oh, say on infrastructure improvements and especially transportation.

          Clinton lost partly because the Bernie voters did not turn out. 6 million less votes than Obama. They didn’t vote because of the cronyism rampant throughout government in the US.

          SF is a microcosm, of the waste.

          Real estate will not collapse as some are going over the top in suggesting. TPTB are still in control.

          1. It’s not cronyism to weight rural needs more than urban. In this soon to be case, it is good democratic representational governating. That’s democratic with a small d and representational with a rigged E for Electors.

            The federal and state gov’t provide key portions of the funds for major infrastructure. That has been normal since the 1930s. It is very unlikely that the next congress will provide a yuge increase in transportation funding to say the peak of the Carter Admin, been below that level every since Reagan gutted it. Between that knifing and Prop 13 I think you will find funding cuts that slowly eroded many services in SF.

            FWIW, it usually takes about two weeks to get to the nearly final vote counts. By then Clinton should be about 5 million below Obama 2012, and Trump will most likely approach but not reach the vote total of Romney 2012. Johnson and Stein and misc about tripled their vote from 2012. That was where most of the vote difference went. Some would say those were wasted votes. They certainly were in determining which of the contending powers that be would take control in January. But yeah, it looks like when the last vote is counted there will be a couple million fewer voters in 2016 than in 2012, and disproportionately they will be african americans, who btw were not Bernie voters. They were Barack voters.

          2. African Americans have not gotten anything buy promises and, even under the first African American president, their plight is not better. No wonder they did not turn out.

            Fessing up, IMO the Clintons are as corrupt as the day is long. So, as a protest, I voted Trump. He had no chance of winning – right?

            Bernie was the true progressive and would have won – but that the DNC and Clintons stacked the results of the primary as Wikileaks shows.

            The Clintons are why Trump won.

            In any case RE will do what it will do. There has been a huge gain in the BA and that will slow. But Trump will not result in any kind of collapse. The RE market is beyond any one President or Congress.

          3. “their plight”, “gotten nothing” — why would any sensible person talk that way? “They” are more than 42 million people with the enormous variety of life experiences to match and far beyond your trivialization. Show some respect for the actual diversity of real people, real people with agency, not some woeful caricature.

            Fessing up, I don’t care who/why/whether you vote. FTR, your rather remarkable history of misstatements here in the comments of this site long ago made it simply more efficient to assume your statements are incorrect than “waste” effort (sisyphean task) to correct.

            But don’t worry or be angry, be happy. With the ascension of Trump now we are become proud subject peoples of the Russian Empire, and can look upon this war between the Democratic and Republican upper classes – and which of them wins with total indifference. Our task is to organize defeat, so as to hasten the onset of revolution.

  15. While the delay is disappointing, there might be a somewhat bright side to this. A delay to the rail connection gives more time to study and adopt alternatives to the current Caltrain terminus at Townsend and 4th street. I personally like the idea of moving the Caltrain rails underground along Third Street and transforming the 280 ramp into an Octavia-like boulevard at 16th street.

    This would unite the SOMA, Mission Bay and Potrero Hill neighborhoods into a walkable and livable center. It would also allow to move the Caltrain stop closer to the new Warriors arena and open up 3 blocks in prime location (between 4th and 7th street) for redevelopment.

    1. Regardless of the merits of this – and I’m on the record here opposing the 280 tear-down, and I’m also against making 4th and King the terminus – but again, setting that aside – any changes to the current proposal to bring HST to Transbay will pretty much start the ball from scratch, requiring planning and EIR review and public notices up the wazoo all from a new starting point.

      i.e., this isn’t simply an example of having an extra couple years to cogitate; if that cogitation results in a decision to materially change the current plans, then those changes themselves will add yet more years’ delay to the scheme.

      1. Just to clarify, in the alternative above I still argue that the final Caltrain, High Speed Rail should be at Transbay. However, a smaller Caltrain stop in Mission Bay should be included. This is one of the options in the current plan, therefore not triggering new approval requirements as far as I know.

        1. Or we could simply add a T-Stop to 22nd & 3rd to make connections to Mission Bay either.

          As an aside, I didn’t realize that T doesn’t actually stop in center of Dog Patch at 22nd & 3rd where all the bars, restaurants and closest location to Caltrain station is. Instead, they put a T stop on 23rd where there is an Ambulance parking lot, a moving truck parking lot and a generic parking lot with some food trucks. They couldn’t have found a worse location!

          1. The placement of the boarding stations for the T along 3rd Street (Willie Brown Blvd) couldn’t be more asinine.

          2. Worse yet is that the T doesn’t even connect with Caltrain at Bayshore which we were promised over a decade ago before the T opened.

            These are pretty short blocks though, but the T could have benefited from consolidation of a few stops along its route.

  16. Do you mean the old Bay Bridge first conceived during the early gold rush days and completed in 1936 or the new Bay Bridge which was needed after the 1989 earthquake and constructed between 2002 and 2013 at a cost of $6.5 billion (source Wikipedia).
    It doesn’t take the involvement of a train to run into a mess of delays and cost overruns. I am in favor of the HSR, but not confident about the execution of the project.

  17. We have all been saying this from the get-to. The Transbay Terminal is a bus station. Period. The most expensive bus station in the world. No direct connection to Muni, BART or CalTrain. The current temporary bus station on Folsom is handling the bus traffic just fine, at a fraction of the cost of that beautiful behemoth on Minna. What a monumental waste.

    1. With the growing chance, IMO, of a re-route of HSR from the Peninsula to the East Bay you can have a station that connects with Amtrak and BART – given a relatively small shift/re-do of BART, the East Bay bus districts and MUNI through BART and get a “Grand Central” (of sorts of course). A 15 minute BART ride from downtown SF to this new transportation hub and voila. CalTrans remains the outlier, but DTX is years off and options remain. A Caltran/Central subway connection linking to BART and on to the East Bay “Grand Central”.

      1. I doubt it. Once Caltrain is electrified, HSR doesn’t need much further construction to reach SF. Caltrain Electrification is largely funded, many contracts awarded and mostly designed.

      2. The only problem with that is you won’t get the passengers that SF can provide. It is noted that the vast majority of people will travel on the SF-LA route. Also, an East Bay option will never happen due to the State voters stating a HSR from LA to SF, not Oakland.

  18. This is why I spend half my time in Japan. So sad to see how far behind the states is compared to other countries. I live a short walk from Shinjuku station, and although sometimes frustratingly crowded, we have all the transit options available. No bullet train, but I can hop on a train to Shinagawa and take the bullet train anywhere. Such a waste of time to delay this project any further. For those sad that they may never get to ride CAHSR, may I suggest buying a ticket to Japan (or any other country with HSR) and trying it out. You will see what you are missing.

  19. Both Washington, D.C. and Boston have better connected central stations. DC has Union Station, Boston has both Backbay & South Station. Both Boston Stations have T, Amtrak and Regional Train connectivity. So I don’t buy the argument of being a LA/NYC or Chicago.

    Just call it what it is; SF sucks when it comes to public transit; everyone around here is a car hater but when it comes about making the necessary transit improvements there is zero political fortitude.

    1. South Station and North Station (Back Bay is one station SW of South Station, but serves as a major junction in a dense, vibrant neighborhood nonetheless).

      My friends live in West Newton…takes ~15 minutes by commuter rail to get to downtown Boston, similar to BART from Daly City to the Embarcadero.

  20. They should’ve dug the Caltrain extension tunnels as part of Phase 1. Then at least we would’ve have something to show after Phase 1. Instead, we had a bus station and still have a bus station.

    1. Agreed, they should have dug them as part of Phase 1. Now the issue is the proposed route keeps getting built up so expect even more delays because of building construction in/around the route.

  21. I would have more faith in our ability to get this done if we hadn’t been talking about electrifying Caltrain for decades.

  22. 2026 at the soonest? That is just sad. The Bay Bridge was $6 billion over budget. The corrupt leaders at the MTC – taking contractor kickbacks – oversaw shoddy construction and it took 25 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake to finish.

    So if they are currently saying 2026 and $2.6 Billion? It will probably be 2046 and $8.6 billion. DTX is a great idea – but it is clear to everyone watching the MTC / JTPA has Zero ability to deliver this project anywhere close to on time and on budget.

    1. You have no political backing for getting the DTX completed. We were sold a grand multi-modal transit center with all the bells and whistles. Well, the bells were melted down to make the whistles which were then sold to go towards paying for the bare bones facility that suddenly was over budget. Result: $2+B bus station.

  23. Was just reading an article in which Nancy was speaking about the outcome of the election and promising to work with the new team on infrastructure. How about we ask Nancy to put a small, 1+ mile rail project on the top of the list of possible projects as a pilot to see how well congress and the white house can work together? Maybe we won’t need to wait until 2041.

  24. Union Station as the Grand Central of the West? When pigs fly on wings.

    This is what happens when envy comes into play for the lesser. The Transbay Redevelopment Project is actually the more ambitious of the 2 projects, according to my sources at Caltrans. The LA Master Plan calls for an addition of 3.2 million square feet of mixed use housing, office, and retail space. This includes hotels, towers and retail adjoining Union Station as well as expanding Union Station to just under 500,000 square feet with the addition of a lower concourse featuring 144,000 square feet of retail space, and a bus ramp above ground. Big deal.

    At last count, the Transbay Redevelopment Program which began a few years ago is currently at 9.5 million square feet of retail, office, housing, open space and counting. This includes Salesforce Tower, 181 Fremont St. Tower, Oceanwide Center Towers ! & 2 other highrises, Transbay Park + surrounding condominiums, and of course, the demolished and nearly re-built Transbay Transit Center.

    When completed, it will be more than twice the height and twice as long (roughly 1500 feet) as the old terminal. It will feature 166,000 square feet of retail and dining, of which 100,000 square feet will be leasable. In addition to the new train platforms, a bus ramp w/wide overhead roadway featuring a mock bridge span (an ode to the area’s 2 famous bridges) will whisk buses onto and off of the freeway.

    The most anticipated attraction of all will be the rooftop park. Spanning a quarter of a mile, it will feature gondolas that will transport visitors from the street onto the park, cascading waterfalls, trees from all over the world, a small track for running, a play area for children, 2 rooftop eateries including a 14,000 square feet restaurant, and a 300-feet long, 800-seat open air amphitheater for live concerts and performances. When completed, it will be the largest rail station west of the Mississippi at 1.5 million square feet. This monstrosity of a structure will dwarf post-renovation Union Station by over 1 million square feet, but will still be smaller than the behemoth San Francisco Centre Shopping Mall on 5th and Market by 60,000 sq. ft (this mall is so huge that it’s larger than the the paltry malls at L.A. Live, FigAt7th, The Bloc, and City National Plaza combined).

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