Transbay Transit Center

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This article is about the new Transbay Transit Center under construction in San Francisco. For its now-demolished predecessor, see San Francisco Transbay Terminal.
Transbay Transit Center
Transbay Transit Center construction on 1st Street.jpg
Under construction on 1st Street in January 2017
Location South of Mission Street from Second to Beale Streets
Owned by TJPA
Tracks 6
Connections AC Transit, BART (via pedestrian tunnel to Embarcadero ), Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni (via pedestrian tunnel to Embarcadero), SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, Paratransit and California’s future High Speed Rail
Disabled access Yes
Opening Scheduled for 2017
  Future service  
Preceding station   California High-Speed Rail   Following station
Terminus   Phase I
toward Anaheim

The Transbay Transit Center is a transit station and neighborhood development project in downtown San Francisco that will serve the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional transportation system. It is governed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) and is currently under construction.


Construction of the center, seen from below in 2013

During the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 the former Transbay Terminal suffered structural damage and was in need of replacement. In November 1999 San Francisco voters adopted Proposition H declaring that Caltrain shall be extended downtown into a new regional intermodal transit station constructed to replace the former Transbay Terminal. To accomplish this, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) was founded in 2001.[citation needed]

The $4.5 billion project will replace the former Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets in San Francisco with a modern regional transit station connecting eight Bay Area counties and the State of California.[1]

The Transbay Transit Center broke ground on August 11, 2010 in the company of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, Mayor Gavin Newsom and more.[2] After breaking ground, the TJPA worked to demolish the preexisting structures including the bus ramps and the terminal structure. Demolition of the former San Francisco Transbay Terminal completed in September 2011, one year after the project broke ground.[3]

Construction of the first phase and accompanying park is scheduled to be completed in late 2017.[4]

Project elements[edit]

Construction of the center, seen from above in 2013
Transbay Transit Center under construction in San Francisco, surrounded by 181 Fremont construction (left), Salesforce Tower construction (near right), Millennium Tower (far right). September 16, 2016

The project includes three elements: the construction of the Transit Center, the extension of Caltrain from 4th and King to the future Transbay Transit Center, and the development of the surrounding neighborhood into a transit friendly community.[5]

Phase 1[edit]

Phase 1 of the project is construction of a new multimodal, five-story Transit Center. The future Transit Center will incorporate nearly 100,000 square feet of retail ,[6] a 5.4 acre rooftop park, an extensive public arts program and bus ramps that will connect the Transit Center to a new off-site bus storage facility and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. The new facility will accommodate more than 100,000 passengers each weekday and up to 45 million people per year. Phase 1 broke ground in August 2010 and is on schedule to begin operations in late 2017. The bus storage facility will be below the lower deck of the Bay Bridge's western span's approach.

Phase 2[edit]

Downtown Rail Extension
Future Second Transbay Tube
to Oakland
Embarcadero BSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg  F  Bay Area Rapid Transit
Down arrow J Church logo.svg K Ingleside logo.svg L Taraval logo.svg M Ocean View logo.svg N Judah logo.svg
Transbay Transit Center Caltrain CAHSR
Up arrow  E  N Judah logo.svg
Left arrow T Third Street logo.svg Right arrow
4th & King Caltrain BSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg
moving underground to
4th & Townsend
to San Jose
to Los Angeles

Phase 2 of the project, the Downtown Rail Extension (DTX), will extend Caltrain 1.3 miles underground from its current terminus at 4th and King Street into the new Transit Center. Because the station will only have six tracks that Caltrain can use, 4th and King will remain in use to accommodate the trains unable to fit in the new station. Also, a pedestrian tunnel will extend below Beale Street to Embarcadero Station.

The sign posted at the Transbay Transit Center Construction Site

New neighborhood[edit]

Nearby construction projects around the San Francisco Transbay Center, April 1, 2016. Transbay Center is outlined in yellow, center. In blue on the left is the lower floors of 181 Fremont Street. In red on the right are the first platform and first few floors of the core of the Salesforce Tower. In front of the Salesforce Tower is the base of the Millennium Tower. In green at top is the top of the building housing the Wikimedia Foundation.

The final element of the Transbay Transit Center Project is the creation of the Transbay neighborhood; a transit friendly community in downtown San Francisco. The new neighborhood will offer more than 6 million square feet of office space; over 4,000 units of new housing, approximately 1,400 of which will be permanently affordable; nearly 1,000 new hotel rooms; improved pedestrian and bike amenities; and the Salesforce Tower.[citation needed]

New development[edit]

City Park[edit]

City Park will be the 5.4 acre public rooftop park, comparable to the Highline Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City, atop the future Transbay Transit Center.[7] The park was designed by PWP Landscape Architecture. The park atop the transit facility will offer amenities such as an amphitheater, water features, a restaurant, gardens and more.[8]

The rooftop park of the Transbay Transit Center will become an essential element in the growth of the new neighborhood around this new multi-modal transit facility. It will provide high quality open space in a part of San Francisco that lacks in opportunities for park development. As part of the winning entry for the Transbay Terminal Transit Center Competition in San Francisco, PWP, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Except Integrated Sustainability[9] proposed this 5.4-acre public park atop the future bus, light rail, and rail terminal. The park will be visible and easily reached from the street, leading commuters and visitors along curving paths through a series of different settings.[citation needed]

Bus deck level[edit]

The bus deck level is located two levels above ground. The bus deck is designed to surround a central passenger waiting area.[10] This level has a direct connection to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, allowing buses from the East Bay to enter and exit the Transit Center without use of downtown San Francisco streets. A bus shed has been proposed under the San Francisco entrance/exit as part of the project.

Ground level[edit]

The Ground level will serve as the grand hall for the Transbay Transit Center and the primary circulation point of the facility. The main entrance will be off of Mission Square and will include ticket kiosks, automated ticketing booths and the main escalators.[11]

Lower concourse level[edit]

The Lower concourse serves as the connection between the ground level and the train station platform. Ticketing, waiting areas and bike storage will be available on this level.[12]

Train station platform[edit]

The train station platform will be two levels below street level and will contain three passenger platforms that will serve Caltrain and future California High-Speed Rail service.[13] If Amtrak starts running trains into San Francisco, it will likely use the Transbay Transit Center as well.[citation needed] There will also be a pedestrian tube under Beale Street to BART's Embarcadero Station to provide direct access to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI).[citation needed] This section of the Transbay Center should be completed by 2019. A route for the tunnel to connect 4th and King Street Station and the Transbay Center is still being studied as of October 2016. A loop has been proposed so trains can turn around without the need for push-pull operation.[citation needed] BART's future second Transbay Tube will emerge here.[14]

Temporary terminal[edit]

During the construction of the Transbay Transit Center, bus operations have been relocated to the newly constructed Temporary Transbay Terminal, which opened in 2010.[15] The Temporary Terminal is bounded by Folsom, Beale, Howard and Main Streets in the City's South of Market district, two blocks from the site of the former Transbay Terminal. The Temporary Transbay Terminal is served by AC Transit, WestCAT Lynx, Muni, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, Paratransit, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach and Greyhound, and currently provides service to more than 20,000 people per day.[16] When the Transbay Center opens, the Temporary Terminal will become Transbay Park.

In 2011, the Temporary Transbay Terminal was named Transportation Project of the Year by the San Francisco Bay Area Institute of Engineers.[16]

Public art[edit]

Based on the policies established by the FTA encouraging the inclusion of public art in transportation facilities, the TJPA committed $4.75 million to fund the creation of public artwork for the Program.[17]

Working with the San Francisco Arts Commission, the TJPA oversees the planning and development of the public art program. Currently there are five artists included in the program: James Carpenter, Julie Chang, Tim Hawkinson, Jenny Holzer and Ned Kahn.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Program". 
  2. ^ Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (11 August 2010). "Construction Begins for Transbay Transit Center". 
  3. ^ "Mayor Lee, Jane Kim, Willie Brown Celebrate Old Transbay Terminal Demolition". 
  4. ^ Dineen, J.K. (December 10, 2014). "Transbay Transit Center grand vision includes thriving retail hub". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Transit Center". 
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Park near Transbay Transit Center being designed". SFGate. 
  8. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "San Francisco Transbay Terminal". Except Integrated Sustainability. 
  10. ^ "Bus Deck Level". 
  11. ^ "Ground Level". 
  12. ^ "Lower Concourse Level". 
  13. ^ "Train Station Platform". 
  14. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (June 22, 2007). "BART's New Vision: More, Bigger, Faster". San Francisco Chronicle. p. A1. Retrieved November 1, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Temporary new Transbay Terminal opens in San Francisco". ABC7 San Francisco. 
  16. ^ a b "Temporary Terminal". 
  17. ^ "Public Art". 
  18. ^ "Public art". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′23″N 122°23′48″W / 37.7897°N 122.3966°W / 37.7897; -122.3966