Several busloads of dignitaries, bureaucrats and transit enthusiasts gathered on Friday to mark the completion of a transit facility that will one day hopefully connect the Bay Area with outlying areas.
The tape cutting took place in the sky. Illuminated, ornate hall of the new Transbay Transit Center in the streets Mission and Fremont in San Francisco. The structure is crowned by a 5.4-acre park and includes a bus-only road connecting it to the Bay Bridge.
Bus service starts on Sunday at the futuristic structure, which extends a quarter mile and crosses over Fremont and First streets. It replaces the Transbay terminal, a little-loved facility that closed in 2010.
"I shuttled into the old building and it was a miserable place," said Jake Mackenzie, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. which tied $ 450 million to the $ 2.1
Mackenzie was one of 12 spokespersons during the one-hour event – a political statement by San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim, whose district is the transit center Nancy Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives, began when the demolition of the former terminal began
"This is a truly revolutionary initiative worthy of this cradle of innovation," Pelosi announced a few minutes after he had reminded the audience of 300 people or so, "We have more to do."
The new Transbay Transit Center is open to the public from 12:00 to 16:00 on Saturday, with the roof-top park open until the 9th. Transit operation starts on Sunday.
She is right. The new complex includes a federally-funded, $ 400 million underground hull designed for a two-story railroad station. The idea is for Caltrain Commuter Service from South Bay to finally reach the Financial District, along with high-speed rail service from Los Angeles. But there is an estimated cost of at least $ 4 billion to move the underground lines from Mission Bay, and a financial plan for doing so is lacking.
Several other speakers emphasized that the second phase of the Center is essential. In the words of Assemblyman Phil Ting, whose district includes the west side of San Francisco, "Monday, we have to roll up our sleeves and go to work."
But the focus was on celebrating a project that, as booster say, has created more than 14,000 jobs in the Bay Area, spurring $ 9 billion near private development.
"I want to thank the residents for their patience," said Kim, who took office in 2011. "At that time, it would have been difficult for any of us to predict what would happen in the following years … This quarter was ground for development around the clock."
Construction workers remain busy. For the entire week, they ripped ceiling panels in place or poured concrete for new sidewalks and a dozen other late touches. The Minna Street between First Street and Second Street, which will later be lined with shops, has yet to be re-parked.
However, there was a signage with the official name of the plant – Salesforce Transit Center. Headquartered in the new skyline-top tower connected to the roof park via a pedestrian bridge, the technology company will pay at least $ 110 million over the next 25 years to finance operations at the center.
Other Speakers included Mayor London Breed, who described the old terminal as "a dark and drab place we absolutely wanted to avoid".
That was quite a contrast to the description of the new structure offered by Ed Reiskin, a board member, by the directors of the Transbay Joint Authority who developed the transit center
"It is an amazing facility," said Reiskin, who also runs the municipal transport agency. "We should offer amazing possibilities to our transit drivers, and we actually did it here."
John King is the urban design critic of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @johnkingsfchron