San Francisco’s $2 billion transit terminal is open after more than eight years of construction. The new five-level center spans three blocks and has been coined the “Grand Central of the West.”
The new transit center is true to its name, located in the core of the city in the South of Market neighborhood. Officials expect the center to accommodate 100,000 passengers each weekday, and up to 45 million people a year. The striking perforated white metal surface treatment in reminiscent of lace and it was designed to be airy a light with a sky-lit central entrance hall and a rooftop park (artists rendering pictured right) with an outdoor amphitheater. Early visitors compared it not only two New York’s Grand Central Station but also to that city’s High Line an elevated park built on a defunct elevated railroad line.
The online business software company Salesforce, which opened its adjacent 61-story Salesforce Tower three months ago, bought naming rights to the center in 2017 as part of a 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement. Originally budgeted for $1.6 billion, costs rose to $2 billion because of what an analyst cited by The San Francisco Chronicle called “optimistic assumptions.” The project, financed by land sales, federal stimulus grants, district fees and taxes, bridge tolls, and federal and state funds, is not yet complete with restaurants, retail shops and a gondola still to be constructed. There are also plans for a three-platform underground train station and eventually, connections to a high-speed rail line which is under construction in California’s Central Valley.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is a department of the City and County of San Francisco responsible for the management of all ground transportation in the city. The SFMTA has oversight over the Municipal Railway (Muni) public transit, as well as bicycling, paratransit, parking, traffic, walking and taxis. SFMTA serves San Francisco by creating transportation options that are constant, practical and everywhere. Its goal is to connect people with their community to enhance the economy, environment and quality of life. The SFMTA is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The SFMTA Board provides policy oversight, including budgetary approval and changes of fares, fees and fines, ensuring representation of the public interest. Established by voter mandate in 1999, the SFMTA aggregated multiple San Francisco city agencies, including the Department of Parking and Traffic, Muni and since 2007, the Taxi Commission. For more info, visit sfmta.com.