White canopy frames are in place. Three modular buildings and palm trees are being planted in the city block whose latest incarnation will be the temporary Transbay terminal. The existing terminal, dating from 1939, will be torn down. An animation provided by Transbay Joint Powers Authority shows its planned replacement, a massive multi-level intermodal transit center.
Before work on that multi-billion dollar project can begin, the $18 million temporary terminal has to go up to allow AC Transit, Greyhound, Muni and others to keep operating. At peak times, 100 buses an hour will be passing through.
It will be in place for five years. But, if it is temporary, why bother with landscaping like palm trees?
"There is a little bit of landscaping just to address concerns from the surrounding community. The temporary terminal is going to be an inconvenience for the five years that it's here," Robert Beck says.
AC Transit salvaged the trees from another of its projects.
"We have a project down in Fremont where we're building a park and ride lot that had some palm trees that needed to go away because it didn't work for our operations. Instead of just taking those out, we actually transferred them over here," says Robert Del Rosario.
The temporary terminal is bordered by Folsom, Main, Howard and Beale Streets, in the footprint of the Embarcadero Freeway, demolished after the Loma Prieta earthquake. An animation shows how the site is evolving from parking lot to temporary terminal, then finally a new neighborhood.
"It's exciting to see what was for many years a dead space, a freeway is actually going to be a lively downtown transit-oriented neighborhood with parks and housing, and retail," Grisso says.
The old Transbay ramp, now sitting across the temporary terminal site, will come down in February as terminal operations move into the temporary site.
LINK: Transbay Transit Center