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Notes from 9/10/08 Temporary Transbay Terminal Community Meeting

The Transbay Temporary Terminal project will break ground on November 1st on the Rincon Hill neighborhood block bordered by Main, Howard, Beale, and Folsom Streets. The first phase is scheduled to be finished and begin operations by August 2009. The second phase, which includes tearing down the eastern overhead ramps, will complete by October 2009. The Temporary Terminal will operate until the new Transbay Transit Center is ready for operations, slated for some time in 2014. After that point in time, the land will be developed into mixed use housing by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency with a 1-acre neighborhood park in the middle.

Phil Sandri and Ed Sum from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) presented an overview of both the Temporary Transbay Terminal and the planned Transbay Transit Center and took questions from attendees at a community meeting earlier this evening held at The Port of San Francisco offices at Pier 1.

Some of the highlights from the meeting include:

  • Official web site is www.temporaryterminal.org. You can sign up for e-mail updates about road closures and detours during the construction project on the official site.
  • Cars will be able to turn left onto Folsom from northbound Main Street and travel west through Fremont. This is handy because left turns will cease to be allowed from northbound Main Street onto Howard
  • Western approach of the Bay Bridge expected to be finished by February 2009 by Caltrans, translating into the junk, I mean materials staging areas along Folsom, being cleared out.
  • About 600 parking spaces will be eliminated
  • There will be onsite management to keep the area cleaned up to a higher degree than what we see at the current Transbay Terminal (again, by supporting your Neighborhood Associations, we can be a squeaky wheel if this doesn’t appear to happen as promised)
  • SFPD should circulate the area to help provide a better sense of security
  • There will be new street paving as part of DPW’s 5-year plan down Folsom Street and on the blocks aroudn the Temporary Terminal
  • Once operational, buses will primarily use Folsom to get into the Temporary Terminal through the Beale Street entry; other buses will line up curbside around the terminal. Note that buses should not be idling their engines for more than 3 minutes.

Most disappointing to me is a gentleman from DPT indicated there were no plans to set up traffic lights to allow for pedestrian-only crossings of the streets near the Temporary Terminal. He mentioned that it would slow down the cars. Well, DUH?!?

I fear that pedestrians will be injured and/or killed at Howard Street near the Temporary Terminal if the City’s DPT doesn’t get off the notion that pedestrians are on their own when it comes to crossing a busy street in SoMa. Pedestrian safety will be an ongoing issue in the Rincon Hill neighborhood until enough of us ban together in our Neighborhood Associations and make enough noise so that the City will no longer delay and ignore our needs for traffic calming and other streetscape alterations.

Neighbors will have another opportunity to talk with representatives from the TJPA at this Sunday’s South Beach, Mission Bay, and Rincon Hill Neighborhood Block Party where the Authority will be an exhibitor.

You can learn more online at the Temporary Terminal web site: www.temporaryterminal.org

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