Neighborhood planned around transit hub in S.F.

The City’s vision for a newly rebuilt Transbay Transit Terminal is not just for a public transportation hub — it’s a plan for a whole new neighborhood.

The Transbay project is expected to bring together regional bus lines and a Caltrain connection within a new transit center at First and Mission streets. Transit advocates also hope to eventually bring the state’s first high-speed rail line to the modernized public transportation hub.

On July 25, the Planning Department will hold its first public workshop to introduce a planning effort for the Transit Center District — which, at this preliminary stage, has boundaries of Market, Main, Tehama and New Montgomery streets.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority provided the Planning Department with approximately $240,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for the Transit Center District, including investigating possible changes to permitted building heights and density rules for the area around the current Transbay Terminal, Planning Department project manager Joshua Switzky said.

The area around the Transbay Terminal is zoned for up to 550 feet on the blocks immediately around the station. The rebuilt Transit Center project itself has been proposed to include an 800- to 1,000-foot high-rise that would include a hotel, as well as residential and commercial units. The development project is expected to generate revenue to help fund the rebuilding of the Transbay Terminal.

On Tuesday, bids from three design and architectural teams were submitted to the Planning Department for the Transit Terminal project, which, in its first phase, is estimated to cost $1 billion in already secured local, state and federal funding. A public presentation of those designs will be made on Aug. 6, project spokesman Adam Alberti said.

Prior to that, the July 25 public meeting will be used, in part, to discuss raising the height limits in the area, Planning Director Dean Macris said.

“We’ll need to do that to enable the terminal project to move forward,” Macris said.

Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, a nonprofit that focuses on city planning policies, said that any discussions about new high-rises should also focus on building width and the amount of distance between buildings.

“Let some light into the area,” Radulovich said.

The second phase of the project, slated to begin in 2012, would create an underground extension that would bring the Caltrain line from its station at Fourth and King streets to the Transbay Terminal. The total cost for both projects is estimated at $3.4 billion.

beslinger@examiner.com


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