New Transbay Transit Center omits child care

The new $4.2 billion Transbay Transit Center may one day boast public parks, towering skyscrapers, 2,600 new homes and access to a host of different transit lines, but the development has come under fire for what it lacks: child care facilities.

With thousands of new workers — including transit agency employees working at all hours of the night — plus a heavy influx of families and commuters expected to access the center, providing child care in the downtown development is essential, according to San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

Despite persistent hounding from Dufty, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the agency in charge of the project, has yet to commit any funds or space for child care centers in the multiblock development, which is slated to open in 2017.

Dufty and his fellow Supervisors on the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Plans and Programs Committee took TJPA Program Manager Emilio Cruz to task for that oversight earlier this week.

According to Mardi Lucich, citywide child care administrator with Department of Children, Youth, and their Families, the new development would require four different child care facilities to meet the demand of workers, residents and commuters. Using projections that the centers should provide 350 square feet per child, the total cost — fully furnished and with necessary amenities — of each center would be roughly $3 million.

At the committee meeting, Cruz said that the TJPA has made verbal recognition on a staff level about the need for child care centers, but funding shortfalls have prevented it from making further commitments.

That response did not please Dufty, who said a memorandum of understanding stipulating the inclusion of new child care centers should be necessary.

“You cannot have a unique, vibrant community around Transbay without child care facilities,” Dufty said. “And you’ve done nothing today to dissuade me that the TJPA has been absolutely lackluster in pursuing this.”

Supervisor David Campos suggested that the TA withhold funding for the Transbay Transit Center until commitments are made for child care facilities. About $38 million in funding controlled by the TA could be potentially used for the $4.2 billion project.

The TA is in charge of administering The City’s transportation tax. It is governed by The City’s Board of Supervisors.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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