Transit expansion hampered by new terminal

When a temporary transit terminal is opened for use while a new terminal for buses and possibly trains is built within a multibillion-dollar development project that includes a 1,200-foot tower, its limited size will prevent the main bus line using the terminal from expanding its services until 2014.

Work on the temporary downtown terminal is scheduled to begin in less than two months, allowing for demolition of the existing terminal, city officials told several dozen people at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday to discuss the project.

The temporary facility will be located one block south-east from the current terminal, between Main and Beale streets and Folsom and Howard streets. It will operate for five years while a new permanent facility, which transit officials have predicted will become the “Grand Central of the West” is built at the site of the current station.

As with the current facility, the temporary terminal will be used by Muni, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, AC (Alameda-Contra Costa) Transit District and Western Contra Costa Transit Authority buses.

AC Transit will not be able to expand its services while the temporary terminal is used because of limited space, Transbay Joint Powers Authority project manager Philip Sandri said during the meeting.

Residents who attended the meeting voiced concerns over the loss of 600 parking spaces, which will not be replaced, and the conversion of some lanes around the temporary terminal into bus-only lanes.

The land used for the temporary terminal will be redeveloped for other uses after 2014, according to Sandri. Construction of the temporary terminal is expected to begin Oct. 31 and the terminal will open in October 2009, according to authority documents.

Work on the new Transbay Transit Terminal and office tower is expected to run from 2010 until 2014, when the new  Transbay Transit Center is scheduled to open.

During the course of the temporary terminal's construction, traffic disruptions are expected throughout the course of the project, according to the authority.

Additionally, a “casual carpool” program will be relocated from the east side of Beale Street to the west side of Beale Street.

The new multi-modal Transbay Transit Center will be built at the site of the existing 69-year old terminal, which is between Mission and Folsom streets and between Main and Second streets.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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