Supervisor Fiona Ma: New Transit Developments

Plans are now underway for a new Transbay Transit Center to replace the current Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets in downtown San Francisco. The vision for this new center is to create a West Coast version of Grand Central Station, connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the rest of the state and transforming downtown San Francisco and regional transportation well into the next century.

With a central downtown Transbay Transit Center, we will be able to provide San Francisco residents with a convenient and central location for our region's eight transit systems - AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni (including paratransit for seniors and the disabled), SamTrans and a future high-speed railway system

The plan for the new transit center will consist of three connected elements: replacing the outmoded Transbay Terminal with the modern Transbay Transit Center; extending Caltrain underground from Fourth and King streets to the new transit center at First and Mission streets, with accommodations for future high-speed rail; and creating a new transit-friendly neighborhood with new homes and mixed-use commercial development.

Not only will this transit center improve the transportation options for our city's residents, it is also a significant step in fulfilling the city's Transit First Policy. In addition to the transportation benefits this project will bring to San Francisco and the entire Bay Area region, the transit center will also help revitalize this downtown area.

This project will support a vibrant new neighborhood with 3,400 homes in the surrounding area; 35 percent of which will be "affordable." The Transbay Transit Center will serve as a model of smart-growth planning and sustainable urban living by placing transit, housing and retail next to each other, reducing the need for cars, relieving traffic congestion and improving air quality throughout the region.

Work on this project will begin in 2008. The transit center building and complementary mixed-use Transit Tower are estimated to be completed in 2014 and will be a bustling transit and retail center in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The transit center's underground rail station and Caltrain rail service is projected to be complete and operational by 2018, or earlier if funding becomes available.

Bus service will continue uninterrupted at a temporary terminal just southeast of the current Transbay Terminal while the new transit center is being constructed.

To learn more about these new plans, please join me, members of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency at a Community Meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m., at the Sunset Recreation Center, located at 2201 Lawton St., between 28th and 29th avenues.

For online information about the project, please visit www.transbaycenter.org.

Fiona Ma is a San Francisco supervisor representing District 4.