On July first, the Transbay Transit Center, closed over 9 months ago when cracks were discovered in two major structural girders, had what folks in the hotel business call a “soft opening,” sans buses.
How can a transit center open without buses, you might ask. Actually, the center’s elevators, escalators, new gondola and the park on the upper level opened to the media and pedestrians, but there are no buses running yet even after the repairs mandated by the forensic team were implemented.
The San Francisco Chronicle, (subscription only) in an article published on July 2, said, “Media crews and park employees outnumbered the first shift of park visitors.” The 5.4-acre park on the roof of the center has undergone improvements and to the casual observer looks like it is ready to return to operation. It looks like it should be ready to receive buses, but that is not expected to happen until August or September according to the Chronicle article. The buses will arrive on the third level of the center from a ramp that ties to the Bay Bridge.
The park is nice. The Pelli Clarke Pelli design gleams the bus service will move back in August from the temporary transit center several blocks away, but there will still be one missing piece, trains. The facility was designed to accommodate trains on the lower levels, but that is not likely to happen in the next decade, if ever, according to some critics. There are doubts that the facility could handle the trains, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority will have to turn this month’s soft opening into a “hard reopening” next month and then get “back on track” on plans for the center to accommodate the region's trains.
Construction Citizen has been following this project since the center was shut down and will watch for any additional news that might interest you as operations move forward.
And yes, the entire million-plus square foot facility was reviewed by the forensic team. Rest assured that they reviewed every plan, as-built drawings, structural calculation and shop drawings before the repairs to the girders were completed and the facility was allowed to reopen last week.