January 11, 2010

Scoop: Transbay Interactive Map (And New Transit Center Website)

Transbay Interactive Neighborhood Map

While it hasn’t yet been officially announced, plugged-in people know a new Transbay Transit Center website is now online. And while the intro animation should look (and sound) familiar, a new interactive map (a.k.a. "walk around the project") is filled with graphics and drill-down animations for the Transit Center and its surrounding 40-acres.

Transit Center Rendering

Transit Center and City Park? Check. Temporary Transbay Terminal and future Transbay Park? Check. How Folsom Street looks today...

Folsom Street 2010

...and a peek at what Folsom Street is envisioned to become with widened sidewalks, street level retail, and trees, glorious trees? Check.

Folsom Street Future

And so much more.

Transbay Transit Center: Interactive Map [transbaycenter.org] [Videos]
Transbay Transit Center Video: The Director’s Cut With Smooth Tunes [SocketSite]
Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod) [SocketSite]
Temporary Transbay Terminal Cam And Construction Update [SocketSite]
Transbay Park Potential: Post-Temporary Transbay Terminal (Et Al.) [SocketSite]

First Published: January 11, 2010 6:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Hopefully it can happen within the next 15 years.

Posted by: Paul Hwang at January 11, 2010 8:35 AM

At first, the elevated parkway got me recalling my walks on the High Line park in NYC this summer and I got all excited that we could do something as nice here, perhaps even more dramatic.

Then the fuzzy dream clouds broke apart and I saw all the homeless encampments here and there, pools of urine, and battalions of earnest clip-board holders crawling everywhere... "spare a minute to save the children? Planet? Cute baby animals?"

Posted by: Kurt Brown at January 11, 2010 8:37 AM

As I was looking at the images of the park I thought: wow, I wonder how many comments it will take for a commenter to make a crack about the homeless.

Answer: 2.

Well done, folks.

Posted by: anonyman at January 11, 2010 8:43 AM

Sorry sorry. I'm having a bad morning. I really do love my city, and I'm very excited about this project. But I also hate my city sometimes. And Love it. And Hate it. And Love it. * bangs head on desk *

Posted by: Kurt Brown at January 11, 2010 8:46 AM

You don't need to apologize for speaking the truth... especially if it's to make your beloved city that much better. The reality is that we are making a massive public space investment that will be largely unenjoyed by the taxpayers of this city because of our current "tolerate any behavior" policy towards the homeless. What part of that is untrue?

Posted by: mike987 at January 11, 2010 8:58 AM

Let me be split personality here and answer your question: the part that is untrue is in what it omits. There are quite successful public spaces in the city: the Embarcadero is a good example, and even Union Square (well, most of the time). And Hayes Valley is another example of a good turnaround, IMHO.

So we can do it. We just don't always do it. OK, we mostly don't do it. But still. We can. When all the stars align. On Mondays. Every other month. During leap years.

So... uh... yeah.

Posted by: Kurt Brown at January 11, 2010 9:02 AM

Don't get me wrong, I think the the Embarcadero is wonderful but there is still a lot of homeless people and shopping carts scattered along it (especially at the mouth of Market) which, to me, still makes it uninviting. We can do better. Less tolerance can go a long way and quickly. I hope by the time this (transbay) vision is built we as a city have changed our ways when it comes to managing the grit and homeless problems.

Posted by: Spitpalm at January 11, 2010 9:23 AM

there is still a lot of homeless people and shopping carts scattered along it (especially at the mouth of Market

There is a lot of homeless there, really? At the foot of market?

Posted by: anonn at January 11, 2010 9:29 AM

In addition to the examples given above, we've done a very good job when there is another layer of control on top of the usual. For instance, Yerba Buena Park is managed by the Redevelopment Agency through a contract with private agency for maintainance and security (I believe), and is generally a very inviting public place. I believe same is true for the new park at Mission Creek? I would expect something similar for a major project like this.

Posted by: curmudgeon at January 11, 2010 9:29 AM

Although I completely agree with the comments regarding the unnecessary degradation of the public realm by the homeless, we have a number of successful public open spaces. Crissy Field, everything I can think of in the "nice" part of town (Lafayette Park, Alta Plaza, Fort Mason, Presidio, Alyne and other mini-parks, etc). Also, assuming that this ever gets built, I'm certain that the adjacent building owners/Redevelopment Agency will ensure that this park is "secured" in the same manner as Yerba Buena.

Posted by: dr. who at January 11, 2010 10:27 AM

As someone who has lived in the city for over 20 years and in the South Beach area for almost 3, I'm sad to say that I have very little hope that things can improve, even if you build a castle on Folsom.
In the last 4 weeks, I've seen 3 people urinating in the neighborhood and 1 defecating right on the Embarcadero near the lovely sextant sculpture. Until the city officials say "no more," nothing will change.

Posted by: shosh at January 11, 2010 10:38 AM

Did you know that some of the older families call Alta Plaza "Jackson Park"?

Posted by: Conifer at January 11, 2010 10:38 AM

I'd like to second curmudgeon's nods to the Yerba Buena Gardens park. The Embarcadero is patroled (at least the part I walk along ... from the Ferry Building down to about Harrison Street) and kept relatively clear of tents and what not.

The current Transbay Terminal's construction sort of lends itself to be a good shelter for folks without a home .... windowless concrete bunker with arcades on either side providing cover from rains. Unfortunately, a lot of the buildings from days of yore in the Rincon Hill neighborhood are concrete bunkers (data centers's Harrison Street side, Embarcadero Postal Annex, and especially that God awful PG&E building on Folsom at Fremont). I think the design of the new Transit Center (lotsa glass, lotsa active uses all around, and hopefully lotsa activity) will help to deter folks ... and if there is some sort of Community Benefit District set up, I'm sure asking folks to move along as happens in Yerba Buena will be one of their tasks.

As another aside, construction is happening inside The Infinity's retail space along Folsom with an entrance on the Spear Street corner - I assume that's construction of the Boulevard team's restaurant (Prospect?)

Posted by: jamie at January 11, 2010 10:42 AM

RE: Homeless.

Last week we took a friend from Norway on a quick daytrip to Sacramento that included a visit to the state capitol building and the Senate visitor's gallery when the Senate was in session.

Free access, warm, comfortable seating....we all agreed that if the state government was in SF, the Senate and Assembly visitor galleries would be filled with homeless people sleeping it off.

Posted by: redseca2 at January 11, 2010 11:26 AM

SF's problem is that 90% of it's intelligent residents end up leaving the city to live in other parts of the bay area.

A ton of smart people work in the city but have no vote. Sad to say but many votes are from naive idealistic types or relatively uneducated citizenry.

Anyway, I sure hope the new TBT can be kept clean.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2010 11:34 AM

new high-rise condos are generally not purchased by naive, hippy-dippy types. they're mostly working stiffs that want a clean neighborhood for their $600 psf unit.

given the explosion in the number of these units, wouldn't that bode well for some accountability and positive change in the future of SF government?

assuming a. these buildings ever fill up and b. these people bother to vote.

Posted by: steve999 at January 11, 2010 11:44 AM

Jaime - I believe that is Prospect. At least that is the space that had "coming soon" type signs in the windows.

The current terminal is almost perfect for homeless encampments -- right now, there are several tents pitched on the covered sidewalk along Natoma. And the smell of the thing is practically unbearable. But I have to believe the city will be compelled to keep the terminal and surrounding area much cleaner after investing all this money into it. I may be naive, but I really don't expect homelessness to be a problem once it's done.

Posted by: Turin at January 11, 2010 12:37 PM

Let's shoot the homeless.
They are frightening the commuters.

Posted by: Kathleen at January 11, 2010 12:58 PM

I heard the small retail space at the bottom of 338 Spear (D Tower Infintiy) was sold to a small bakery / cafe.

Posted by: Paul Hwang at January 11, 2010 1:17 PM

"Let's shoot the homeless.
They are frightening the commuters."

Come on, Kathleen. The homeless make the city a less appealing place to both reside, work, and visit. Let's not make this about commuters or some sort of weird SF-provincialism where we try to justify negative elements of the city by stating that they are part of an urban environment. No one's talking about going Beijing-(for the Olympics)-style on the homeless here.

If the city keeps subsidizing the homeless, they will continue to stay here. And certain high-traffic parts of this city are well-designed for homeless encampments. We should all work to make this city better.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2010 1:35 PM

Kathleen,
First, I did laugh out loud so thanks for that.

On a serious note, I would suspect that commuters don't care one way or another about the homeless, but they certainly frighten the tourists, and probably just annoy residents.

Posted by: location at January 11, 2010 1:44 PM

Common sense ordinance that would go a long way in making SF safer and cleaner. Require all soup kitchens (Glide, St. Anthony, etc.) to clean up after all messes and excrement after feeding the bums that they attract and serve.

Why is it a dog's owner is fined if caught not picking after their dog.

These organizations that attact the bums must be made to clean up after them, otherwise penalties should be levied.

Makes too much sense, so this would be unilaterally ignored.

Posted by: Ordinance required at January 11, 2010 2:22 PM

So according to the rendering, there will be no more parking meters on Folsom, with lots of empty spaces to boot. Awesome.

Posted by: joh at January 11, 2010 2:26 PM

I wish i wish i wish!!!!

Posted by: Rincon Hill Billy at January 11, 2010 2:32 PM

redseca2 wrote:

We all agreed that if the state government was in SF, the Senate and Assembly visitor galleries would be filled with homeless people sleeping it off.

In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, Sacramento does have homeless encampments of their own. It was even featured on Oprah last year; I suspect it's quite a bit larger than the one you folks are complaining about on Natoma.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at January 11, 2010 2:35 PM

"there is still a lot of homeless people and shopping carts scattered along it (especially at the mouth of Market)"

These are not homeless people, just people that erect tents on weekends to sell their "arts and crafts". They are not homeless ... merely renters :-)

On a serious note, although I'm not a fan of his political scare tactics and views in general, we need a few of the strong-arm tactics that Guiliani used to clean up Times Square to be utilized in this city. However, no mayor elected in S.F. will have the balls for that.

Posted by: huh? at January 11, 2010 3:45 PM

Well said. If only we could elect a mayor in SF that were willing to go "Guiliani" on this city. We could take this unpolished diamond out of the garbage and give it a much needed shine.

I would run, but I don't have the taste for infidelity and the kind of narcissistic personality that is required to be an effective politician.

What a shame.

Posted by: RinconHill_Res at January 11, 2010 4:52 PM

My sense is that it will be closed at night and guarded by day-- much like Yerba Buena Gardens. That should keep it clean.

Posted by: Mark at January 11, 2010 5:05 PM

i think referring to homeless people as "bums" is both derogatory and prevents positive change from happening.

let's focus on eliminating the behavior rather than tarring the individual.

in a city with generous homeless services ($200m+ every year, correct?) that provides food, shelter, toilets, showers, medical and social services, and even a bit of cash to ALL who seek it, there is no reason for the encampments, panhandling, and other public nuisances (urination, defecation, intoxication) that are ruining the quality of life for 95% of the population.

Posted by: stever9 at January 11, 2010 6:22 PM

"referring to homeless people as "bums" is both derogatory and prevents positive change from happening"

Yes, clearly if we called them "employment-challenged," or better yet "differently employed," the homeless would be much more successful at getting jobs and not inhabiting our streets than they are now.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2010 6:26 PM

@anon

Too funny. I agree - I wish SF would figure out a homeless/bum solution like NYC. I can understand when people are down and out, but when they are always homeless and crap in the streets, its a little too much.

My solution - give them nothing, and use that money to ship them to Oakland.

Posted by: Phil at January 11, 2010 6:31 PM

"i think referring to homeless people as "bums" is both derogatory and prevents positive change from happening."

Indeed. Being a proud member of the reality-based community I prefer to use a more accurate term. Schizophrenic meth-addicts.

"in a city with generous homeless services ($200m+ every year, correct?) that provides food, shelter, toilets, showers, medical and social services, and even a bit of cash to ALL who seek it,"

And you see that's the problem. Those things can solve the problem of relatively normal functional people who happen to not have a home.

It can't fix the problem of having schizophrenic meth-addicts roaming your streets.

Posted by: diemos at January 11, 2010 6:33 PM

same anon as at 6:26 here. In all seriousness, I read an interesting article from the New Yorker about how homelessness may be on a power law distribution -- e.g. 80% of homeless typically don't stay homeless for long (sometimes even one or two days), 10% are episodic, and 10% are the chronic folks. It is this 10% that costs society a huge amount -- both for healthcare and for social services. Some of them have mental illness or drug issues, but some of them just want to be homeless (like that woman who has been panhandling with her kid outside Civic Center)

My hunch would be that maybe a larger percentage of people in SF are episodic and chronic than is typical because the homeless are so heavily subsidized and because of the way they are subsidized.

http://gladwell.com/2006/2006_02_13_a_murray.html

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2010 6:40 PM

I see quite a few homeless people in Yerba Buena Gardens. Not bothering people, but hanging out at the east end all day long, certainly. More, in fact, than I notice in the park next Justin Herman Plaza.

I'd lived here all my life until 2002, when I moved to London, only returning in mid-2009. I am in AWE of how much better (yes, better) the homeless situation is then when I left. I have no idea what has been done, but seriously, to me it looks like the noticeably homeless (panhandlers etc.) population must have decreased by more than a third. Certainly, our homeless population is on a par with other cities of similarly temperate climates: LA, Nice, Rome. We all have a problem, and all will always be magnets because it's possible to live relatively comfortably outdoors year round. Personally, I am not bothered by the homeless population (except that I feel a bit sad for anyone who is homeless not by choice, because there but for the grace of God go many of us), but that doesn't mean it can't be further improved. I do see a lot of people here really bitching about the homeless population, and it's the one area of complaining where I've not seen one person suggest a real solution, so I ask...

What *is* the solution for the population of schizophrenic meth-addict type homeless? Once upon a time, California hospitalized them, but when the mental health programs were cut in the 70s, the homeless population state-wide exploded, and 30+ years later, here we are, still with an issue. So how do we fix the problem? (note: shipping them to Oakland does not count as a solution)

Posted by: Scooter at January 11, 2010 8:17 PM

If not Oakland, then ship them to Noe :-)

...or the Central Waterfront.

Posted by: Phil at January 11, 2010 8:23 PM

one solution is guiliani-ism. he's a douche, but his policies improved the quality of life in NYC for both homeless & non-homeless alike.

1. more police & arrests for those creating a public nuisance. don't tolerate peeing/shitting/shooting drugs/illegal camping, panhandling etc.

2. this creates an atmosphere that improves quality of life for residents of the city.

3. this also makes lazing around during the day a less attractive option for homeless folks.. and thus provides an incentive for them to use the rehabilitation & social services the city provides so these folks can get into a more stable life. thus reducing the overall homeless population.

4. strict enforcement of laws would change SF's reputation and act as dis-incentive for would-be homeless people from migrating to SF.

5. sure the hard core addicts and mentally ill would still be a problem, but that's a very small portion of the overall homeless population.

6. do i need to repeat point #1?

Posted by: stand776 at January 11, 2010 9:04 PM

The homeless problem is real, so ship em to the "real" SF. North of California Street.

Please?

Posted by: Delancey at January 11, 2010 10:53 PM

How about carving off some of that $200M a year for city-run in-patient psychiatric & drug treatment facilities? Give the schizo meth-head bums get a shot at treatment before the gloves come off.

Posted by: thefrench at April 29, 2010 8:36 AM

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