Having already fallen a couple months behind schedule as of earlier this year, the forecasted timing to reach the “substantial completion” of construction for San Francisco’s $2.3 billion Transbay Transit Center building and rooftop park (a.k.a. the Salesforce Transit Center and Park) has slipped anew and is now threatening its expected opening in March of next year.

While construction of the Transit Center building itself was originally expected to be substantially complete at the end of this year, the latest forecast to reach substantial completion is now the middle of March 2018. And the expected completion date for the transit center’s rooftop park has slipped from early February to March 26 at the earliest.

While the completion of the transit center’s bus storage facility isn’t necessary in order to begin daily operations, the storage facility’s substantial completion date has slipped from September 2017 to June of 2018 as well.

And of course, the latest timing, which is to be presented to the Transbay Transit Center’s Cost Review Committee in a special session later this week, and $2.3 billion budget are for the first phase of the transit center only (which doesn’t include any train service or downtown extension of the rail lines).

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    Patience, patience: what’s 51 years vs. 50 when you end up with this?

  2. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Uh huh. After the Loma Prieta earthquake the eastern span of the Bay Bridge replacement was originally scheduled to open in 2007, but the actual opening was in September of 2013. Construction estimating, in this country at least for public projects, is a black art akin to Hoodoo. And we don’t even need to get started discussing costs.

    • Posted by Futurist

      It’s called ESTIMATING for a reason. What’s with all the impatience?

  3. Posted by Tim E

    I don’t consider Transbay complete until Caltrains electrified commuter trains roll into Transbay and dramatically increase its use.

    Talk about one of the most expensive bus barns known to transit. I would say LA’s Union station is far better with its 110,000 daily users as per Wikipedia and a commitment by LA to bring as many trains, subways, etc. into the mix. Its gets sadder if you start talking Transbay vs. Chicago Union and any number of Northeast train stations. I don’t know the numbers but assume with bus only you might get 10,000 to 15,000 daily users at best?? or is that an optimistic guess?

    • Posted by BTinSF

      CalTrain claims 62,000 average weekday boardings, not all of whom arrive in or depart from San Francisco. Subtracting a generous 60,000 Caltrain passengers from 110,000 users leaves 50,000 doing what if not riding the bus? Or do you think just having Caltrain at 1st and Mission vs 4th and Townsend will increase ridership by 50%?

      • Posted by ijustworkhere

        Much less than half of those riders would use that stop. When I lived on the Peninsula I used caltrain almost every day and only rarely took it all the way up to SF.

        • Posted by ijustworkhere

          From here, it says ridership using the 4th and King stop is 15,220 (Table 3, Page 7)

          • Posted by Mark

            So, what’s your point? Accept it as is and not have a train station downtown? You happy with a $2.3B bus station? I’m not. That money could have been better spent elsewhere.

        • Posted by ijustworkhere

          Now, I think this 110,000 # is pure B.S. SFMTA has 700,000, and it’s a point to point system. I can’t believe even 10% would want to go to a stop south of market. Unless they start routing all the buses there and force people to transfer at that station just to boost the #s, you probably will see 10% of the estimated users.

          • Posted by S

            Transbay is the terminus for several regional bus lines. Most people who use it are traveling into SF rather than leaving it.

      • Posted by Mark

        110,000 is for LA. And yes, LA is doing a far better job of transit investment, especially at Union Station where commuter rail, bus, light rail and heavy rail all converge. SF gets a very expensive bus station and, regardless of the exact numbers, you still have thousands of daily Caltrain riders stuck at 4th/King waiting for Muni connections to downtown/FiDi and many others making additional connections to BART.

        • Posted by Tim E

          Thanks Mark, Sums up my point that without at least Caltrains transbay is not close to being a transit hub or considered a meaningful one to the region.

          I guess I shouldn’t have thrown out numbers but I do believe the difference what LA has accomplished in around Union station is impressive and even more so if you look at what Transbay doesn’t accomplish.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Caltrain’s current electrification project will nearly double capacity. While it will take a while for demand to catch up to the new capacity it is fair to say that there is latent demand waiting for the upgrade. Many express trains are now standing room only as they leave the first station.

        In addition to that seat-limited latent demand, it is predicted that having a stop in the transbay location will attract yet another set of riders because of the dense job concentration around the transbay.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Exactly. Now that we’re (finally) getting electrification, it’s time to work on extending Caltrans. Whether or not HSR happens, it would be such a boon.

    • Posted by stevenj

      Union Station, Chicago Union and Northeast train stations have been up and running for decades. The advantage Union Station has over the TT is that when originally built there was plenty of room to spare for more platforms and all at ground level. The Transbay Terminal is being squeezed into an already dense urban site. And, it is being built for future generations of commuters. Bus lines from 3 counties terminate there. If and when HSR comes in and with Caltrain it’s within one block of 10 BART and Muni subway lines and connections to a dozen Muni bus lines on Market and Mission. Electrification of CalTrain is happening. A city of 4 million people in a region with 12 million+ deserve a thriving public transit network. For a city with not quite a million in a region with 7 million+ I think the TT is quite impressive and will be able to grow.

  4. Posted by Curious

    Dude, when you’re pumping enough groundwater out to make the towers next to you tip over, it takes a while.

    • Posted by Tim E

      Construction is a minor issue. The challenge is funding, planning and execution. I believe between those two respective metro areas they have passed bond and taxes to raise some $60 and $120 billion to build out transportation & transit over the next several decades. Might be mistaken on Seattle’s numbers where as the last election got roughly $10 billion passed in Santa Clara & BART where as Contra Costa voted transportation tax down. You might see a Marin Transportation tax that if passed might get SMART to Larkspur Ferry Terminal as well as the Toll Increase that would help get BART into downtown SJ on the 2018 ballot but that is still a big if. Bay Area is way behind in transportation planning & even farther behind in funding.

      • Posted by PRE

        SMART already has funds to complete extension to Larkspur. I think any additional funds from toll increase would go towards the extension to Cloverdale.

        • Posted by Tim E

          Thanks, didn’t realize and recently saw an article noting that a contract to build to Larkspur was awarded in late June

  5. Posted by Sonofsoma

    Re: “Transbay Terminal”…
    With electrified Caltrain commuter trains, we will have a ‘Terminal’. Add BART and a second tube, we will have ‘Transbay’. Until then..we have ourselves a white elephant.

    • Posted by Sean

      I guess the 40+ Transbay bus routes don’t count?

      • Posted by Notcom

        I think the question is whether the riders of these (short haul/commuter) routes needed all this money spent. Perhaps you’re too young to remember back to the 70 and 80’s when weekly “March(es) on Market” paralyzed the city as thousands of AC riders stormed the streets demanding a new terminal; well, I WAS around, and I don’t remember them either since they never happened…I don’t think there was ever really any complaint with the old terminal except that it wasn’t maintained properly.

        • Posted by stevenj

          It was damaged in the 89 quake and would’ve cost a fortune to retrofit.

      • Posted by Mark

        Then call it a bus station. A grossly overbudget bus station. The city sold us a multi-modal transit center when at the end of the day we got a bus station. That’s the issue.

  6. Posted by Mark F.

    Nice bus station. The only time I’ll ever use it will be occasionally taking a late night bus back to Berkeley. And then, only if I can’t get a cheap Lyft ride.

  7. Posted by Mark F.

    I’ll predict the Caltrain line for 2030, High Speed Rail for never.

  8. Posted by Jon

    Replacing the transbay terminal was an excuse to increase surrounding height limits.

    The surrounding lots have now been built/broken ground/entitled. All political impetus to make this station a true multi-provider/multi-platform regional transit hub is now gone.

    In other words, Caltrain will not reach 1st and mission in our lifetimes, especially after the 4th street muni line opens up.

    • Posted by Chuck

      Not true. While there may be no further real estate play in the transbay district, extending the line will increase the value of every other station along the line dramatically, instigating upzoning in each case. So there is likely to be some residual political will.

      HSR would also drive additional traffic through the station, so additional impetus for property owner / chamber of commerce to get behind it. I say a decent chance it gets built. A project only needs one vote to move forward, and stopping it is much harder. HSR and tunnel connection will both be completed.

      In network infrastructure, any investment tends to benefit the whole system, so you can’t just look at the local situation.

    • Posted by Mark

      One of the main reasons for the DTX is to eliminate the Muni transfer, be it at 4th/King for the N or the T. It’s like the blue/expo lines not going to Union Station in LA, requiring people to transfer to the red line. However, LA seems to have its act together and the Regional Connector will open in 2021 allowing a one seat ride to Union Station on these lines. Meanwhile, in SF we wait…and wait…and wait. Funds are diverted. Heck, even the track alignment hasn’t been decided.

  9. Posted by Trouble Maker

    Take your time. As long as the tower won’t be sinking and tilting, and the suspension ramp won’t have bolts falling apart.

  10. Posted by Del Pizzuto

    I moved out of s.f. In 90, got off the bus at the old transnational station and walked to work at 5th and Folsom, why all the crying about walking a few blocks? Just too lazy!

  11. Posted by jamesjr

    It’s the most beautiful and expensive homeless shelter in the world, with buses running through it to bring a continuous stream of occupants. What’s the problem?

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