The Transit Center District Plan

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As per the class workshop, write your overall assessment of The Transit Center District Plan. Use the questions presented in class for guidance but feel free to expand on them or use a different outline. Make sure to add the name of your group members in the blog text. Your submission shouldn’t exceed 5 pages and not less than 4. Feel free to use other sources to support your argument.

1 thought on “The Transit Center District Plan

  1. Transit Center District Plan
    Seles Tong and Victoria Mitchell

    In the space of the current development at the Transbay Center, also known as the Transit District Plan, has redeveloped the the Transbay Terminal. Founded in 1939 the Transbay Terminal was built for the trains that once crossed the bottom level of the Bay Bridge These trains were thought to replace the ferry ride across the bay. During the 1940’s the terminal would see up to 26 million passengers annually. As a result to the increase in car ownership the train across the Bay Bridge would have its last run in 1958. This led the way to the Transbay Terminal becoming a bus only location This transformation left the terminal and surrounding areas in blight conditions. In the backdrop of the terminal was the double decker Embarcadero Freeway connecting the 101 to the Golden Gate Bridge. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed the freeway, the city of San Francisco decided not to replace it leaving an open area ready for development. Four years prior to earthquake in 1985, a Downtown Plan was created. The 1985 plan further developed the already established 1971 Downtown Plan. The plan from 1985 goal was to create a new downtown with the heart being the transit center.In 2003 California donated land to the project with the intent to improve the transit center and surrounding areas. The Transit Center District Plan also overlaps with the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area adopted in 2005. The combination of these plans were intended to create more life around this area. The Transit Center District Plan was first made available to the public in 2009. Several well attended meetings were held for the public at Golden Gate University. The majority of these meetings exceeded 200 plus members of the public. Public input was welcomed and financial and public benefits were shared with attendees.
    As the San Francisco metropolitan area grows so will the need for transit. The former Transbay terminal failed to meet safety standards. Furthermore, the terminal did not meet the need of growth. In order to change the perception of transit centers from being dark and unfriendly developers wanted a space that was bright and open. This was to encourage residents to patronize the transit center and surrounding areas. The space is being looked at as a way for residents to escape the normal day to day.There will be shopping, gardens, parks and easy access to transportation. Additionally, the creation of retail space would further encourage foot traffic in an otherwise desolate location. Being at the heart of an urban center, developers felt this area is starved for open space. The thought is to improve the commuter’s experience while improving the surrounding neighborhoods. Looking towards the future developer’s anticipate a pedestrian oriented environment with easy access to public transportation. The area is also being used to address San Francisco’s housing needs. There are 4,400 units being added with 1,200 of them being permanently affordable. The center is built around servicing the residents and visitors to the area. The purpose is to link commuters to the heart of downtown by placing Caltrain only blocks away from the Financial District.The project addresses local housing and commuting issues while keeping a global view. The center will not only connect the Bay Area but linking with the airport with the transit center makes it accessible for those near and far.
    The Transit Center District Plan is continuing to be built in the Downtown area. There are advantages and there are also disadvantages.
    According to spur.org, the budget for the entire Transit Center and district are projected at 4.2 billion dollars and 420 million dollars within the budget will be spent on the Transit Center and rail extension. It is good for citizens as job opportunity is going to raise but it may not end up that ideally. In San Francisco, there are many people do not have a practice of paying public transit, no matter the MUNI, buses or Bart. It is easy to see people just get on the buses without paying it. It is obvious that there is a loophole in running public transit in San Francisco. However in this plan, there is no suggestions or proposals on how to reduce the that situation as to ensure the income brought by the fees of the public transit. If we were involved in the project, we would propose to get more support from police to catch the “free-riders” or increase the number of staff to ensure people are paying for it. Otherwise, the investment is hard to come back and make money in the future.
    As the Transit Center District Plan is located between Market Street and Folsom Street, it can definitely attract more tourists as well as citizens to go downtown. With increased accessibility, downtown will become more prosperous. This is good for both San Francisco citizens and the economy. However, there is a lot of homeless living exactly in between Market Street and Folsom Street. There is no proposal saying how to relocate them. From our point of view, the homeless is probably just moving toward to the Union Square as there is also a noticeable amount of homeless living around there. In this case, area around Union Square is becoming more crowded and may discourage tourists to go there, bringing the opposite effect of the plan. If we were involved in the project, we would press the government to face and solve the problem of homeless when we bring out this project.
    According to spur.org, there will be 2700 units of housing provided after the Transit Center District Plan is finished. 33% of them are said to be affordable which should be attractive to citizens to move into Downtown. However, the whole Transit Center District Plan is just covered from Market Street to Folsom Street. It will still be crowded around the whole downtown area. Traffic, the amount of tourists and the potential inflation might also be the push factors to keep people living away from downtown or moving away downtown. In this case, one of the advantages of the Transit Center District Plan will be gone.
    According to the tipa.org, the redevelopment of the area between Market Street and Folsom Street will bring out safe and convenient bicycle lanes. It can attract more people to drive less or take less public transportation and it may also be a tourist spot like Denmark, bicycling around the city became one of the must-do-thing for tourists. However, with the high population density in the city of San Francisco, there are a lot of motor vehicles and there are also a lot of buses running through the city. It seems like hard to run a destiny of the bicycle lanes.
    Personally we would not build this center so massively. One, it is geared towards businesses in the area and shapes life around it. Although housing issues are addressed in the project the housing seems to only be being built to accommodate the expansion of business in retail in the area. Secondly, this idea is geared towards those who are economically able to access these services. If the neighborhood becomes “high end” due to this new development how will those with lower income get to their jobs in the same neighborhood? It appears that they would have to find other means of access which could result in them having a longer commute. These funds could have been used to build low income homes in the neighborhoods where low income families choose to be. The project makes it appears as if the developers cared about low income housing when in fact they are just meeting their social obligations. San Francisco has ordinances in place that guarantee so many units are blocked off for low income situations. Giving the perplexity of commuting in the Bay Area we would develop a new transit center. We would make sure that the center was not just for those clocking in hours at the latest start up or making their way to the brand new Salesforce building. The center would be a hub for all economic backgrounds to enjoy. Some of the monies used would have gone to alleviate the anticipated homeless issue once the terminal is completed. Right now, like most of San Francisco, the Transit Center District Plan area is riddled with homelessness. Part of these funds should have been allocated to helping those who are seeking homes or employment. Many of our homeless suffer from mental illnesses and programs that support this need could also assist in alleviating some of the homelessness in the transit development site.

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