It’s a bold idea, discussed for years behind closed doors and recently announced in a strangely understated and pro-growth way: Tear down the last mile of Interstate 280 and replace it with an wide boulevard – reminiscent of the removal of the Central and Embarcadero freeways – in order to facilitate the extension of electrified Caltrain and high-speed rail tracks into the Transbay Terminal…
State plans to facilitate more trains by further isolating Mission Bay led to the proposal to tear down I-280 at 16th Street.
It’s a bold idea, discussed for years behind closed doors and recently announced in a strangely understated and pro-growth way: Tear down the last mile of Interstate 280 and replace it with an wide boulevard – reminiscent of the removal of the Central and Embarcadero freeways – in order to facilitate the extension of electrified Caltrain and high-speed rail tracks into the Transbay Terminal.
For almost three years, city planners have been discussing the idea and drawing up closely guarded plans to tear down the freeway, discussions sparked by the state’s Environmental Impact Reports on electrifying the Caltrain tracks and bringing high-speed trains into town. With an increasing number of trains traveling those tracks, access to the rapidly growing Mission Bay area from the west on 16th Street would turn into a traffic nightmare, either with long waits for an at-grade train crossing or the creation of ugly and uninviting underpasses for cars and bikes….
So a staff-level proposal to solve a transportation challenge with an elegant multi-modal solution that follows in the city’s tradition of tearing down freeways has morphed into a real estate deal. Quentin Kopp, the father of high-speed rail in California, has already derided the Transbay Terminal project (which is funded by the sale of state land surrounding the site to office tower developers) as little more than a real estate deal, and now the city is apparently seeking to extend that deal further into Mission Bay…. (more)
Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross :Chronicle Columnists – excerpt
Mayor Ed Lee is floating the idea of tearing down the stub end of Interstate 280 in San Francisco in hopes of creating a new neighborhood and speeding up the arrival of high-speed rail service downtown.
The idea, laid out by the mayor’s chief transit planner, Gillian Gillett, in a memo to the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission, would be to knock down I-280 before 16th Street – eliminating the ramps both at Sixth and Brannan streets and at Fourth and King streets. It would be replaced by a street-level boulevard akin to those built after the Embarcadero and Central freeways were knocked down.
The plan also calls for clearing out the adjacent rail yard to make way for a high-speed rail…
“The mayor is a big proponent of high-speed rail,” said Lee’s spokeswoman, Christine Falvey. “And the mayor is interested in looking at that concept if it can bring high-speed rail to San Francisco faster, better and cheaper.”
She added, “It could be a big boon to the city if we develop a neighborhood in the process.“… (more)
She must mean, tear down the Potrero Hill neighborhood and replace it with new higher buildings. What is faster, better, and cheaper about tearing down an existing freeway and rebuilding it as a surface road?