When Will the S.F. Transit Center Reopen? It Will Be Weeks Before We Have a Date

: kqed – excerpt

Transbay Transit Center officials said Tuesday it will be weeks before they can offer an estimate about when the facility — shut down for a month after workers discovered fractures in steel beams — will reopen.

Mark Zabaneh, chief of the agency that oversaw the $2.2 billion center’s construction, told a meeting of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board that resumption of service hinges on the results of tests trying to determine why two beams in the structure cracked…

Zabaneh offered no new details about the cracked beams, but acknowledged that the project’s multi-tiered inspection process had failed…

Peskin said in an interview Wednesday the review is necessary because of a long string of problems involving the transit center. He noted that the transit center is about $800 million over budget, was finished more than a year behind schedule and that the joint powers agency is now the target of a $150 million lawsuit filed by the project’s principal contractor.

Those problems and others, including the Sept. 25 discovery of cracked beams in the sprawling structure, raise doubts about the TJPA’s competence and its ability to handle the downtown rail extension.

“The organization that developed the Transbay Terminal is out of its depth, out of its league and needs a new governance structure,” Peskin said. “I think it’s time to rethink this to make sure we have an organization that can actually deliver a remarkably complex project.”… (more)

This has to be one of the most concise descriptions of the problems leading up to the decision to cut the chord of the money train for JTPA.

City withholds Salesforce Transit Center funding as allegations of mismanagement mount

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco city officials are withholding $9.6 million meant to fund expansion planning for the Salesforce Transit Center, in a bid to hold its leadership accountable for alleged mismanagement of the $2.2 billion project.

The move to delay the funding Tuesday came the same day as a lawsuit filed by a major contractor, and amid new revelations that the transit center may lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue due to its closure following the discovery of two cracked beams holding up its rooftop park in late September…

“We are taking a little ‘time out,’” Peskin told the Examiner Tuesday. … (more)

My mind is boggled. I can hardly think. Someone is finally questioning the rush to prop up failing projects with more tax dollars. TIME OUT is the right move. We need a chart to follow the action with these fast-paced legal maneuvers coming from all directions.

TJPA just got a strong wave of descent rippling through their regional quarters as the change order system is turned off. If a few hundred buses rattling though the center are going to crack beams, imagine what the vibrations of fast moving trains will do. And has anyone considered how much weight will rain add to the rooftop garden? We might find out next week.

At least we know who is NOT to blame. The motor vehicle drivers and the taxpaying public, unless you blame them for passing the legislation that funded this regional monster ie: passing regional tax and the bridge toll bills. How many new “world class” exhibits in bad designs can any city handle in a decade?

 

 

SF’s damaged transit center closed for weeks — park could reopen sooner

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Buses won’t return to the damaged Transbay Transit Center until its broken girders are repaired — a process that could take at least several weeks. The rooftop park, however, could reopen sooner, officials said Tuesday.

At a special meeting of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Executive Director Mark Zabaneh said the agency should know by Nov. 1 what caused two large support beams to crack

But resuming bus service will have to wait until the permanent fix is completed, Zabaneh said. While the temporary bracing could support the weight of people on the park plus buses on the deck, he said, Transbay officials prefer to be cautious.

Construction crews will also be on the bus deck working, which would make it difficult, and possibly dangerous, for drivers… (more)

SFMTA already specializes in creating gridlock in the “East Cut”. What we really needs is an expensive park with no view to draw in the tourists. I think I’ll pass on the offer. Maybe they should turn it into a fake earthquake experience ride to prepare us for the real one. Sell t-shirts that say, “I survived the Transbay Terminal.” or “I Rode the Trasnbay Wave”.  Make it a teaching moment.

RELATED:

Responsibility for Salesforce Transit Center fix remains an open question

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Just who will pay to fix cracked steel beams at the Salesforce Transit Center is still an open question, but the cost won’t be covered by a contingency fund set aside for construction errors and fixes, officials said at a City Hall meeting Tuesday.

Dennis Turchon, senior construction manager at the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said at an authority meeting Tuesday that determining who is financially responsible for the needed fixes will have to wait until a cause is determined.

“The focus,” Tuchon is first and foremost on fixing the transit center, he told reporters… (more)

On the rail:

By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Forces are massing on both sides of Mayor Ed Lee’s study into tearing down the stub end of Interstate 280 and rerouting Caltrain through Mission Bay, with a coalition of civic and transportation activists gearing up to fight the effort.

The mayor’s office is looking into several underground routes through which high-speed trains would eventually travel downtown, including some that would mean tearing down I-280 at Mariposa Street and replacing it with a street-level boulevard.

One route calls for underground tracks and a rail station between the Warriors’ planned Mission Bay arena and AT&T Park.

But the newly formed Coalition to Complete the Downtown Caltrain Extension says any alternative to the current plan for a rail tunnel from Fourth and King streets to the new downtown Transbay Transit Center would be “ill-conceived.”

“This is the most important regional transit project in the Bay Area that has been environmentally cleared and locally, regionally and federally approved,” said coalition spokesman Bob Feinbaum. The group’s members include Save Muni, the Sierra Club, San Francisco Tomorrow and the Mission Bay Alliance, the group opposing the Warriors’ planned arena.

“This project is ready to go, and we are calling for no more delays,” Feinbaum said.

Changing the planned route would probably cost billions of dollars, but Lee figures the payoff of a new neighborhood on land now taken up by the freeway and the rail yard near Fourth and King would be just as big.

The bell rings on round one Tuesday at 6 p.m., when city representatives are scheduled to update the public on their plans at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center… (more)

RELATED:
Rail Capacity Strategy.

Rail%20Capacity%20map-3_0

Long-term rail proposals will require more complex funding plans. These investments would not be cheap. They’re projected to total $17 billion over 30 years. (The near-term investments are being considered for funding as part of the next five-year Capital Improvement Program for fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2021.)

This idea that 95% of the city needs to be connected by rail is absurd and would be prohibitively expensive. Where does this come from?

 

Transbay Transit Center’s finance boss lives in Colorado

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

For the past 2½ years, the chief financial officer for the Transbay Transit Center — one of the biggest and most financially troubled public building projects in the region — has been working from her home in Colorado and flying to and from San Francisco for meetings on the public dime… (more)

No wonder they broke. You would think they could hire some local talent for the job.

How Transbay Transit Center deal’s collapse would alter S.F.

By John Coté and J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco could be left with a very expensive bus station or a new skyline minus a few towers depending on how threatened lawsuits over the city’s plan to fund a new downtown transit hub billed as the “Grand Central station of the West” play out.

The plan was thrown into flux Tuesday, when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of a community benefit district with a tax structure opposed by a number of developers, some with projects already under construction.

The most damaging impact of any lawsuit — two or three are being considered — is expected to be to the $2.6billion plan to extend the rail tracks from the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets to the new $1.9billion Transbay Transit Center under construction along Mission Street.

“What’s really threatened is not Transbay, it’s the Caltrain extension,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the urban think tank SPUR. “There is no point to having built the Transbay terminal if we don’t get Caltrain there. … The good news, if you could call it that, is that there is still time to work it out.”…

The special tax zone, known as a Mello-Roos district, was conceived during the economic boom of 2006 and 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the city proposed a tax rate for the district: 0.55 percent of assessed value, or, at the time $3.33 per square foot….  (more)

Transbay project in $300 million hole

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center, the so-called Grand Central station of the West that’s now just a deep hole in the ground, will cost $300 million more than anticipated, Bay Area transportation officials were told Wednesday.
And that financial hole could grow deeper, cautioned Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area transportation planning and financing agency.
“We may not have seen the end of it,” he said. “This is a very costly project.”…

Funding elusive
To cover the hefty cost increase, Heminger said, the authority will use some of the money that had been dedicated to the second phase of the project – the downtown extension that would carry trains from Fourth and King streets to the Transbay center. That portion of the project had never been fully funded, and is a key Bay Area project competing for major federal funding. But the soaring cost of the first phase means it will be an even bigger challenge to find the funding to lay rails to the new transit center… (more)

San Francisco is the city that knows how to spend.
Now it needs to figure out how to pay.

Getting our Money’s Worth: Using Value Capture to Fund Transit

wbez.org – excerpt

Even as the economy struggles, our growing regional population is demanding smarter investments to expand and improve transit. Given the scarcity of available public funds, governments are beginning to tap innovative financing tools such as variable parking pricing, public–private partnerships, and value capture around bus and rail stations. Because transportation networks and land values are closely linked, public investments in transportation infrastructure can increase the value of land surrounding these investments, benefiting landowners, developers and governments. This roundtable will explore how value capture and other innovative financing tools can generate revenue to finance transportation operations and future expansion, such as Bus Rapid Transit and upgrades…

Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) and member of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors, will describe how San Francisco is layering several financing tools, including tax increment financing, a special assessment, development impact fees, and a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, to build the new Transbay Transit Center. The new station will coordinate the Bay Area’s numerous transit systems, increase capacity and accessibility, and create one of the most transportation-rich-neighborhoods in the region. Gabriel will also discuss other innovative financing for transit used in San Francisco including sharing parking meter revenues and the Transit Impact Development Fee…

(more)

SFMTA continues to pay for new logos, PR, chest-puffing and spin while they cut Muni service.