The 1937 Bay Bridge and the 1939 Transbay Terminal were both built to accommodate transbay traffic - one carried private motor vehicles, the other serviced public, electric transit vehicles in the form of streetcars and interurban trains. While the new terminal will not likely see the same traffic it did at the end of World War II when ten car trains arrived every 63.5 seconds, according to the Transit Center's history webpage, it has nevertheless been dubbed the "Grand Central Station of the West coast" by the dignitaries gathered to celebrate the ceremonial concrete pouring on September 5th, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, writes J.K. Dineen.
Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan said workers have come a long way since August 2010 when the project broke ground. The old terminal has been knocked down, with 100 percent of its materials recycled, she said.
The project, designed to be the terminal for both California's embattled High Speed Rail project and the 150-year San Jose to San Francisco commuter line known as Caltrain, as well as many regional bus lines including AC Transit's Transbay routes, will be the centerpiece of a new, 145-acre "transit center district".
The plan for the transit district around the transportation depot includes 4,500 housing units, 30 percent of them affordable, as well as 6 million square feet of office space.
KTVU writes that "[t]he fear is a repeat of the Bay Bridge experience ["California's most expensive public works project in history", wrote Contra Costa Time's Lisa Vorderbrueggen, that opened to traffic on September 02] which found that massive project billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule...Planners revealed in July the project was $300 million over estimate". However, unlike the eastern span, it is on schedule. Barring any delays, it will open for business in four years.
Neither the high speed rail nor Caltrain are expected to reach the terminal by then, so this Grand Central will operate more as a Port Authority Bus Terminal until either of those train lines make it there.