The day has finally arrived. The Transbay Terminal — in operation since January 15, 1939, first as a rail hub, and then as a bus station since 1959 — will close permanently tonight, in preparation for its upcoming demolition. The Terminal will close shortly after midnight, following a few final AC Transit runs. After several decades of transit service, the very last run from the Terminal will be the O line, scheduled for 12:15 a.m. For the next seven or so years, the extensive suite of regional and Muni bus operations that have served Transbay will be relocated to tighter quarters at the Temporary Terminal, which is located in the block bounded by Howard, Main, Folsom, and Beale streets. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the new layout of bus stops.
You could call the Transbay Terminal dirty, dingy, dismal, dreary, decaying, decrepit, dilapidated — and you’d be right, as this utilitarian Timothy Pflueger structure has not aged gracefully, nor has it been maintained properly. Still, it’s a part of the Bay Area’s history, and the Terminal, with its elevated loops hovering above downtown, remain the most visible reminder of a day in the not-too-distant past when rail operated on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. But rail has been banished from the Bay Bridge since 1958, and a more appropriate structure to replace the Transbay Terminal is overdue. It will be exciting to see a new multimodal transit hub rise on this site over the next several years. Eventually, the Transbay Transit Center and the nearby high-rise neighborhood will transform what is now a littered, shadowed corner of downtown into a vibrant focal point, while providing downtown San Francisco with new, well-designed public spaces.
I had been hoping to post some new relevant content here on the blog before the August 7 closure date. But this summer has been especially hectic for me — hence the long lapses in posting — and the opportunity slipped by. All in due course; for now, I leave you with this photo slideshow of the Transbay Terminal and its immediate surroundings.