13 June 2009

Future Transbay?

Could this be the future look of the Transbay Transit Center?

Sadly, no. It is a photograph of the underground level of Berlin's main railway station, opened in 2006 (photo by Ephemeron1). This is a state-of-the-art station that handles 1,800 trains per day. Note the following salient features:
  • Airy, open feeling
  • Escalators are not blocked by six-foot concrete columns
  • Departing passengers can readily see their destination (the trains)
  • Arriving passengers can readily see the path out of the station
  • Trains are an integral part of an architecturally finished space
Unfortunately, San Francisco's TTC will feature an underground mezzanine level, an oppressive underground waiting space not unlike Penn Station in New York City. Passengers will navigate through vestibule doors to escalators hidden behind six-foot concrete columns, with no view of the trains, arriving on the platform squarely in front of another six-foot concrete column. The platform level will be a semi-finished, non air-conditioned space... in other words, a basement.

How visionary.

UPDATE 6/14/2009 - great material showing up in the comments section. First, Richard Mlynarik takes the TTC architectural blueprints and whips up some 3D renderings of what the oppressive underground environment will actually look like:

Mezzanine LevelCenter PlatformSide Platform

Architectural design values are often rooted in cultural habits, developed over many decades. When it's time to do something differently, we Americans can't-- and commenter arcady puts his finger on why:
There's a big difference in philosophy between European and American station design. In Europe, the trains are within the overall architectural space defined by the station, in the grandest examples a big steel and glass arch covering the tracks and platforms. In America, the station is separate and distinct from the tracks, which are off to the side in what is basically a train yard. In Europe, passengers wait on the platform, and it's not unusual to see, say, a coffee shop right on the platform. In America, probably because of the tradition of low platforms and train-yard style stations, trains and passengers are kept separate until it's actually time for boarding, at which point the passengers go out of the station and to the train, oftentimes walking directly across other tracks. Hence, in even the grandest of US stations (Grand Central for example), the track area is generally ugly and utilitarian.
Excellent socio-architectural analysis. Can we break out of the mold?


  1. Michael Kiesling13 June, 2009 11:24

    May I suggest anyone who wants to learn more about the station in Berlin go to:


    Top of the left column is Berlin Haputbahnhof and a link to over 150 photo galleries documenting its construction by Mr Kunkle.

    You'll eventually note that the underground portion of the station was excavated from a flooded hole, the office building that span the site were dropped into place like a drawbridge, and overall it's quite beautiful.

    This shows what can be done. This also should explain some people's frustration with what has happened with the Transbay Terminal.

  2. Does San Francisco even need air conditioning?

  3. non air-conditioned space

    That depends on what you consider air conditioning. I'm sure they are going to have some sort of ventilation system.

    Does San Francisco even need air conditioning?

    Three stories down where the trains are dumping heat onto the platforms.. probably.

    a basement

    that's where the trains usually are when they are underground. :-)

    They don't have to wedge it under the bus station. They could put it across the street. Build a light airy superstructure ... oh I dunno based on the baths of Caracalla... 10, 12 tracks so the have someplace to put the commuter trains from the East Bay and North Bay and the regionals from Sacramento and Stockton.

  4. @Alon: ostensibly yes, since the TJPA's plans include enclosed vestibules at the top of each platform escalator to segregate the air-conditioned mezzanine from non-conditioned platforms. The inspiration for this seems to have been, once again, Penn Station.

    I share your doubt-- temperature swings in SF are already far less than those experienced in NY, and a fully-enclosed underground space further dampens them.

  5. We're having our problems and disagreements in Denver, but reading your blog really puts those into perspective.

  6. Shame that they would pick Penn Station as a model. It kind of sucks overall, especially the muggy, dark train level

  7. There's a big difference in philosophy between European and American station design. In Europe, the trains are within the overall architectural space defined by the station, in the grandest examples a big steel and glass arch covering the tracks and platforms. In America, the station is separate and distinct from the tracks, which are off to the side in what is basically a train yard. In Europe, passengers wait on the platform, and it's not unusual to see, say, a coffee shop right on the platform. In America, probably because of the tradition of low platforms and train-yard style stations, trains and passengers are kept separate until it's actually time for boarding, at which point the passengers go out of the station and to the train, oftentimes walking directly across other tracks. Hence, in even the grandest of US stations (Grand Central for example), the track area is generally ugly and utilitarian.

    In my opinion, the European model is right, and the American model is wrong for any high volume rail system, and Transbay needs to be built the European way, with trains right in the main architectural space. Especially since the trains will be electric, there's no reason to keep them architecturally separated from passengers. And incidentally, this has nothing to do with "english-speaking" or not: the UK, Australia, and Japan with their high platforms tend to follow the European model even more than other European countries like France do.

  8. I wasted time very roughly modelling the simply gorgeous, World-wide Architectural Competition Winning, Professionally Conceived, Professionally Designed, No Expense Spared TJPA Pelli-Clark-Pelli Transbay Terminal.

    The stunningly envisioned underground level features, in addition to 4 foot diameter columns every 42.5 feet, the truly classy touch of ceilings dropped down to 10.5' above platform level.

    Wide open platforms just make people lonely and nervous, so we've helpfully filled them with cheerful red enclosed fire stairs, lots and lots of soothingly rhythmical columns, and rakishly off-centre positioned single-bank escalators.

    Here are a couple platform level views: side platform, centre platform.

    I blocked out the extremely important World Class underground mezzanine level -- this view is from an analogous position to the Berlin Hbf underground level photo Clem showed: the viewpoint is from an underground mezzanine, about a quarter of the way down the platform, standing above the edge of a platform. Spot the trains! (The yellowish curved wall to the right blocks out what supposed to be retail in the TJPA architectural masterwork -- this sort of thing usually ends up being photoshopped in.)

    It's quite clear we're dealing with Award Winning World Class passenger facility design.

    (Fun fact to know: there are only 8 escalators total from underground mezzanine level to ground level in the entire building, and only TWO access points in four city blocks. I guess the theory is that people are going to love the troglodytic retail so much that they'll never leave, or that everbody will transfer directly from trains to the snazzy underground Greyhound bus station. Another fun fact: no elevators from platform level to street level. Nobody should miss out on the fun of the Mezzanine Experience!)

    PS here are couple shots of Madrid Atocha's commuter train side. Somebody forgot the vital full plate mezzanine level here also.

  9. If Richard's models are accurate, that's awful. It's a basement, it's going to be dark and claustrophobic, and while that kind of design may be all right for the subterranean platforms at 4th/King, it's hardly fitting for the grand new station of San Francisco.

  10. The underground ceilings of the Berlin station were supposed to look like arched vaults. Instead, that design was deemed too costly and was replaced, behind the architect's back, with what you see on Ephemeron1's photograph. It's commonly derided as the 'ceiling of an community indoor swimming pool'. Turns out, the 'swimming pool ceiling' cost about as much as the much more aesthetically pleasing initial design. Add to that the almost comical story of the shortening to 2/3 of the upper glass roof: the upper platforms were not completely covered because of time constraints. Replanning the shorter roof took just as much time as building the whole thing.

    FUBAR everywhere, even when some money, political will and technical expertise is involved. What happens when there is (as Richard suggests) a deficiency of the above-named?

    People are generally satisfied (functionally) with the Berlin station, if you exclude the lack of a North-South S-Bahn and a good subway connection. It's still a spectacular building and train station. But when you think about what could have been...

  11. @arcady, Richard, I hope you don't mind, but I took your comments and featured them more prominently.

    @mmirv: Interesting background-- but even a "botched" European station is light years ahead of the best design we seem to be able to come up with in the US. Berliners don't have nearly as much to be upset about as San Franciscans soon will...

  12. If you wanna look at the whole thing, here's a nice cutaway view. The structural requirements of having the Transbay bus terminal above the trainbox messes up the whole aesthetics of everything beneath. Berlin had some similar problems (though probably not equally massive(?)) with six elevated east-west tracks crossing the underground north-south trainbox. As you can see on the photographs, they were solved with some unconventional engineering (look at the steel columns).

    Could that engineering be applied to Transbay? In an ideal world (Adirondacker), the bus terminal and train station wouldn't be stacked on top of each other and the problem wouldn't exist. In a less ideal world, the efforts would be made (if possible) and money would be spent to make the train station (not just the bus station) more airy and welcoming. In the real world (this one) the design will probably not be substantially modified.

    Richard's renderings remind me of the disaster station Châtelet Les Halles. An unnecessarily depressing and confusing place.

  13. Mirv, they are gonna wedge 6 tracks under the bus station. Then 5 years later, when traffic is at a standstill on the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges they are going to look for a place to put more trains. Just like they slap themselves on the forehead about Millennium Tower today they are going to be banging their heads on their desks over the 70 story office building on Main and Folsom.

    I wandered SF GIS information yesterday. ( it's um um basic ) It appears there is an office building, a condo and what I think is a hotel in the blocks south of Mission between Main and Beale. The rest seems to be parking lots.

    They could build a very nice station. One that has capacity for the passengers from Cloverdale, Calistoga, Sacramento, Stockton and San Jose via the East Bay.

    A tunnel from 4th has two 45 degree turns instead of two 90 degree turns. Plenty of space for the throat. Probably lots more expensive but you get what you pay for.

    I suspect what they will get is a dank cramped train terminal under the bus terminal. Another set of BART tracks under Mission. No service to places like Santa Rosa or Davis.... I suppose those people could take the bus... that gets stuck in traffic in Marin or the East Bay.

  14. A passenger train station is the interface between pedestrians and trains, and its main functional requirement is to ensure that pedestrians can get to and from the trains in the numbers forecast by the demand model. To design a train station properly, you need to know both the train traffic (amount, types of trains, service patterns) and the passengers going to and from the trains (how full will the trains be? Where are the passengers' next destinations after the station? How long will they plan to wait at the station?). And really, we have to figure out why we're building the station in the first place and who will benefit from it the most.

    I believe that the main benefit of the Transbay Terminal will be for Caltrain and its commuters and regional travellers rather than HSR and long-distance travellers. The huge advantage of Transbay's location is that it's within fairly easy walking distance of most of the CBD (Financial District), which is by far the Bay Area's biggest concentration of places of employment. This means that a much larger number of SF-bound commuters will be able to get straight from the train to work, without any intervening transportation, which ought to significantly increase Caltrain's market share. On the other hand, HSR doesn't benefit quite as much. The regional connections at Transbay are only somewhat better than at 4th/King and Millbrae, and the transfer penalty is much lower for long distance trips. You get to the airport 2 hours in advance for a flight to Hong Kong, Caltrain riders get to the station 10 or 15 minutes early, and for most urban bus routes you just turn up and go without even a glance at the schedule. Thus, commuters will benefit much more from a downtown terminus, and it should be planned for them primarily, with HSR as a secondary use. This means that the constraints are going to be morning and evening rush, and that most of the passengers at that time will be commuters. Commuters are characterized by generally having little luggage, and not wanting to wait very long for their train, and commuter trains are characterized by being frequent, generally quite full during rush hour, and of a larger capacity than intercity or HSR trains.

  15. A passenger train station is the interface between pedestrians and trains.

    This one is going to have the minor complication of thundering herds of commuters pouring down from the bus platforms above it.

  16. Adirondacker: according to the information I managed to dig up from AC Transit, daily transbay bus ridership is around 12,000 one-way trips per day. Less than even current Caltrain ridership at 4th/King, and significantly less than reasonable projections of daily ridership at Transbay. Bus passengers certainly need to be taken into account, but they're not the thundering herds you fear.

  17. How do the subway stations on the Los Angeles subway compare to this open-air ideal? I've always thought that for a subway, those stations were very inviting, especially with all the commissioned artwork.

  18. Okay well keep in mind that san francisco is building this transbay terminal, and chose the design and we happen to like the design very much - especially the redwoods and the park on top. Very much energy and focus was put into the bus design because, well, that was the main focus. The train box was basically for the caltrain extension and "possible future high speed rail" and of course the tower - along with the park - were the big selling points. Its not likely that hsr is going to come in now and try to tell the city it has to do A B and C and change the entire focus of our project to meet its needs. I mean really. as long as the trains can get it and out its fine. You know we are lucky to be getting any investment at all in this country for transit - wishing and hoping for grand european architecture, you may as well forget it. the US is a long long way from placing that kind of importance on a platform. I too wish SF were Paris but its not.

  19. and actually those simulations don't look bad. People aren't going there to linger around the platform anyway.

  20. Now that we've established the primary users of the Transbay Terminal station, let's look at what we can expect from them. Caltrain riders can roughly be classified as conventional commuters, reverse commuters, and regional riders (non-commuters). Commuters are the largest segment and forming the largest peaks during the morning and evening rush, but Caltrain also has a strong reverse-commute ridership. Caltrain also has a very liberal bike policy, as a result of which both commute and reverse-commute trains are often filled near capacity with bicycles. With the new bike capacity increases, that's potentially 48 to 80 bicycles on a train currently, and possibly even more in the future, though those will be spread between 22nd St, 4th/King, and Transbay. As a percentage of their respective groups, I suspect the highest bike usage is amongst the reverse commuters, as that's where connecting transportation is needed the most, while public transit is the poorest, but this should really be determined from actual data, as should the rest of what I'm going to talk about, but nobody's paying me to do this, so I'll just speculate.

    I suspect a significant fraction of commuters work in the CBD. Currently, many of them probably take various Muni buses or trains from the Caltrain station to their workplace. A station at Transbay would put many more workplaces within walking distance. So we can assume that most commuters will be walking to and from the station. In addition, being able to walk directly from the train to work will attract a much larger market share than the current arrangement, and so will Caltrain's faster electric service. Thus, the station needs to be planned for a significant number of commuters, most of whom will be walking to points north of Market. Thus, the terminal needs to be designed for significant pedestrian flow, coming from north of Mission Street. On the way back, the commuters will be arriving very close to the time of their train and getting on almost immediately. They don't need a waiting area, and can go straight down to the platform as soon as platform assignments are posted. There are also some commuters with bicycles, which need to be accommodated with ramps or a large elevator directly to street level.

    The regional riders, on the other hand, are likely to be taking some form of connecting transit to the station. They need a convenient transfer from the transit corridor on Market, the buses on Mission, and the bus station above the train. In terms of transit connections, provision should be made not just for current lines but for potential future expansion (the Geary Subway, a future second BART line). Regional passengers are also likely to be riding during off hours when service is less frequent, and they'll be showing up a bit earlier to be sure of catching their train. However, there isn't likely to be too many of them, and they can probably be accommodated with benches on the platforms and a small waiting area somewhere above.

    Reverse commuters are somewhat of a combination of regular commuters and regional passengers: arriving by transit but not waiting very long for their train. The main reason they need to be considered though is that they're boarding the same trains that the commuters are getting off of, which needs to be taken into account when setting dwell times for trains at the station, and when planning passenger circulation to and from the platforms. Some data would be good here about when exactly the commuter and reverse-commuter peaks are and to what extent they overlap.

    In addition to commuters, there are going to be HSR passengers. They will also likely be arriving by connecting transit, and will likely arrive somewhat in advance of their trains. It would be a good idea to put in plenty of seats for them to sit in as they wait.

  21. The regional connections at Transbay are only somewhat better than at 4th/King and Millbrae

    I completely disagree with that statement. The regional connections from 4th/King are essentially none. No, the N and the KT do not count as regional, or really as anything useful given their circuitous surface route. Things will improve when the Central Subway is built, but it still doesn't count as a regional connection, and it won't even interface properly with BART at Powell.

    Yes, you can transfer to BART at Millbrae, but you have a limited choice of trains, and it adds another 30-40 minutes to any downtown or East Bay trip. With HSR it only takes 10 minutes to get from Millbrae to downtown, and with Caltrain Express, perhaps 11 or 12.

  22. As far as underground train stations with buildings on top go, a more concurrent example would be Barcelona Sants. A typical "pragmatic" product of the '70s, modernized in recent years to accomodate the AVE, it handles ~220,000 pass/day (Does anyone know how many Transbay will handle?). The number of tracks and platforms (14 & 7) and fewer (but bigger) columns make it less claustrophobic than the Transbay design. Also, there is always the trick of painting almost everything white, combined with bright white lighting, which makes the space more agreeable and less depressive. It's functional but also a "let's-get-out-of-here" location.

  23. Currently the Caltrain takes 17 minutes to get from Millbrae to 4th/King. Assuming some speedups with electrification but a longer distance to Transbay, total travel time will probably be somewhere around 20 minutes. Montgomery to Millbrae on BART is 34 minutes. But at Transbay, the transfer from BART will require going up a long escalator, walking 5 minutes down the street, then descending into the terminal, so taking at least 10 minutes, train to train. In Millbrae, the transfer is much easier, so it's hard to say which is really the more convenient one. Plus, if you're heading northbound on HSR and change to BART at Millbrae, you're guaranteed a seat, whereas if you transfer at Transbay, you have to compete with a whole lot more people for fewer empty seats.

    As for 4th and King, the connections there aren't really "regional", but the N and T and the rest of the Muni Metro together with the 30/45, 10, and 47 do serve most of SF. Transbay is more of a win here in connecting to more Muni routes, but most of them require a bit of a walk (especially the Muni Metro), and there's no connection to the Stockton or Van Ness corridors. But it's not like 4th/King is completely isolated while Transbay is in the center of everything: more like Transbay is slightly off the to the side from quite a lot of things, while between 4th/King and Millbrae you can get decent and relatively easy connections to many, but not all, parts of Muni as well as to BART.

  24. From tbt downtown commuters will walk. bart passengers will have an underground walkway being planned by the city and paid for with development fees. Bicycles could be limited at tbt and and use only 4th st except for midday service.
    HSR passengers who are driving/parking/being picked up to head east over the bridge would use 4th where there is parking and pick up space. tourists will transfer at 4th to the central subway for the union square and north east tourist hotel areas. san franciscans will use N and KT from the avenues, a new 16th street corridor from castro/mission and the inbound buses from al over town. There will not be a geary subway but there will be a geary rapid bus as well as van ness rapid bus and a new transit corridor on folsom.

  25. "Mirv": I was going to mention that the point of the magnificent World Class International Architectural Competition Winning Pelli-Clark-Pelli-Parsons-Transportation-Group-ARUP train station design was to make Barcelona Sants look good; it's good to see somebody is on the ball.

    Likewise on the ball re Berlin HB, good old Hartmut Mehdorn and the "einheitsoße" number done to the von Gerkan, Marg + Partner plan.

    By the way, this is how GMP (who oddly enough didn't appear to feel themselves qualified to enter the World Wide Global TJPA Architectural Competition for the Most Awesomest Structure on the Planet) designed the underground level of Berlin HB.

  26. Re "socio-architectural analysis", obviously some translation is necessary to interpret this image.

    For those of you who aren't fluent in Switzerlish, let me interpret:

    Prominently displayed placard "A" is a list of security measures in force at the station. The yellow colour indicates TransSec Security Level Yellow, and all citizens should be alert, and should fully cooperate with any lethally armed, alsatian dog leading Transit Security Forces they encounter.

    The small girl is asking "where do we find the security checkpoint [so I can use my TransLink card] to enter the waiting area?"

    Her brother answers: "This says to await instructions from the authorities."

    The smaller placard "B" explains that train arrival information will be communicated strictly on a need to know basis. Those desiring to meet arriving passengers should wait in the Arrivals Waiting Area outside the arrivals checkpoint.

    The figure labelled "C" is a friendly Amtrak redcap, helpfully dealing with the checked luggage which is a vital part of all modern rail passenger transportation.

    Glad to be of help.

  27. Its going to be the 21century version of 1965 PennStation..yuck.
    SanJose and LA will be much more "train station" looking. I hate to design ..4th and king rebulit would look much nicer.But after news this week looks like HSR may stop at bolth stations..I will get off at 4andKing..and take the N-Juda home!!

  28. Jim, I know huh? How dare HSR swoop in and try to put their stamp on your cities project. The nerve of some people. You know there are even some who are saying that HSR is for the whole state of california, and whatever blood they want to extract from your city, is dues well paid for the greater good. Imagine.

  29. ...I thought the picture looked vaguely familiar . . .

  30. The comparison with the new Berlin Hbf is well taken, but even those photos show some of the same issues.

    When I look at this photo, I still see a pillar plonked directly in front of the staircase. There also isn't much clearance between the edge of the platform and the escalator.

    I think the reason why German railstations work so well (in terms of passenger flows) is because of the POP ticketing. Even if TBT architectural problems were corrected, it does not help at all if passengers still must go through holding pens.

    With regard to the low ceiling, that does induce claustrophobic appearance, but the benefit is additional floorspace on the level above. Of course, if that floorspace is just going to be used for security theater....

    Regarding Jim's comment:
    "Bicycles could be limited at tbt and and use only 4th st except for midday service."

    This seems a likely outcome. And again indicates how retarded this new TBT design is. Berlin Hbf sees more passengers than the entire BART system, but to my knowledge does not have commute-hour restrictions on bikes in the station or on platforms. While it is understandable of some commute-hour trains can't accommodate bikes, something is very wrong if the platforms are too constrained to accommodate bicycles.

  31. @ alon No we don't need air conditioning. That's for Sacramentans.

    @anon THey are welcome to put their stamp on it as long as they pay their share of that stamp and they don't take anything away that sf approved. There won't be any shortchanging going on.

    @ everyone else. You know, as long as the trains get in and the trains get out - its just a railroad platform. We are putting a gorgeous park upstairs, wait up there is you need a nice place to wait. its not like the whole thing is going to be redesigned at local taxpayer and developer costs to put crystal chandeliers in the train box at the expense of the the rest of the actual tbt project. There's a lot of perfectionists running around here. You know that money and politics usually trump idealism and good design. just get it built and lets move on. We could argue about altamont and pacheco and merced and tunnels and I-5 and 4th and king and jap trains versus frenchie trains and all the rest and it won't matter. This thing is going to slog and lumber forward like a giant bureaucratic slug until its done. I wouldn't add to the task unnecessarily. Just expedite it and be done with it or we'll all be in our graves.

  32. jim: thank you for proving my socio-architectural point.

  33. Jim
    "as long as they pay their share of that stamp and they don't take anything away that sf approved"

    How downright Palo Altan of you. Next thing you know, you'll be advocating to join the peninsula cities coalition.

  34. @anon- we are are far better in sf at being nimby's than PA could ever dream of - but - we do it in a way that allows us to extract a lot of concessions. San Franciscans want HSR and our new TBT, but no one is taking anything away from us, we will make sure they pay that's all. The city of san francisco and the development partners are not paying for a train box that is different from the one designed. HSR can modify it on their own dime so long as it doesn't disrupt the project too much. Unlike PA i can't imagine anyone in town trying to block this, our concern as san franciscans - and I think I can safely speak for most here on this- is that the exterior aesthetics be to our liking, that any displacement of residents is mitigated and compensated, and that it doesn't take money from other parts of the budget.

  35. no one is taking anything away from us, we will make sure they pay that's all.

    I haven't read the Proposition in a very long time. If I remember correctly it says "to San Francisco". It doesn't say "Build it under the cramped bus station at Beale and Minna in San Francisco at any cost". 4th and Townsend are in San Francisco too.

  36. i think 4th and townsend makes more sense to begin with. There is room there for a parking garage, its at the foot of 280x there's room in the area for rental car counters AND, its closer to san francisco's newest ( and only growth) neighborhood. All those people who be living in the the mission bay south beach third st corridor - which is where 90 percent of the city's new population growth will be - will have much better access at a 4th street station.

  37. The amount of space available along townsend and king between 4th and 7th is three times the amount of space available at mission and 1st. Not only is there three times more surface area, but its a far less constrictive area in which to build. You could even have a ramp off the 280x directly to a rooftop parking lot

  38. I propose build the tbt as is and get it done. put the hsr at 4th and they do whatever they want over there. I doubt it matters much to those who live here if its on 2nd or 4th. Long as it gets into town. tbt will have caltrain dtx and room for some hsr if they want. then just get on with it. besides when bart gets ready - and they never give up on their dreams of world domination, they will put a 4 bore tube from alameda to soma and everything will have to tie into that later.

  39. they will put a 4 bore tube from alameda to soma and everything will have to tie into that later.

    Why would they need 4 tracks? 40 trains an hour in each direction seems a bit high.

  40. Maybe they intend Caltrain to carry more than a nominal percentage of the travel market. Who knows?

  41. They are planninga four bore tube - two tunnels for bart trains and two tunnels for high speed and conventional rail,

  42. ---"But the biggest -- and costliest -- improvement would be the addition of a second Transbay Tube. By 2030, the current tube will be at capacity, unable to handle additional trains, said Tom Matoff, a transportation planner working on the regional rail plan.

    "Realistically, putting in a new bay tube is going to take 20 to 30 years,'' he said, "so this is the time to start thinking about it."

    Building a new tube also would give BART the opportunity to expand service in San Francisco and the East Bay. A new tube, Matoff suggested, could be part of a line that serves Alameda before going beneath the bay and emerging at the Transbay Terminal, where it could connect with high-speed rail and a downtown Caltrain extension. The new tube would have four bores, he said, two for BART and two for high-speed or other trains."

  43. thus the tail tracks which leave off under Main St just at the spot where they can continue down Main through a gap in development to the large pier ( currently a parking lot) and out under the bay to alameda

  44. Unless they have plans to connect the new BART tracks to a new subway under Geary, they should bag the idea and have all four tracks built at standard gauge, or at least have two of them built at variable gauge.

  45. LA Union manages to break the mold somewhat. As, interestingly, do modern "commuter" stations.

  46. Market East Station in Philadelphia (New and Improved Reading Terminal):


    Suburban Station in Philadelphia (Brand X):


    TJPA says you should buy Brand X and like it! Drink your Transbay/DTX. Pass the green-washed, modernist architecture. Mmmm.

  47. The design was well received by San Franciscans and very few in the city care what people outside the city think about it. If you don't like it don't use it.