All Aboard the Temporary Transbay Terminal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Joe Rosato Jr.
    An exterior view of the Transbay Terminal which opened in 1939, during the Depression. In its glory days the terminal saw 100,000 travelers pass through each day.

    It's out with the old and in with the new for San Francisco's  Transbay Terminal as transportation officials host an open house Tuesday,  giving visitors a sneak peak at what's to come on Saturday, when the  temporary center opens.

    The temporary terminal at Main and Howard streets will house AC  Transit, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans and WestCAT Lynx over  the next seven years, until the new Transbay Transit Center is completed in  2017.

    Members of the public can scope out the new transportation digs  from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at an open house that will feature tours,  refreshments and giveaways, according to transportation officials.

    By shifting operations to the temporary station, bus service will  continue uninterrupted during the demolition of the underutilized and  outdated existing terminal, which was built in 1939 as a terminus for rail  lines that crossed over the Bay Bridge.

    A single-tower, skyline-altering structure will replace the  existing terminal with a design that calls for an elevated 5.4-acre rooftop  park some 60 feet above street level.

    The park will serve as a green roof for the bus and rail station,  which will eventually accommodate Caltrain service and high-speed trains.

    Although the temporary terminal will become operational on  Saturday, crews will still have to demolish an overhead ramp that is blocking  completion of the last corner of the temporary site. That work is expected to  be finished by November.

    Another situation blocking progress in the demolition work is the  presence of a number of homeless people who currently take shelter around the  original terminal's perimeter.

    A spokesman for the temporary terminal was unavailable for comment Tuesday morning regarding the displacement of that population.

    Despite the amenities in store for the temporary terminal, riders  should be aware that there are no public restrooms.

    Construction of the temporary terminal took approximately a year  and a half from when it broke ground in December 2008, and construction on  the new terminal is expected to begin in early 2011 after the demolition work  is completed.

    Riders can find more information related to the changes at  Transbay Temporary Terminal website at temporaryterminal.org. Some Golden  Gate Transit lines will continue service at their current location until  further notice.