Tim Griffith

There's a lot in the massive new transit center in San Francisco's SoMA neighborhood (or what some may call East Cut). Prompting comparisons to New York City's Grand Central Station and High Line, the Salesforce Transit Center is a multi-block transportation hub topped by a 5.4-acre park. (Tech company Salesforce announced that it bought naming rights from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority last summer.)

The transit center's website describes the vision for the project in these lofty terms: "Salesforce Transit Center will fundamentally change the way people connect between Northern and Southern California via public transportation, including high speed rail, in and out of the San Francisco Bay Area from the world’s most open, green, and dynamic setting."


Designed by New Haven, Conn.–based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the center spans two below-grade levels and an additional three above. A caterpillar-shaped perforated façade is mounted on steel columns, filtering daylight into the 1.5 million-square-foot structure, which is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. The center also includes public art projects such as a fountain by local artist Ned Kahn designed to respond to the buses moving inside the hub, as well as a rooftop amphitheater and retail spaces. "The aim is to give bus travel a cachet—no easy feat in today’s America," writes John King, the San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic.

On Saturday, there was a big party celebrating this highly anticipated project, and regional bus service officially began on Sunday. Greyhound will begin operating out of the center on Wednesday, according to its website. Train service is still a ways away, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "If we don’t get Caltrain, and eventually high-speed rail, into Transbay Terminal it will go down as the most expensive bus terminal in the history of humankind,” said Aaron Peskin, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and chair of San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board, to the Chronicle.

Also according to the San Francisco Chronicle, a gondola will open on Sept. 24.