May 18, 2017


The Transbay Transit Center is set to open late this year and will serve numerous bus lines, including AC Transit, Muni, Golden Gate Transit and Greyhound. It’s still unknown when it might connect to high-speed rail or Caltrain, which will operate the station, how much it will cost to operate, or what shops and restaurants will occupy the 100,000 square feet of retail space.

But what is known is this: Tree by tree, San Francisco’s next significant public open space, a 5.4-acre green rooftop boxed in by towers of glass, is taking shape atop the transit center. And amid all the questions about the future of the transit center, it is the park — with its carefully curated collection of flora — that has the potential to make the project an attraction in the years before the trains arrive.

“This is going to be one of the great parks of San Francisco, and it’s going to be a public space unlike anything else we have,” said Gabriel Metcalf, president of the urban think tank SPUR.

The trees — about 60 have been delivered so far — will eventually number 469.

The oldest trees are 40 years old, and the heaviest weigh 30,000 pounds. For the past 18 months, Trollip and landscape architect Adam Greenspan have scoured 17 nurseries across California and Oregon in search of the perfect specimens.

First impressions are important, and Greenspan designed the park to accentuate dramatic entrances. People arriving by escalator will land in a grove of Brisbane boxes. Those coming by elevator from the terminal’s Grand Hall will walk into a bamboo forest. The funicular that will whisk visitors from Mission Street will depart from a group of redwoods and arrive in a second grove on the roof.

The park will have signage explaining the various species and which trees are safe for kids to climb, like the Rhus typhina, or staghorn sumac.

“I think there is going to be a tree for everyone,” Greenspan said. “We have grand and stately trees, and we also have weird trees, quirky ones.”

At 1,400 linear feet, the park will have an area dedicated to South African trees, another to Australian. There will be areas for succulents and cacti, a manzanita and chaparral section, a fern garden and an oak meadow. There will be at least one cafe, a children’s play area, an amphitheater and bridges connecting two abutting towers.

via SF Chronicle


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