The Mayor's Office has quickly responded to reports last week that one of the signature aspects of the new Transbay Transit Center the multi-block, rooftop park and promenade might have to be scrapped or at the very least delayed until after the complex opens. Though Supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim have their concerns about the funding, the mayor is "committed to making it happen" and to having the park done in time for the Transit Center's opening in late 2017, as the Chron reports.
The possible funding sources for the $37 million rooftop park include corporate sponsors meaning Salesforce Tower could stand beside the Airbnb Park? or tax assessments from neighboring property owners in a "Mello Roos Community Facilities District."
Wiener, however, points out that this Mello Roos district had already been planned and money from it is supposed to go to funding the downtown extension of CalTrain, or DTX, which comes as a second phase of the Transbay project. In that phase, following the opening of the new Transit Center, CalTrain's tracks would be extended via a tunnel underneath 2nd Street, bringing them all the way to the Transit Center from 4th and King. The tunnel would also ultimately be used if and when the high-speed rail gets built. The DTX has yet to be funded, and there has already been talk of shifting $200 million of its Mello Roos funding to cover huge cost overruns at the Transit Center.
Both Wiener and Kim sound like they will be pushing the Mayor's Office and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority to seek other (corporate) funding sources, rather than delay the DTX.
But considering everyone has swooned over this park — which some of have compared to the High Line in New York for its potential beauty and civic impact and was arguably the biggest selling point in Pelli Clarke Pelli's original design — it's clear that no one wants to lose it. Also, if this Transit Center opens without it, it will just be a glorified bus station. A pretty one covered in undulated aluminum panels, but a bus station nonetheless.