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City Design Group

Transit Center District Plan

In cooperation with:
Transbay Joint Powers Authority
San Francisco Redevelopment Agency

Transit Center District Plan Draft for Public Review now available for download.

The Transit Center District Plan was adopted in 2012. The final adopted plan can be viewed or downloaded from the City’s online General Plan here.

The Planning Department has received funding from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to draft a comprehensive plan for the area around the Transbay Terminal, including mechanisms to direct any increased development value to help fund the construction of the Transit Center Program in addition to other public improvements. This Plan will build on the City’s renowned 1985 Downtown Plan that envisioned the area around the Transbay Terminal as the heart of the new downtown. Consistent with the Transbay Redevelopment Plan, which focuses mostly on public properties south of the Transit Center along Folsom Street, this new effort will focus on both private properties and properties owned or to be owned by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority around the Transit Center itself.

Urban Design Element

Downtown Area Plan

The City adopted the Urban Design Element of the General Plan in 1971 and the Downtown Plan in 1985, laying the groundwork for the downtown San Francisco we know today: a compact, walkable and dynamic urban center and a dramatic skyline set against the natural backdrop of the city’s hills. The Downtown Plan established the growth of the downtown south of Market Street, with its core of greatest density and greatest heights around the Transbay Terminal. At the time, the Embarcadero Freeway created a sharp southern edge to the downtown south of Howard Street. Since the elevated freeway’s removal, the City has undertaken several major planning efforts for new downtown neighborhoods (including Rincon Hill and Transbay) and infrastructure investments (Transbay Transit Center). These changes, as well as the fact that significant growth has happened in the 20 years since the Downtown Plan was adopted, demand a new look at the land uses, urban form and public realm of the downtown core. This planning effort is intended to shape the next generation of downtown growth; it will build on the core cherished principles of city building at the heart of the Urban Design Element and Downtown Plan.

In early 2006, a Mayor’s Interagency Working Group reviewed development assumptions in the existing Transit Center Program to determine the appropriate planning response to this facility in the heart of downtown San Francisco and to assess ways of securing additional funding for the Program. This brief assessment concludes that raising certain height limits and increasing development potential in the area would be consistent with the City’s vision for the Transit Center district. It identifies a potential for generating additional funds for the Program through increased tax increment, land sales, and assessments, which would result from such changes in controls of land use and urban form. The Working Group also identified the possibility for air-rights development at the 4th/King rail station and yards to provide additional funding for the Program.



  • Build on the Urban Design Element and Downtown Plan, analyze modifications to the downtown form based on new Transbay and Rincon Hill plans and recent development.

  • Capitalize on major transit investment with appropriate land use response in the downtown core.

  • Set guidelines and standards to build a high-quality public realm and provide public amenities.

  • Generate more revenue for the Transbay Transit Center project and other public improvements.


The Project

The Transit Center District Plan will build on the City’s renowned 1985 Downtown Plan that envisioned the area around the Transbay Terminal as the heart of the new downtown. This new effort will analyze land use and urban form responses to the maturation of the southern side of downtown since 1985 and the infrastructure investments now planned. Following detailed analysis and computer simulation (e.g. urban form, shadow, wind, circulation), the study will produce new planning policies and controls for land use, urban form, building design, and public realm improvements for private properties as well as for properties owned or to be owned by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in and around the adopted Transbay Redevelopment Project Area and Transbay Terminal. The study will also propose a mechanism for directing some financial benefit from any increases in development opportunity to the construction of the Transit Center Program and other public amenities and infrastructure in the area.

The boundaries of the study area for the Transit Center District Plan are roughtly Market Street on the north, Steuart Street on the east, Folsom Street on the south, and mid-block between 3rd and New Montgomery Streets on the west. The Plan will not affect the adopted land use or development controls for Zone 1 of the Transbay Redevelopment Area.

Notice to Project Sponsors in the Transit Center District Plan Area and Vicinity - PDF

Transit Center plan boundary


Project Schedule and Public Process

The Planning Department relased a draft Plan document for public review at the Planning Commission on November 19, 2009. A full complement of public discussions and hearings will follow throughout 2010, with the Draft Environmental Impact Report anticipated for publication in mid-2010. Adoption hearings on the Plan are expected in late 2010. Interested members of the public wishing to review the Plan are encouraged to download it. CLICK HERE to download the plan. A CD with the plan can be obtained and printed copies can be purchased at the Planning Department's Planning Information Counter at 1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor. The Plan can also be viewed at the Planning Department offices or the San Francisco Public Library.

During development of the draft plan, the Planning Department held several well-attended public meetings regarding the Plan, each attended by about 200 people or more and primarily held at Golden Gate University.

On May 26, 2009, the Planning Department held its final public workshop prior to completion and publication of the Draft Plan document for formal public review, which anticipated for release in early summer 2009. At this workshop the Department presented the draft proposal for the financial and public benefits program for the Plan. The proposal includes changes to development fees and new additional finanical levies on private projects to raise revenue for public infrastructure improvements in the area, including the Transit Center project and district infrastructure, including streets, open spaces, and sustainable resource district utility systems. Click here to view the powerpoint presentation from that meeting.

On September 17, the Planning Department presented ideas that focussed on aspects of the Plan that will shape the quality of place at the ground level, including building design, ground floor uses, historic resources, and open space, as well as issues of environmental sustainability. Click here to view the powerpoint presentation from that meeting.

On April 30, the Planning Department presentation covered initial findings and proposals regarding citywide and downtown growth, land use, urban form, shadows, historic resources, and the public realm (streets and open spaces). Click here to view the powerpoint presentation from that meeting.

A kickoff meeting was held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on July 25, 2007. Click here to view the presentation from that meeting.

The consultant team working for the Planning Department is led by AECOM (planning, urban design, landscape architecture) and also features Economic & Planning Systems (economic and financial analysis), Nelson/Nygaard (transportation), and Robin Chiang & Co. (urban design, architecture, graphics). Other firms contributing expertise to the effort have included Kelley & VerPlanck (historic preservation) and Seifel Consulting, Inc. (economic and land use analysis).

Stay tuned to this website for announcements of additional workshops, hearings, documents and information, and the Planning Department would always like to hear your comments.

JULY 25 , 2007
Public Workshop #1 (Introduction to the planning effort and key objectives)
APRIL 30, 2008
Public Workshop #2 (Land Use/Growth, Draft Urban Form, Historic Preservation, Public Realm Concepts)
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008
Public Workshop #3 (Quality of Place: Urban Design, Open Space, Zoning, Historic Resources, and Sustainability)
MAY 26, 2009
Public Workshop #4 (Public Benefits/Financial Plan and Final Proposals)
NOVEMBER 19, 2009
Publication of Draft Plan for public review
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
Publication of Draft Environmental Impact Report
NOVEMBER 28, 2011
Comment Period Closes on Draft EIR
APRIL 19, 2012
Informational Hearing at Planning Commission*
We will refresh the Commission about the Plan’s proposals and discuss revisions, updates and refinements to the draft Plan proposals. On this day the packet of key plan adoption materials will be delivered to the Commission and made available to the public, including draft Planning Code, Zoning Map and General Plan amendments. The full packet of materials will be posted here on our project website by close of business on Friday April 20.
MAY 2, 2012
Article 11 Initiation Hearing at Historic Preservation Commission
MAY 3, 2012
Plan Initiation Hearing at Planning Commission*
At this hearing we will continue the informational discussion and ask that the Commission formally initiate the amendments so that an adoption hearing can be held three weeks later.
MAY 24, 2012
Final EIR Certification and Plan Adoption at Planning Commission*

* Please remember to check the Planning Department’s website for Planning Commission agendas and schedules, as final meeting dates, times, locations and agendas may vary. Planning Commission agendas are typically posted on the Friday before the Commission hearing.



Questions, comments, and suggestions on this planning effort should be directed to:

Joshua Switzky, Project Manager
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

Telephone: (415) 575-6815


Links and background information:

Draft Plan for Public Review:

Draft Transit Center District Plan

Draft Transit Center District Plan ( 2 PART VERSION )
PART 1 - PDF 12 MB

To obtain a printed copy or a CD visit the Planning Department at 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400.

- CD:
$1 each
- Printed Plans: $36 each

The Plan can also be viewed at the Planning Department offices or the San Francisco Public Library.

Planning Commission Initiation Packet

Informational Presentation to Planning Commission (April 19, 2012) - PDF 11 MB

Initiation Package Table of Contents and Overall Executive Summary

Draft Plan Addendum

General Plan Amendments including Case Report, Draft Resolution, Draft Ordinance, and Draft Sub-Area Plan

Planning Code Amendments including Case Report, Draft Resolution, Draft Planning Code Amendments

Zoning Map Amendments including Case Report, Draft Resolution, and Draft Ordinance

Implementation Package, including Draft Administrative Code Amendments and Draft Program Implementation Document

Environmental Impact Report

Notice of Preparation of Environmental Impact Report (NOP)
for Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower
(July 20, 2008) - PDF

Draft Environmental Impact Report (September 28, 2011)

Historic Preservation

Historic Resources Survey & Context Statement (Adopted July 2008 and February 2012)
Context Statement - PDF 6 MB
Individual Survey (DPR) Forms - PDF 33.5 MB
New Montgomery-Mission-2nd Street District (DPR) Form - PDF 0.5 MB

Transit Center District Plan Historic Preservation Policies and Objectives
Article 11 Categories and Buildings Proposed for Article 10 Designation - PDF
New Montgomery-Mission-2nd Street Conservation District Boundary Changes - PDF

Presentations & Project Materials:

Public Meeting presentation on Financial Program/Public Benefits. May 26, 2009 - PDF 2 MB

Public Meeting presentation on Quality of Place, Sept. 17, 2008 - PDF 8 MB

Public Meeting presentation on Initial Findings & Proposals, April 30, 2008
Part 1 - PDF 3.5 MB
Part 2a - PDF 8.5 MB
Part 2b - PDF 2 MB
Part 3 - PDF 2.5 MB

Urban Form Simulations

Downtown 2035 Growth/Capacity Analysis - PDF 1.75 MB

Introductory Public Workshop Presentation, July 25, 2007 - PDF 10.5 MB

Informational Presentation to the Planning Commission, February 1, 2007 - PDF 9.4 MB

Consultant RFPs & Scope:

EIR Consultant RFP
RFP - Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower EIR (Amended 8-24-07) - PDF
RFP - Appendix A Part 1 - PDF
RFP - Appendix A Part 2 - PDF
RFP - Appendix C - PDF
RFP - Appendix D - PDF
Questions & Answers - Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower EIR - PDF

RFP Pre-Bid Presentation August 7, 2007 - PDF 5.7 MB

EIR Consultant RFP Bidder's Conference Sign-In Sheet - PDF

Planning Consultant RFP - PDF

Scope of Work for Downtown Growth Forcasting and Analysis - Seifel Consulting - PDF

Informal RFP for Shadow Methodology and Preliminary Assessment - PDF


Mayor’s Interagency Transbay Working Group
Final Report - PDF
Graphic Presentation ( click on “Item 8” )

Transbay Joint Powers Authority—Transit Center Program

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency—Transbay Redevelopment Project

Rincon Hill Plan

© San Francisco Planning Department

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