The Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco is a vaguely Art Deco transit station that was opened in 1939. Originally built to serve as the terminus for commuter trains traversing the Bay Bridge (which was completed at roughly the same time), the Transbay Terminal became a bus-only facility in the late-1950s -- and it has basically been in a steady state decline ever since. Here's what it looked like in '39:
The structure has barely changed since it opened, and today an unknowing visitor might be forgiven for wondering if it hadn't been cleaned since, either. The Transbay Terminal is a dingy, depressing, and fetid place -- think New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal, but without the bustle of crowds to at least provide some vitality. This probably explains why so little nostalgia has accompanied the announcement that the Transbay Terminal will close permanently on August 7, 2010. Thereafter it will be demolished, and eventually replaced with a gleaming new facility that will be home to a César Pelli-designed high-rise tower, a 5.4 acre rooftop park, and an underground train station for (hopefully) high speed rail service to Los Angeles.
In the meantime, the imminent closure of the current Transbay Terminal has prompted a flurry of last-minute photo-documentation, as transit geeks from around the Bay Area have converged on the doomed building to wander it's dank corridors, savor its charmless monumentality, and revel in its urine-scented ambiance.
From the long-shuttered Cuddles cocktail bar to the facility's abandoned drunk tank, it's last call for the Transbay Terminal, and we joined the throngs to take some final pictures of our own. Join us, then, as we explore the dark corners of the Transbay Terminal one last time.
Farewell, Transbay Terminal (Flickr photoset by Telstar Logistics)