Saturday, July 14, 2012

Construction Everywhere

I happened to go for a walk along San Francisco's Embarcadero the other day, and noticed several significant construction projects underway:

  • At Pier 15, work is well underway to build the new home of the Exploratorium museum. There is detailed information about the project in this article: Exploratorium’s New Waterfront Home on Track for a Spring 2013 Opening.
    Indoor space of 330,000 square feet, includes quintessential Exploratorium exhibits in four galleries; space for professional teacher training, after-school programs, educational camps and lifelong learning; a theater; the Exploratorium store; and a café.
    The Exploratorium team also have a nifty collection of videos about the project. Apparently they are intending to produce a complete documentary once the work is complete. The videos are here: Creating the Campus. (Of course, I liked the demolition videos the best!)

    I've always enjoyed my visits to the Exploratorium, and I think this new location will be superb and should bring them much higher visibility and usage.

  • A few blocks north, at Pier 27, construction is well underway on the new cruise ship terminal: James R. Herman Cruise Terminal Project at Pier 27. There's a lot less information about this project, but it still looks like an exciting new project for the Embarcadero waterfront.
    The Port desires to develop a world-class home port cruise terminal that reflects the values of San Francisco residents and the City’s leadership, meets international cruise terminal standards, and complies with regulatory requirements, including the Port’s commitment to the stewardship of waterfront historic resources within the Embarcadero Historic District.
    The project update page has more detail, including a timeline and progress reports.
  • And, over on my side of the bay, BART officials gave a progress report on the Oakland Airport Connector:
    The controversial Oakland Airport Connector, once plagued by funding problems that put the project's future in doubt, is now "on time and on budget" at the halfway point of construction, BART officials said Friday.
    The BART project page has more information. It's interesting that the connector trains will be driver-less:
    An Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) system was determined to be the preferred technology for the OAC project. The AGT concept refers to an array of transit technologies, the common elements being that they operate within their own guideways, would have stations physically integrated with the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station and the airport terminal, and do not require a vehicle operator.
    I've used the BART connector to SFO several times, and I think it's wonderful! It's much nicer to take BART to the airport than it is to drive. Hopefully the OAK connector will see similar success.

    Since the BART project is very close to my house, we drive by it periodically. It can be hard to tell what's happening in a construction project; sometimes nothing seems to be going on, then a week later there appears to be a lot of progress.

All the new construction is quite exciting; these all seem like valuable and important projects, and they all seem to be progressing well, so far as I can tell.

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