San Francisco’s Salesforce Park and transit center, which opened last August and then abruptly closed again after the discovery of two cracked steel beams, is open again, giving locals and visitors a 5.4-acre rooftop green space above a new transit center in the South of Market area.
The reopening came in early July, along with unveiling of a free gondola that carries passengers from street level to the fourth-story rooftop garden. (It’s basically a glass cube that holds 25 people on a 40-second journey, beginning at Mission and Fremont streets. There are also elevators.)
The project, which stands at 425 Mission St., is four stories tall and four blocks long. Its cost is estimated at $2.2 billion, including the repairs and reinspections that followed discovery of the cracks. (Though the project is a public venture, the software company Salesforce bought naming rights for 25 years.)
When I rode the gondola and strolled the park last week, workers were still attending to details on the rooftop and the fountain wasn’t flowing. But San Franciscans were making the most of the green space on a blue-sky day.
The park includes palms, ferns, succulents and about 600 trees, all of which have had nine months to grow while the rest of the project was shored up. There’s also a grassy amphitheater, play space for kids, a big Starbucks and plenty of seats, tables, benches and rules.
Pets are forbidden, as are ballgames, wheeled equipment (except for wheelchairs and baby carriages), tents, tarps, drones, weapons, percussion instruments, sleeping, smoking and soliciting.
From May through October, the park is open to the public from no earlier than 6 a.m. to no later than 9 p.m. daily. From November through April, the hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In the transit area below, some Muni buses are using the new space at street level, and other bus services are to start Aug. 11 on the third-floor Bus Deck Level. (The structure’s Grand Hall is open but mostly empty.)
Many transportation uses, including eventual plans for commuter rail and a high-speed train, are still years away. (An hour after I rode the gondola without incident, workers took it out of service again, evidently still getting kinks out.)
The park neighbors the 1,070-foot Salesforce Tower, which was completed in 2018, surpassing the Transamerica Pyramid as the tallest building in San Francisco.