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TJPA Salesforce Transit Center And Maria Ayerdi Kaplan Update

Salesforce Transit Center
Salesforce Transit Center

What is the status of repairs and upgrades to the structure of the new San Francisco Transbay Transit Center, what is now called Salesforce Transit Center? Since Oakland News Now features a series on what Transit Center developer and former Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Maria Ayerdi Kaplan had to do to get the structure built. So, Zennie62Media has taken great interest in Salesforce Transit Center from that perspective.

On November 13th the Transbay Joint Powers Authority issued a new press release update on the progress of analysis to and repairs to Salesforce Transit Center after cracks were discovered in two steel beams during an inspection session in September. Here is how that release reads:


The Salesforce Transit Center is temporarily closed. In September 2018, workers
discovered two fissures in steel beams on the bus deck above Fremont Street. After
several inspections and out of an abundance of caution, the Transbay Joint Powers
Authority (TJPA) temporarily closed the Transit Center.

This is a localized issue within the transit center. The TJPA’s contractor installed a
multi-level shoring system at Fremont and First streets as testing and monitoring
continue. No additional fissures have been found. The TJPA is working swiftly to determine a cause and reopen the facility, but must balance that with the responsibility of conducting a thorough investigation. The agency is also fully cooperating with an independent review bythe Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).


TJPA, contractors and independent peer reviewers extracted samples and visually
inspected the beams in question in addition to smaller samples from beams from similarly designed areas of the transit center (First Street)

In addition, and as mentioned in the release, the MTC has announced its own study and research team to figure out what happened to the Transbay Transit Center.

An online document on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission website reports that it also issued a letter to S.F. Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, which explains:

“Working with the full cooperation of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), we have divided the review into the following five stages:

– Load capacity of the temporary shoring system
– Sampling and testing plan for the material from the fractured steel girders
– Cause of failure, as informed by the material test results and design analysis
– Current condition of structural elements directly affected by the steel fractures
– Repair solution, as informed by the cause of failure and current condition.

“The MTC-organized peer review panel currently is focused on material from the first two stages. It has reviewed the shoring at Fremont Street to insure its stability during the sampling of material from the fractured girders. The panel has also reviewed and takes no exception with the TJPA’s [Transbay Joint Powers Authority] current sampling and testing plan. Material samples have been removed and shipped to a materials testing laboratory in New York City, where the samples are being machined for testing.”

The panel consists of the following people:

Michael D. Engelhardt Ph.D., P.E. — professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory (chair of the expert panel)
John W. Fisher, PhD. — professor emeritus of Civil Engineering at Lehigh University and director emeritus of the ATLSS Engineering Research Center
Brian Kozy, PhD., P.E. — principal engineer at the Federal Highway Administration
Thomas A. Sabol, Ph.D., S.E. — principal at Englekirk Structural Engineers and an adjunct professor of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UCLA
Robert E. Shaw, Jr., P.E. — president of the Steel Structures Technology Center and member of the D 1 Structural Welding Committee at the American Welding Society

The MTC-organized peer review panel reportedly doesn’t believe the steel crack was borne of any design problem. Rather, as Michael Engelhardt recently said, “There is zero evidence of that being the problem. It seems to be a very fine design.” He pointed to the cause possibly being stress on the steel.

Like the kind of stress that this blogger said would be caused by over-capacity problems – the kind of over-capacity that was experienced on opening day of Salesforce Transit Center.

Clearing Maria Ayerdi Kaplan’s Name In The Salesforce Transit Center Matter

Former TJPA Executive Director Maria Ayerdi Kaplan And Some Of The Men Who Built Salesforce Transit Center
Former TJPA Executive Director Maria Ayerdi Kaplan And Some Of The Men Who Built Salesforce Transit Center

When the news that one of the MTC-organized peer review panel members said the steel cracking problem wasn’t a design flaw, but a more localized problem due to some kind of stress, the media organizations that trumpeted the idea that the problem was related to something that happened during the time Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan was TJPA boss, failed to clear her name, and issued an array of fake news in the process. That, alone, indicates the continued existence of an attempt to blame her for problems that were not her doing. Fortunately, other expert builders have come to Maria’s rescue.

Phillip Tagami, the noted Oakland developer of such iconic structures as The Oakland Rotunda and The Fox Theater, wrote in a November 17th, 2018 tweet “What an amazing job on one of the most complicated projects in the Bay Area in the past decade. It takes quite a will to stay focused so long with many changing faces, funding streams, and yes politics. Building a team and supporting them along the way thanks for your leadership.”

Stay tuned.


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