Welcome to the Bay Area Metro Center…
Where the Bay Area Comes Together
375 Beale Street
San Francisco, CA
Metro Talks is a speaker series hosted by the Bay Area’s four regional agencies at the Bay Area Metro Center. The series brings together prominent leaders and experts to discuss issues of regional significance like housing, community development, climate change, the economy, technology and innovation, and transportation. Metro Talks invites Bay Area residents to mingle over refreshments and light appetizers and connect with neighbors, regional agency staff and leadership and other interested parties in the beautiful atrium of the Bay Area Metro Center.
The ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity
(Harvard Business Review)
This special edition of the Metro Talks series will feature three design experts participating in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, a collaborative research and design project to help make the Bay Area more resilient to the impacts of climate change including sea level rise and flooding. Each will share their unique professional and personal perspectives on what resilience means and why it matters. Henk Ovink, the Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of Netherlands, Rupal Sanghvi, Founder of HealthxDesign, and Cathy Simon, Fellow, American Institute of Architects, are leaders in integrating the disciplines of public health, architectural design, ecology, social equity and public sector ingenuity and will share some stories and insights for how the Bay Area can navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead in local and regional resilience building.
Rupal Sanghvi is enthusiastic about fomenting possibilities for innovation in Public Health practice through close collaboration with the design professions. Given the high-level consensus on the health impact of our environments—from the factors that predict for our experience of our neighborhood or city, our behavior, and even our genetic structure/epigenetics—she believes working with the professions that shape our experience of our environments, at various scales, is critical to transforming population health and wellbeing. In 2009, Rupal founded HealthxDesign, identifying untapped opportunities that leverage design decision-making about the built environment as a public health intervention, necessarily addressing the predictors of health and its determinants (open space/public realm, urban forestry, school and community gardens, affordable/supportive housing, neighborhood features).
She is a Principal Investigator at the Public Health Institute, a Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Space, and Faculty at Parson’s New School for Design. Rupal has over fifteen years of experience in health promotion and disease prevention. She has partnered with community-based non-profit organizations/NGOs, and the public sector in infectious disease prevention, violence prevention, adolescent health promotion, and access to care for marginalized and geographically isolated groups. Rupal has been a consistent a reviewer for the American Public Health Conference and has worked with the World Health Organization, International Planned Parenthood, and the International Rescue Committee. She received the United States Secretary of Health’s Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention after earning her Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan.
Senior Consulting Design Principal, Perkins + Will; Fellow, American Institute of Architects
Cathy Simon's focus on transformative design is evident at all scales. Major recent award-winning architectural work is exemplified by the reinvention of San Francisco's Ferry Building and Pier 1, an historic finger pier; Genentech B35, a new 250,000 sf headquarters building on Genentech’s South San Francisco Campus; the Lathrop Library at Stanford; Connie & Kevin Chou Hall at the Haas School of Business at UC, Berkeley; the Bay Area Metro Center, the repurposing of a 500,000 sf existing building as headquarters for the MTC, the Air District, BCDC and ABAG; 140 New Montgomery, the rehabilitation of Timothy Pfleuger’s landmark 1925 Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building. Local waterfront urban design projects include Mission Rock, the SF Giants’ proposed 21-acre mixed-use waterfront development south of AT&T Park and Treasure Island, a new waterfront community for 15,000 new residents, parklands, an organic farm, maker space and more in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.
In 2015, she was the William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy of Rome, and has taught architecture at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University. She is a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Design Visiting Committee, the University of Washington Architectural Commission and the University of California Berkeley Design Review Committee. Cathy's design philosophy and expertise have made her a natural spokesperson for the burgeoning revitalization and resiliency of post-industrial waterfronts worldwide. She is currently writing a book about design and the waterfront.
Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Henk Ovink was appointed by the Dutch Cabinet as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs (2015). As the Ambassador for Water, he is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions among governments, multilateral organizations, private sector and NGO’s to address the world’s stressing needs on water and help initiate transformative interventions.
Ovink is also Sherpa to the High Level Panel on Water, installed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and President of the World Bank Jim Kim with 10 Heads of State / Heads of Government including Prime Minister Rutte from The Netherlands to catalyze change in water awareness and implementation. Henk is Principal for Rebuild by Design, the resilience innovation competition he developed and led for President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force where he was Senior Advisor to the Chair.
He has been Director General for Planning and Water Affairs and Director for National Spatial Planning in The Netherlands. Ovink teaches at the London School of Economics and at Harvard GSD and is member of the International Advisory Board for the City of Rotterdam. He was Curator for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 20 12 ‘Making City’, and curated the debate series ‘Design and Politics: the next phase’ for Aedes network Campus Berlin. He initiated the research program and is chief editor of the series of publications with NAI0 10 Publishers on Design and Politics.
Now Showing in the Atrium Lobby:
Landscapes in Transition
Works by Deborah Sibony and Anne Subercaseaux
Hours: Weekdays 7 am to 7 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm
Artist Reception: Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 5–7 pm
This exhibit reflects the work of two artists who have used imagery of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in their art, one in painting, the other in printmaking. While the former Eastern Span of the bridge still existed, San Francisco artist Anne Subercaseaux commuted daily across the bridge and observed patterns cast from beams and cables onto the pavement surface. She drew upon this abstract imagery for her painting compositions, exploring the interplay of structural elements with cast lights and shadows. Studying the bridge reflections allowed her to focus on detail areas within a broader view, seeing the abstractions in closer proximity, the patterns among the road lines, and colors and textures of the concrete pavement.
East Bay artist Deborah Sibony was inspired by the gradual removal of the former Eastern Span after the construction of the new span. As the bridge was slowly taken apart, new dimensions of space and time appeared, creating compositions of spatial tension and suspension that evoked an emotional response to a transitional space. In her prints, we observe a landscape in constant flux, witnessing the loss of a structure that will remain only in our memory. The complexity of time passing and visual metaphors of the human condition reveal what is left behind and what has been discarded.
Within these complementary bodies of work, the viewer may be transported to a place that is familiar and yet unknown — both reflective and engaging.
For more information, contact Community Art Coordinator Brenda Kahn, email@example.com, 415-778-6773
Metro Talks: Ralph McLaughlin
The Yin-Yang of Housing Affordability and Development in the Bay Area
Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia, leads the housing economics research team and provides house hunters with key insights about the economy, housing trends and public policy. His educational background includes a B.S. in geography and regional development from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in planning, policy and design from the University of California at Irvine (with a specialization in urban economics). He has more than a dozen publications and research papers in the fields of housing economics, land use, housing policy, and industrial geography, and most recently was the director of the Real Estate Development Program at San Jose State University.
PRESERVING & REINVENTING
Regional leaders re-envisioned the historic eight-story building at the intersection of Beale and Folsom streets as a contemporary and environmentally friendly facility that reflects the missions of the Bay Area agencies who call it home, and that will become an asset to a neighborhood that is also undergoing transformation. Investing in renovating this existing 1940's structure rather than new development represents a prime example of adaptive reuse — something the regional agencies have been championing for years.
New Entrance, New Address
The plan for transforming the building formerly known as 390 Main Street into the regional agency headquarters called for relocating the front entrance to the opposite side of the building to take advantage of streetscape improvements and create a more inviting and accessible entryway. The new address — 375 Beale Street — pays tribute to Senate Bill 375, landmark 2008 state legislation that charted a path toward sustainability and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Thinking Outside the Box
Two features help to break up the building’s boxy exterior and enliven the work space: a top-floor terrace overlooking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that has become a favorite lunch spot for staff, and a three-story cut-out for a Ginkgo tree.
New Ways to Work
Isolating workers in enclosed individual offices is old school; new concepts of work environments call for more open and flexible floor plans that foster communication and collaboration.
To bring natural light into the massive, 64,000-square-foot floor plate — and reduce energy costs — architects carved an eight-story atrium into the center of the building, topping it with a lightweight “pillow” skylight made of transparent plastic sheeting filled with air. At the street level, the atrium is the centerpiece of an expansive lobby destined to become an indoor crossroads for the four regional agencies occupying the building. Above the lobby, the atrium is lined with glass panels that create a contemporary stained-glass effect.
The upper floors of the building house the partner agencies’ staff, who are intermingled rather than grouped by agency. As another way of breaking down barriers, the design emphasizes informal gathering spaces conducive to casual interactions on the partner agencies’ common agendas.
Second Life for Historic Wood
In a nod to the neighborhood’s past, the Bay Area Metro Center makes ample use of wood from 40-foot-long Douglas fir logs that served as pilings for the old Transbay Terminal, which was demolished to make way for a modern new facility. Full of character from 70 years of sitting below the water line, this salvaged wood has been incorporated into the first floor lobby security desk and the board room dais and wall paneling, as well as the coffee bars and lobby paneling on the partner agencies’ office floors.
The Bay Area Metro Center is the new home for some 600 staff members of the four partner regional agencies, but it’s also much more. It is intended as a public forum where issues can be aired and solutions discussed, a neighborhood and regional resource, and a place where the public can connect with the agencies and access their services.
Library: Information for the Asking
The place to research transportation, demographics, planning topics, economic trends and much more is the new MTC-ABAG library, located on the 7th floor of the Bay Area Metro Center and available to visitors by appointment. With over 15,000 books, periodicals, reports — and four daily newspapers — the library is a goldmine of information. The catalog can be accessed remotely through the MTC website.
Branching off the first-floor lobby — itself an inviting public space — are a pair of spacious multipurpose rooms available to the partner agencies for meetings and events. Across the lobby is a formal, auditorium-style board room that is shared by the partner agencies.
Bay Area FasTrak® Lives Here
Customer service, account management and payment processing for the Bay Area FasTrak® electronic toll collection system operate from the second floor of the Bay Area Metro Center. FasTrak® is managed by the Bay Area Toll Authority, an MTC affiliate.
Window on the World of Traffic Operations
At the first-floor Regional Operations Center — or the ROC — operators monitor MTC’s growing network of Express Lanes via a real-time traffic map and live video feeds visible to the public through a large window. During a regional emergency, the ROC will function as a command center where MTC staff can manage and coordinate transportation assets with regional partners.
Tracking Air Quality
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s new state-of-the art lab will perform over 25,000 air quality analyses per year on samples collected from monitoring stations, manufacturing facilities, dry cleaners and the like across the nine Bay Area counties to determine compliance with air quality standards and regulations — also performing analyses for other air quality organizations. Information from the region’s air monitoring network is used to develop models and examine long-term air quality trends.
Coffee, Clipper®, Commute Help and More
Ada’s Café (see menu) and The Hub are co-located in a ground floor storefront at 375 Beale, providing the public with one-stop access to products and services offered by the regional agencies located at the Bay Area Metro Center, all in a cozy café that serves gourmet coffee drinks and fresh breakfast and lunch options. Visitors will be able to get a FasTrak® toll tag, load cash value and passes onto a Clipper® transit fare card, apply for an air quality permit, find the best Bay Area bus route or buy a boxed set of San Francisco Bay Trail maps, among many other options. Ada’s Café is a Palo Alto-based nonprofit dedicated to hiring and training people with disabilities.
The HUB @ 375 Beale is the region's newest resource for transportation information.
Visit the HUB for...
Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Association of Bay Area Governments
The official council of governments for the San Francisco Bay Area, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) works to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among the region’s nine counties and 101 cities and towns and to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to their common problems.
Bay Area Air Quality
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District or BAAQMD) is entrusted with regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround the San Francisco Bay. The mission of the Air District is to protect and improve public health, air quality and the global climate.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) plans, finances and coordinates transportation in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, with the goals of improving connectivity, promoting sustainability and equity, and protecting the environment and the health of the region’s infrastructure.
Bay Conservation and Development Commission
The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) was created to protect and enhance San Francisco Bay and to encourage responsible use of this regional treasure. BCDC also leads the Bay Area’s ongoing regional effort to address the impacts of rising sea levels on shoreline communities and assets. (BCDC will move to the Bay Area Metro Center in late 2017.)
A Building of Many Uses
While the structure has adapted to a variety of government uses for the military, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Mint and U.S. Treasury, its mid-20th century style — represented by clean, horizontal lines and lack of ornamentation — has remained largely intact over the last 70 years.
Between 1933 and 1943, two important structures were built in record time to fill vital needs — the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and its neighbor, the building now known as 375 Beale. Both are notable for their no-nonsense, “workhorse” functionality and lasting durability, and their proximity to each other provided a strong symbiosis of warehouse activities and easy transportation access.
Women Report for Duty
During World War II, members of the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve reported for duty to the San Francisco military complex that included a supply depot at this building. With a motto of “Free a Marine to Fight,” they performed jobs from typing, posting records and drafting blueprints to driving tractors and installing radios in tanks.
Reviving “Dead” Letters
In the 1960s, the building became a regional U.S. Post Office center, eventually handling over 10 million undeliverable dead letters and parcels per year. Before giving up on delivery, however, qualified postal workers opened unaddressed or misaddressed mail to look for addresses inside.
In a dynamic, urban landscape, few buildings meet the needs of a changing society, and many must make way for new structures. An exception, 375 Beale Street has survived and been adapted from a major military supply depot to a Marine Corps dormitory to a regional U.S. Postal Service facility and now, after a period of near vacancy, has morphed again — into
the home for four major Bay Area regional agencies.
Meeting Wartime Needs
Completed in 1943, this sturdy, capacious warehouse with its vast, open floor plans (shown at left) served the needs of the U.S. military through three wars — World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts — providing a vital supply link for American soldiers in the Pacific.
During the Vietnam War, the facility served as a main hub for mail delivery to U.S. soldiers. Some 115,000 pounds of mail per day were sorted, loaded into huge plastic “igloos” and rushed to San Francisco International Airport for flights across the Pacific.
HQ for “North Pole” Mail
As a regional postal center for many years, the building met a
special need every year for letters addressed to Santa Claus. Many of the hand-scribbled letters were answered by San Francisco volunteers, saying Santa would do his best; some volunteers actually fulfilled children’s wish lists.
An ADA-accessible minibus, operated by S.F. Minibus, will be available on committee and commission meeting days. The shuttle stop is located at the white curb zone in front of 77 Beale Street (Plaza entrance to PG&E Headquarters). The shuttle typically will operate on a continuous loop between the Bay Area Metro Center and 77 Beale Street between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on meeting days.
Embarcadero Station (0.5 mi/about 10 min walk)
Head southwest on Market Street toward Beale Street. Turn left on Beale Street.
Montgomery Station (0.7 mi/about 14 min walk)
Head northeast on Market Street toward Sutter Street. Turn right on Beale Street.
Take the KT (K-Ingleside/T-Third Street) or N-Judah to The Embarcadero and Folsom Street. Walk northwest on The Embarcadero toward Folsom Street. Turn left on Folsom Street, left on Beale Street. (0.3 mi/6 min walk)
Temporary Transbay Terminal (200 Folsom Street)
Walk southwest on Folsom Street toward Beale Street. Turn left on Beale Street. (0.1 mi/2 min walk)
From the Ferry Building, turn left onto The Embarcadero. Turn right onto Folsom Street, then turn left onto Beale Street. (0.7 mi/14 min walk)
Caltrain (Fourth and King Station)
Walk to Muni Metro platform. Take KT (K-Ingleside/T-Third Street), N-Judah or S-Shuttle toward downtown. Exit at The Embarcadero and Folsom Street stop. Walk northwest on The Embarcadero toward Folsom Street. Turn left on Folsom Street, left on Beale Street.
From the East Bay: Take I-80 West to Fremont Street. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 2C for Fremont Street. Turn right on Fremont Street. Turn left at the first cross street onto Folsom Street. Turn right onto Beale Street.
From the South Bay/Peninsula: From US-101 North use right 3 lanes to take exit 433B for I-80 toward Bay Bridge. Use right 2 lanes to take exit 2 for Fourth Street. Use left 3 lanes to turn slightly left onto Bryant Street. Turn left on Beale Street.
From I-280 North, use right 2 lanes to take exit 57 for Sixth Street, continue north on Sixth Street for 0.4 mile to Folsom Street, turn right on Folsom Street and continue east on Folsom Street for 1 mile to Beale Street. Turn right on Beale Street.
From the North Bay: Take US-101 South to Van Ness Avenue. Use the right 2 lanes to turn right onto Van Ness Avenue. Use the left 2 lanes to turn left on Broadway. Continue through the tunnel and onto Broadway. Turn right on Battery Street. Turn left on Clay Street. Turn right onto Davis Street. Davis turns slightly left and becomes Beale Street. Continue on Beale Street.
Parking near the Bay Area Metro Center is difficult. There are public and private parking garages in the area and limited metered street parking.