Cracks Close San Francisco Building, Snarl Traffic for Salesforce Event

San Francisco’s financial district, usually jammed with traffic during Inc.’s annual Dreamforce conference, has been thrown into chaos after a new transportation terminal, named for the software company, was closed through next week.

Authorities found cracks in two steel beams supporting the city’s new $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center, where buses from throughout the Bay Area drop off and pick up tens of thousands of daily commuters. The software company purchased the naming rights in a sponsorship deal for the center, which opened to fanfare just last month. Buses were rerouted to their temporary hub nearby, used for years while the terminal was under construction. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which runs the transit center, advised motorists to avoid driving downtown.

Traffic in the area was already stymied by the presence of the world’s largest software conference, which Salesforce said had 171,000 registered attendees this year. The local technology company annually transforms a stretch of downtown San Francisco into a capitalist campsite, shutting down a major street and covering it with AstroTurf, a 30-foot waterfall and faux trees, labeling the area “Dreamforce National Park.”

Photo by Amy O’Connor

“If you try to move anywhere in the Moscone (convention center) area or Financial District, it’s a nightmare,” said Manny Medina, who is attending the conference on behalf of his software company, Outreach. “Traffic is gridlocked. The drivers have gotten aggressive if they want to move.”

Salesforce was not involved in the construction of the transit center. A park adorning the rooftop of the terminal — which is located next door to the company’s new Salesforce Tower office — is also closed.

The first crack at the transit center was discovered Tuesday — the first day of the conference and the 54th birthday of Salesforce Co-Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff.

This isn’t the first construction-related headache to afflict San Francisco in recent years. The Millennium Tower, a residential complex and the city’s tallest building, has been sinking and tilting since opening in 2009. The developer, Millennium Partners, has blamed the sinking on the construction of the transit center across the street.