Maria Ayerdi Kaplan, developer of Salesforce Transit Center San Francisco and creator and first executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) has been wrongly tagged with causing the cost overruns that pushed the Transit Center to its eventual cost of over $2.2 billion. Here, in Part Seven, Ayerdi Kaplan explains the circumstances that formed the need for an upgraded security program.
The Transbay Transit Center Threat And Vulnerability Risk Assessment Of 2009 And 2012
When the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee praised Maria Ayerdi Kaplan’s work in not just developing the Salesforce Transit Center and Salesforce Tower Project, but surviving three mayors, he forgot to note the generational social changes that impacted the project.
Here’s Mayor Lee:
The TJPA conducted a Transbay Transit Center Threat and Vulnerability Risk Assessment (TVRA) in 2009 and 2012 at the direction of Maria Ayerdi Kaplan. She strongly believed that you only get one chance to build a 75-year service life building and to get it right from a security perspective. Her view was that making modifications after the building is complete, to address previously unaddressed or not fully addressed threats, is often so expensive or so disruptive to the design that it is unaffordable or renders the building not usable in the manner for which it was originally conceived to operate.
The upgrade to security was motivated in largely by the extraordinary increase in terrorist activity throughout the world in the decade between the events of Sept. 2001 and Sept 2011. Ayerdi Kaplan believed that she would have been remiss as the Executive Director to not have authorized the performance of a peer review and required an update of her earlier threat and vulnerability risk assessment to ensure that the final designs and construction of the Transit Center took into consideration all of the latest intelligence from the law enforcement and security services communities.
Never has this country seen such a change in the criminal paradigm as in the decade between 2000 and 2010, (which includes the horrible events of September 11th 2001) with the focus on security designs that attempt to protect buildings and occupants from individuals willing to give up their own lives as part of their criminal acts. This involves designs that focus as much attention on consequence management as on crime prevention.
Maria was convinced that ensuring that the designs for the Transit Center were up to the new risk realities and security standards was a prudent move. She has never been one to be reactive but rather proactive. In Ayerdi Kaplan’s view, any related costs were inconsequential compared to the deterrence factors they created, the potential reduction in recovery time to facility operations, and most importantly, the many lives that will be saved and injuries lessened as a result of the security upgrades associated with the 2012 TVRA design diligence.
If Maria had to do Salesforce Transit Center all over again, she would absolutely pursue the full security upgrades that she asked for. In her view, it would have been irresponsible and negligent not to design a safe and secure station for the public. Her focus was to design the safest Center possible. Designing the new Center with as many security features as possible to protect the public from an earthquake or terrorist attack was the most important thing to her.
The individuals who falsely alleged “cost overruns” conveniently chose to ignore that the booming construction market increased bid costs but also increased the value of the land Ms. Ayerdi sold. These same people also failed or refused to understand the criticality of safety and security for the new Center, the Physical Security Integrated Management (PSIM), the Emergency Communication System (ECS), and Mass Notification System (MNS).
In Ms. Ayerdi’s mind, if the Center wasn’t going to be safe for the thousands of people expected to visit it and the connected and surrounding properties, it was not worth building at all.
Stay tuned for Part Eight.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media