Expansion of Ferry Building planned to add more Bay travel 

click to enlarge A $110 million proposal aims to increase local ferry options, especially between The City and East Bay cities such as Richmond and Berkeley.
  • A $110 million proposal aims to increase local ferry options, especially between The City and East Bay cities such as Richmond and Berkeley.

Three new docks at the Ferry Building, along with better access to ferries by land, are part of a plan to widely expand water-based transportation on San Francisco Bay.

The $110 million proposal would take years to build, but would be able to handle the eventual growth envisioned for water travel.

"We have a plan under which we are looking at various areas we might expand," said Ernest Sanchez, a spokesman for ferry operator the Water Emergency Transportation Authority. "It's part of an evaluation process where we look at routes, infrastructure and possibly more vessels."

Sanchez said additional service to Richmond and Berkeley is at the top of the list. Service to Antioch, Hercules, Martinez, Redwood City and Treasure Island also is being considered, according to planning documents. The transportation agency currently runs ferries to Vallejo, Oakland, Alameda and South San Francisco with a fleet of 11 ships.

Under the proposal, three new piers and ferry gates would be built at the Ferry Building. Pedestrian areas also would be revamped to include new canopies in waiting areas and protection from weather, along with a staging area for evacuees in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake.

Significant land improvements, according to planning documents, would include new waiting and passenger queuing areas and a plaza along The Embarcadero from the Ferry Building south to the Agriculture Building at Mission Street, where there is a small open area.

The new plaza would be roughly 24,500 square feet and expand upon the existing open area roughly 460 feet into the water. As a result, it would require new decks and pilings and surface improvements.

The proposal is currently under environmental review and the public is invited to see the plans during a community meeting today.

The Port of San Francisco owns the piers at the Ferry Building and contracts with the WETA to provide ferry service.

IF YOU GO

What: Public meeting regarding Ferry Building expansion

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Pier 1, Bayside Conference Room, The Embarcadero

Note: Public is invited to learn about environmental impact report for project

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