Peninsula ferry terminal to set sail 

Construction is set to begin in the next few months on a new ferry terminal at Oyster Point in South San Francisco, but a similar project in Redwood City remains years away from becoming a reality.

Crews hired by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, the regional agency created to expand ferry service in the Bay Area, have finished dredging the harbor and removing boat slips at the Oyster Point Marina to make way for the $26 million terminal project.

Construction teams are now finalizing design plans for the new terminal and the accompanying pier structures and expect to start building in the next few months, said Michael Gougherty, a staff planner for the authority.

If all goes according to plan, the Oyster Point terminal will open in fall 2011 and begin offering high-speed ferry service to Jack London Square in Oakland, about a 30-minute ride. City officials expect some companies in the area such as Genentech will bus employees to and from the terminal, Mayor Mark Addiego said.

Further south, meanwhile, another ferry terminal project at the Port of Redwood City is still in the early stages of environmental review, and is not yet fully funded.

Both projects are part of a larger effort to triple ferry service in the Bay Area over the next 25 years, but the Redwood City project was held up in late 2008 when the state temporarily suspended releasing money from Proposition 1B, a statewide transportation measure.

Now that the money is flowing again, Port of Redwood City Commission Secretary Lorianna Kastrop said she thinks the environmental review process will go smoothly because the city has already built the project into its new general plan. Gougherty expects a draft environmental impact report by fall 2011.

Funding for the project will need to be cobbled together from several sources, including the local sales tax Measure A and other state and local sources. While they don’t have a cost estimate yet, Kastrop said planners will try to build the terminal as efficiently as possible.

“We’ll do what’s necessary, but we won’t do anything too elaborate,” Kastrop said.

Water Emergency Transportation Authority officials say the Oyster Point terminal will help support job growth in the area — home to companies such as Genentech, Hitachi, Toshiba and UPS — in the coming decades. Officials project there will be 1,000 ferry rides from the terminal daily by 2025.

“It’s pretty difficult, transit-wise, to get from some of the outer- and even inner-East Bay sites to Oyster Point, which is a pretty significant employment center,” Gougherty said. “This is really filling the void.”

Covering the bases

Proposed routes for expanded ferry service in the Bay Area:

- South San Francisco-Oakland
- Berkeley/Albany-San Francisco
- Treasure Island-San Francisco
- Redwood City-San Francisco
- Hercules-San Francisco
- Richmond-San Francisco
- Antioch/Martinez-San Francisco

Source: Water Emergency Transportation Authority

PortFest gives residents chance to see city’s plans

Redwood City residents will get a glimpse of the future commuter ferry service next month during a festival highlighting the only deep-water port in the south part of San Francisco Bay.

One of the highlights of the first-ever Redwood City PortFest on Oct. 2 will be the display of a high-speed ferry boat similar to the ones planners hope will eventually whisk passengers from the mid-Peninsula to San Francisco and Oakland.

PortFest will also feature harbor tours on the Marine Science Institute vessel, sailboat rides, a bus tour of the port’s industrial metal and cement businesses and other activities intended to raise the profile of the port in the community, said Lorianna Kastrop, the secretary for the port commission who is organizing the event.

The city’s elected officials will also show off their brawn during a planned rowing race between members of the city council and the planning commission.

“It’s on the east side of 101 where people don’t necessarily have a reason to go out there unless they work out there,” Kastrop said of the port. “It just seemed to me it should feel more like a part of the community.”

IF YOU GO

PortFest

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2
Where: The Port of Redwood City Marina and public access area
More information: www.redwoodcityport.com

Event admission, parking and entertainment are all free to the public.

Source: City of Redwood City.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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Shaun Bishop

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