|A New Commute Option for Berkeley
The Proposed Ferry Route:
• Berkeley to San Francisco
• Berkeley to San Francisco Ferry Building: 22 minutes
The Benefits of a Berkeley Ferry Service
Berkeley ferry service is a vital link in improving our regions emergency response capabilities as well as a sound transit investment. Following natural or man-made disasters, a Berkeley ferry terminal increases our region's ability to respond quickly to evacuate passengers. The proposed Berkeley ferry service is forecast to provide an estimated 1716 weekday ferry passenger trips by 2025, one of the highest ridership levels of the new proposed Bay Area ferry routes. The ferry service will provide a stress free, environmentally friendly transit option for commuting to and from San Francisco, as well as a destination for students, shoppers, outdoor enthusiasts and sightseers. It can provide a unique bay experience to many who may not otherwise enjoy easy access to the bay, providing opportunities for special outings for school groups, seniors, and other groups.
The Federal Transit Administration and the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) prepared an Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/S) for the proposed construction of a ferry terminal along the Berkeley/Albany waterfront. The preferred terminal site recommended in he Draft document was approved by the WETA Board of Directors at its April 2, 2009 meeting.
Download the Full Draft EIR/EIS (PDF, 44.3 MB, large download)
ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
The major environmental issues associated with the Berkeley fishing pier site include parking impacts in and around the Berkeley Marina, potential impacts associated with the construction of a breakwater to protect the terminal from adverse weather, local traffic impacts, and impacts to wind surfers who use the project site for recreational purposes. The DEIR/S acknowledged each of these issues and the FEIR/S, which will be published in late 2009, will include design refinements to mitigate all potential environmental impacts. Many environmental groups including the Sierra Club, Golden Gate Audubon Society, and the Sustainable Recycling and Wildlife Group, commented that the sites at the foot of University were environmentally superior to other sites evaluated and that impacts at the Berkeley Fishing Pier site could be substantially mitigated.
DESIGN OF THE BERKELEY FERRY TERMINAL
The proposed Berkeley ferry terminal will be designed using LEED principles to meet the guidelines proposed in WTA's 2003 Plan, which includes standardizing the way passengers move through the terminals, buy their tickets, and receive information, enhancing shoreline access for both passengers and non-passengers and being in harmony with the community's surroundings. The Berkeley ferry terminal will be a welcoming gateway to the Berkeley waterfront and will provide a safe, efficient, comfortable and attractive environment that is an extension of the ferry ride itself.
The terminal will also be compatible with ferry system operational needs including safe and fast vessel docking, and flexibility to handle all sizes and heights of ferry boats in any tide conditions, all important aspects for emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. The terminal must be fully compliant with ADA requirements, optimize crew and passenger safety, be built to sustain a major earthquake and to last 50 or more years.
PARKING FOR FERRY RIDERS
The DEIR/S identifies the need for 400 parking spaces for ferry riders. WETA is continuing to evaluate options for meeting this parking need, including working with the City on a parking plan that uses the existing Hs Lordships' parking lot when available, supplemented with valet parking in areas near the Berkeley Marina. Hs Lordships' lot is currently configured to park about 316 vehicles, leaving an unmet need for 400 additional parking spaces for ferry passengers. Public parking along the shoreline accommodates 93 vehicles, all of which will be retained/provided for if terminal is built.
ANTICIPATING INITIAL FERRY SERVICE
The start of Berkeley ferry service depends on timely completion of design and approval of permits and on WETA's ability to obtain additional funding needed for terminal and vessel construction.
The Emergency Response:
• A ferry terminal in Berkeley could provide emergency access to the East Bay if highway and bridge travel is disrupted.
• New and increased ferry service was used in 1989 to transport
passengers and supplies after the Loma Prieta Earthquake blocked access
to and damaged the Bay Bridge.
• In 23 years, ferries have been used six times in the Bay Area to replace damaged or disrupted transportation links.
THE CONSTRUCTION COSTS
The total estimated $57 million project cost includes $34 for terminal construction and $23 million for the vessels. The $34 million estimated costs of the terminal includes all environmental, design and engineering, mitigation and construction costs. The $23 million vessel costs includes costs for two 25 knot, 199 passenger-only ferries.
WETA Project background:
WETA (the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority) was established by SB976, and replaces the WTA (Water Transit Authority). The intention of SB 976 is to improve the ability of ferries to respond in an emergency.
Read More About WETA
San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority
Pier 9, Suite 111, San Francisco CA, 94111