Meetings Discuss Fate of Ferries this Week

Two crucial meetings are scheduled to take place this week regarding the future of the proposed ferry terminal at the Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point. The ferry will provide commuters an additional option for public transit service from Alameda Point to San Francisco.

City Council held a meeting on Tuesday, April 5, to approve the adoption of the resolution on the new ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point. Details include finalizing the Environmental Impact Report for the project and approving the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Water Emergency Transportation Agency (WETA). The MOU provides a blueprint on how the new terminal will be financed and WETA’s role as the organization tasked with managing, operating and conducting maintenance on the terminal. 

WETA’s board of directors will hold its own meeting today, April 7, at 7 p.m., in City Hall to approve the ferry terminal design and confirm the terminal meets WETA’s ferry terminal standards. WETA and the city agreed to collaborate on the design. The proposed ferry terminal would operate as an addition to the existing ferry terminal at Main Street, not a replacement, according to a memorandum from city staff. 

The ferry terminal consists of both waterside and landside improvements. Some of the key waterside improvements include abutment and pier at entrance to the terminal to provide secure entry from land to pedestrian gangway, a new gangway that will connect the pier to a boarding float for entering and exiting the ferries.

Landside improvements include 400 new parking spaces, passenger drop off and pick up stations, bus stops, a passenger waiting area and new bicycle access routes. 

The memorandum also states that ferry service will include a minimum of three trips from Seaplane Lagoon to San Francisco between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be at least two trips from San Francisco to Seaplane Lagoon from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. 

Midday and weekend service are not anticipated at Seaplane Lagoon initially and will continue to be provided from the Main Street ferry terminal, until demand causes the city to reevaluate.

There are three major sources that comprise the cost of the project: terminal construction, vessel procurement and ongoing ferry service operations, including maintenance of the facility. According to the ferry terminal plan, city staff estimates it will cost $18.2 million for construction costs, $16 million to procure enough vessels and $1.2 million yearly for operation and maintenance costs. 

Some of the costs will be handled by Alameda Point Partners, (APP) a private developer that won the bid to develop Site A at Alameda Point. As part of the deal, signed off on June 16, 2015, APP will contribute $10 million toward the terminal development costs.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020, but city staff say construction would start sooner if they can obtain enough funding before the project date.

To learn more about the proposed terminal, visit the city’s website.