Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal Completed

Two ferries moored at the terminal on May 12 during testing of power-operated passenger ramps.
City of Alameda

Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal Completed

The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal was completed in August, but the opening is on hold until ferry ridership from the Alameda Main Street Terminal to San Francisco is on the upswing. Currently, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) is operating only one ferry on weekdays only, from Main Street to San Francisco, rather than two.

The seating capacity due to social distancing is 25 percent. It would take maxing out two ferries before WETA even considers opening the Seaplane Lagoon Terminal, according to WETA staff. At 25 percent, “maxing out” isn’t that many people.

Ridership numbers posted for Sept. 28 show that the 8:25 a.m. departure, for example, has an average of 47 seats filled, out of 70 available. With farebox recovery on the Alameda-Oakland-San Francisco route at 4 percent, the ferry service is operating at 96 percent in the red.

When service begins at the Seaplane Lagoon terminal, ferry service will continue at the Main Street Ferry Terminal, but the routes and schedules will change. Details and a sign-up option for email updates are on a special webpage called

Fun facts about the new terminal
* The passenger ramps on the dock are power operated.
* The battery backup power for the ferry terminal will provide approximately 48 hours of emergency power to all of the electronic and electrical equipment including the canopy, float and gangway lighting, the security cameras and the Clipper card system. The movable ramps will theoretically operate indefinitely since they also have two solar powers to keep their separate batteries charged up. If the outage lasts longer, an emergency generator can be plugged into a special connection in the parking lot.
* The parking lot lights are on a motion detector. When there is no activity, the lights dim and then go off in order to not create unnecessary light in the night sky.
* There are 36 electric vehicle “clean air” parking spots. Wiring is in place if the City decides to install chargers at these 36 spaces.
* There are 17 parking spots reserved for only public shoreline access, not ferry riders.
* There will be two single-headed electric vehicle chargers for the ADA spots and four double-headed electric vehicle chargers in the near future.
* The parking lot drains into the vegetation area called a bioretention basin, where it is prefiltered before entering the storm drain system.
* The parking lot, street, and Bay Trail are temporary. When a developer buys the waterfront land between the ferry terminal and the Site A development area, Ferry Point Road and the trail will be relocated east a few hundred feet. A new parking facility will also be built nearby. One indication that the parking lot is temporary is the new overhead electrical line. When the street is moved, the electrical line will go underground during the new street construction.

Richard Bangert post stories and photos about Alameda Point on his blog Alameda Point Environmental Report