WETA

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) announced that the Ron Cowan Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility at Alameda Point will soon begin operations. WETA broke ground for the project in September 2016 (“Ferry Facility Dedicated,” Sept. 22, 2016). The late Ron Cowan was on hand for dedication of the building that bears his name. 

 

Ferry riders at the Alameda Main Street Terminal will soon be boarding the MV Hydrus, the cleanest running 400 passenger ferry in the world. The state-of-the-art ferry is designed for quicker on-boarding and off-boarding, faster speeds, low noise and vibration, and low emissions. The bicycle storage capacity will be more than doubled to 50 from the current capacity of 20 on the MV Encinal, which it will replace.

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) issued a new regional planning document on Aug. 30, with suggested housing numbers to meet state goals. MTC is requesting input from local jurisdictions. 

A draft response from City Planner Andrew Thomas slams the commission’s recommendations as being woefully out of touch with Alameda’s limited regional transit connections.

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) announced two East Bay firms have been pegged to design and construct an operation and maintenance facility at Alameda Point. Overaa Construction of Richmond and Power Engineering Construction of Alameda will be tasked with building the Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility. 

An architect’s rendering for the now approved WETA ferry maintenance facility shows the building not far from where the USS Hornet is docked. This image looks to the west, away from the rest of the city and toward Seaplane Lagoon

A new ferry maintenance facility is coming to Alameda Point, but not everyone is thrilled. While all welcome the good-paying jobs it will bring to Alameda, some are saying the facility is in the wrong location, and others, including Mayor Trish Spencer, are saying the city’s planning process for the facility was not transparent.

News Analysis

The lease for the Water Emergency Transport Authority (WETA) ferry maintenance comes before the City Council on March 3. Readers have expressed concerns about the harbor seal haul-out currently at the site of the facility. Despite lobbying and verbal assurance from WETA that it will build a new harbor seal haul-out, no written memorandum of understanding on the harbor seals exists for the City Council to consider. The lengthy lease agreement does not even mention the seals. 

 

The rain ended, the sun came out, and so did the harbor seals at Alameda Point. So many of them came out of the water to warm up on their new float on Jan. 5, hardly any of the structure was visible. The regional ferry agency installed the new float after removing an old Navy dock used by the seals, in order to make way for a ferry maintenance facility. 

 

Facing growing demand for ferry service, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s (WETA) board of directors authorized the purchase of two more 400-passenger ferry vessels at its Oct. 6 meeting. 

WETA previously ordered two ferries that are scheduled for delivery in 2017. The new order is for identical vessels from the same company, Vigor Kvichak LLC, with delivery set for the end of 2018.

 

Last Thursday, the Water Emergency Transportation Administration (WETA) broke ground at Alameda Point for its $49.5 million Ron Cowan Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility. 

 

A representative from the city of Alameda will discuss details of the proposed Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal plan in front of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) next Tuesday, June 7.

Alameda Point CEO Jennifer Ott will lead a collaborative that includes a representative from the Water Emergency Transportation Authority and two marine design teams, to give a presentation about the project in front of BCDC’s design review board. 

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