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WETA/Berkeley Ferry & Pier Planning Meeting
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Several of us have been working on a more formal response to the City of Berkeley and WETA regarding their plans to replace the pier with a combined pier and ferry terminal. That “White Paper” is copied below for your information.

We hope to present it at the next meeting of the City Parks & Waterfront Commission, which is by Zoom tomorrow/Wednesday evening:

Parks and Waterfront Commission at 7 – 9 pm on Wednesday June 9th
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 969 7451 2296
AGENDA: 8. Presentation Update on PRW Major Maintenance Projects, 9. Presentation Overview Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Project, 10. Update Pier Ferry/BMASP Projects, 11. Update FY 2022 Budget, 12. Update Santa Fe ROW Parks Project, 13. Discussion/Action: Bayer Development Agreement, 14. Consolidation of commissions.

Please consider:

1. Joining this public meeting and/or submitting your comments.

2. Formally becoming a co-signer of the White Paper (just email me and/or Camille to do so).

Meanwhile, I’ve been informed that the City has repainted the east curb of Seawall Drive to add additional legal parking near the His Lordships Cove launch. That is definitely a win for recreational users.

Cheers, David


TO: City of Berkeley & WETA Pier/Ferry Planning Staff, Parks and Waterfront Commission, Berkeley City Council
FROM: Marina User Groups
SUBJECT: Berkeley Pier/Ferry Planning Process Concerns
DATE: June 8, 2021
We represent a community of recreational users at the Berkeley Marina. We would like to clarify our view of Marina development plans regarding possible reconstruction of the pier, ferry service and overall design process. We are not against ferry service in Berkeley provided that it is part of a comprehensive effort, carefully planned and funded, that would enhance the overall recreational value of the Berkeley Marina. We are concerned that the current planning effort is ferry-centric and will not achieve such a result.
The sections below note observed gaps in the planning process which we ask the City/WETA planners to address with greater depth of information, standards that we think the plan should meet, unfunded needs and barriers to improving recreation at the marina, and various planning steps that are being overlooked. We hope this document is helpful and would like these points taken into account for BMASP and pier/ferry development.
After attending community meetings and other Parks and Waterfront Commission and City Council meetings where marina planning was discussed, we observed a lack of specific information that would appear to be basic input needed to arrive at the current ferry-centric stance the city has taken. We would like more information made public on the following questions as we lead up to the July 20th community meeting for BMASP and before final designs are authorized:
• What is the maximum planned daily ridership of the ferry service?
• What parking lots will be used, and how many spaces in each lot are envisioned for ferry
• How will recreational use parking lots be protected against commuter parking?
• Will a new restaurant for the Hs Lordships (199 Seawall) space be ruled out by the ferry
• Will windsurfer, kayaker and swimmer access to the Hs Lordships/199 Seawall cove be
ruled out by the ferry terminal?
• Will Bay recreational use between Hs Lordships and the existing pier be impacted?
• How much will the WETA project pay towards the replacement of the fishing pier?
• What will be Berkeley’s financial liability if the ferry is unsuccessful?
Almost any project within the marina must navigate a permitting system involving multiple state and federal agencies. One of those agencies, the Bay Conservation and Development
Commission (BCDC) has provided a very clear standard for consideration of a ferry terminal in the Berkeley Marina, which is designated as a waterfront park in their Bay Plan. It provides that:
Ferry terminals may be allowed in waterfront park priority use areas and marinas and near fishing piers and launching lanes, provided the development and operations of the ferry facilities do not interfere with current or future park and recreational uses, and navigational safety can be assured. Terminal configuration and operation should not disrupt continuous shoreline access. Facilities provided for park and marina patrons, such as parking, should not be usurped by ferry patrons. Shared parking arrangements should be provided to minimize the amount of shoreline area needed for parking (emphasis added) (San Francisco Bay Plan, BCDC, Recreation: Policies, paragraph 9, amended 2006,, accessed June 6, 2021).
While other policies, including the Clean Water Act, call for a robust analysis of alternatives that would minimize dredging and fill, this standard must be met or the efforts of the City and WETA, and the public funds used in that effort, will have been wasted. The planning process must successfully navigate many issues, including provisions in the Clean Water Act Section 404(b) guidelines that require a rigorous analysis of alternatives that might reduce dredging and fill. For our purposes, we want to make sure that any ferry terminal proposal in the master plan is one that minimizes the impact on established uses, and includes full mitigation for adverse impacts. We believe that this is required under the Bay Plan policies cited above.
Problems in the marina have developed over a long period, without any recent efforts by the City to provide adequate funding. The initial construction of the Berkeley Marina began in 1936 as a WPA project. Most of the marina was constructed after completion of a new Master Plan in 1960, so facilities are over 60 years old. The large area of Cesar Chavez Park has been added to the responsibilities of the marina and the marina fund—even though it is a closed solid waste facility that the City is responsible for funding. Berkeley did not create a funding structure to accumulate funds for replacing facilities as they wore out, and current staffing levels are only 2/3 of what they were in 2006. Berkeley needs increased revenue, from either new commercial facilities, the general fund, or the parks tax, to begin repairing the long list of deferred maintenance. It is not clear that a lease arrangement with WETA would provide net revenues or any significant pay-down of the unfunded infrastructure.
Below are distinct Marina assets and their funding status:
1. PIER Restoration of the Berkeley Pier as a recreational resource including fishing should be a top priority. It is our understanding that WETA has only proposed to fund the first 300 feet of a restored pier located seaward of the existing marina, which would leave the city with a cost of $15 to $20 million to complete a pier that was at least 1500 feet long. The existing pier is 3000 feet in length. The City has not engaged the fishing

community to determine whether or not a shorter pier would provide fishing opportunities that are equivalent to the existing, damaged pier.
2. MARINA DREDGING. It is not clear to us how long it has been since the Berkeley entrance channel has been dredged. However, at the current depth, only one of the three entrance channels can be used at low tides, and boats commonly scrape bottom or get stuck in the multiple shoals. The lack of maintenance dredging has contributed to the current vacancies at the marina, and prevents the marina from attracting larger boats that might help pay for maintenance.
3. TRAILS. The City has largely relied on grant funding for completion of the Bay Trail segments that have increased public use of the marina. However, the Bay Trail has not been extended beyond Adventure Playground, and many of the trails in the marina and Cesar Chavez do not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
4. VEGETATION. Berkeley marina is an oasis of habitat extending out into the Bay. Some of the designs we have seen have involved removing vegetation to create parking for the proposed ferry terminal. The marina is protected as a waterfront park in BCDC’s Bay Plan, and has a substantial level of protection as a public trust area under Berkeley’s 1986 ordinance, Measure L. As such, the value of the marina’s vegetation should be maintained or enhanced.
5. ACCESS AT THE COVE ADJACENT TO THE FORMER H’S LORDSHIPS. One of the reasons that we believe funding must be assured in the current planning effort is the sad fate of the proposals in the existing Marina Specific Plan, adopted by the Council in 1986. That plan provided for improving the informal access for windsurfers to this small cove. Despite an offer of funding from the Coastal Conservancy, and a completed design, this improvement was never built. This access point continues to be used by windsurfers, and has now become a popular spot for swimmers as well.
6. LOW TIDE ACCESS IN THE SOUTH BASIN. Sediment has accumulated in the South Basin to the point where it impairs the ability of Cal Sailing Club and Cal Adventures to teach sailing activities. The City has secured numerous grants to provide access to the water, and has a responsibility to provide a facility that will be useful for the life of those improvements. The master planning effort needs to consider options such as dredging the South Basin or moving some of those facilities to the H’s Lordships peninsula where they could operate during more tidal conditions.
The policy in the Bay Plan cited above makes it clear that a ferry terminal cannot be approved if it usurps parking for recreational users. While many parking spaces exist within the marina, not all of those spaces are of equal value to end users. Many of the efforts of the city to accommodate new uses like the Parking Division and small ferries occurred without preparation and approval of a comprehensive parking plan. With closure of the lot on the H’s Lordship’s Peninsula, other lots within the marina fill up on weekends and holidays. The number of

swimmers in the marina has increased dramatically, and completion of the Bay Trail and South Basin improvements have made the marina an attractive spot for starting a bicycle trip, a run, or a walk along the Bay Trail. The City must prepare a rigorous parking plan based on information, not conjecture. Claims by WETA that their patrons will not usurp parking and will use alternatives must be supported by facts, not aspirations. Currently, all of WETA’s terminals around the Bay provide free parking, and where parking is limited, as on Harbor Bay Island, patrons park in the surrounding neighborhoods.
As an Appendix to this document we include analysis, Parking and Traffic Implication of WETA Berkeley Ferry Project, by a Cal Sailing Club member, which provides a breakdown of parking needs, parking and traffic conflicts given WETA ferry terminal scenarios and dredging and other issues. Although we realize that the City is planning Marina roadway improvements (see
there are still no clear plans to address parking and traffic concerns should a ferry service be put into place. The
addendum points out major planning gaps on this potentially major problem. We ask that those involved in the planning process speak to the specific issues raised in this document at the next planning meeting.
Finally, we strongly urge the city to engage two communities that should have input into decision making—people who fish, and people who swim. Without information on how the fishing community used the pier, there is the possibility that the city will propose a design that will be too short to provide quality fishing—or longer than it really needs to be. Similarly, the nature of improvements to safely separate people fishing from those just walking on the pier need to be considered. Perhaps belvederes should be incorporated into the design. A similar outreach effort to swimmers should be undertaken. We see swimmers every day between the State Park and the cove adjacent to the former H’s Lordships, along frontage road near Ashby, and often west of Seawall Drive. The City needs to recognize that the warming climate has made the Bay more attractive for swimming, and that trend will continue. Providing facilities for safely accommodating all the existing users now, and into the future, should be required in any update of a master plan.
To that end, Cal Sailing Club is undertaking a survey of fishermen at the Marina to build a database of this community’s responses to pier/ferry designs. Fishing is a popular activity in the marina and would also constitute a major use of the pier whenever it reopens. It is important to resolve any conflicts with this recreational use prior to deciding on final design. In the pretest phase of the survey project, we interviewed six fishermen. Of those, three preferred the pier/ ferry design option known as “C” with a T-shape and northside ferry berthing. Reasons given were so that the ferry would not interfere with fishing and windsurfing and other recreational activities observed by the fishermen, all of which mainly occur on the southside of the existing pier. Another two had no preference and one preferred the “B” fishhook design for aesthetic reasons. Comments on a mixed use approach to the pier included notes that the pier should be constructed to minimize interference and conflicts between ferry passengers and fishermen, who need to cast lines, perhaps need benches or rod holders along the pier, and want a modernized fishing station. Most commented on how dangerous the rip rap was for retrieving fish and

snagging lines and would like to see better fishing access, by reconstruction of the pier or otherwise (possibilities include a platform constructed off the walkway along Seawall Dr.).
We will continue to collect data and provide a fuller report to you prior to the July 20 meeting. Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.
Camille Antinori, Cal Sailing Club (CSC) Peter Kuhn, CSC
Gordon Stout, CSC
David Fielder, Windsurf Launch Steward
Parking and Traffic Implication of WETA Berkeley Ferry Project, prepared by Gordon Stout of Cal Sailing Club.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 10:42 am    Post subject: Marina Petition - New Reply with quote

There is now a "" petition circulating re Berkeley Marina planning. Here is the access url - please take a minute to sign.

Next Public meeting is July 20th.

Thanks, David


Just published the petition to save the Berkeley waterfront.

Please go to:

to sign the petition. Please share widely!!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Marina Pier/Ferry Planning Zoom meeting just postponed until August 10th.

url with access info here:

Word is there are some important developments.

Meanwhile, MoveOn petition now at 321 signatures.

Cheers, David
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2021 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reminder of the second Zoom meeting this coming Tuesday:

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Pier-Ferry Planning Study Community Workshop #2 at 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 994 2287 9717
AGENDA: 1. Project team will present conceptual alternatives and facilitate group discussions on the shape of the pier, the siting of the ferry terminal, land-side parking/mobility considerations and community recreation needs.
email comments to:

MoveOn Petition now at 389 signatures - hope you all have signed?

Hope many of you will weigh in regarding pier/ferry/marina concerns during the pblic comment portion(s) of the workshop. Alternatively, send emails to the BMASP email link above (cc’s to me appreciated!)?

Cheers, David
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some talking points for tomoprrow's Zoom (8/10).

Plus reminder to review the critical, updated pier/ferry FAQs with link at the main website:

Hope many of us will join for the break-out sessions.

Cheers, David


Talking pts for 8/10/21:

BMASP coordination

FAQs talk about how the ferry/pier planning coordinates with the BMASP context. Like Q5.

What is the BMASP context? Has that been established?
If not, how to know that a specific plan for a pier/ferry would fit the BMASP program?
Would any of the pier/ferry designs fit into a BMASP program?
What are the BMASP planning guidelines in regards to size and scope of a ferry design?
Would building a commercial hub limit or prevent current and future uses of the waterfront?

BMASP vision

Q5 mentions the recreational use and environmental stewardship aspects of BMASP.
What about other factors, like cultural and historical uses and significance for the waterfront? Are those being considered?
Does recreation consider other uses besides sports, like family leisure, sitting in parks, or just sitting and relaxing while enjoying the view, which is what many people come to the marina to do?

Questionnaire report and ridership numbers

The questionnaire being reported involves about 800-900 persons. Also, note that other ferries like Richmond and Jack London Square and Alameda have actual ridership, pre-Covid, well below originally projected numbers.
How is the questionnaire being used in the planning process?
Is this questionnaire being used as the basis for ridership numbers?
Is it considered part of the feasibility study? If not, what is the basis of ridership numbers? How was the questionnaire disseminated? Only through BMASP and perhaps Berkeleyside?
Is there any plan to survey Bart riders and current WETA riders from other parts of Bay to determine possible switchover to using a Berkeley ferry?

Other ridership numbers issues

Better to use a range of expected ridership numbers that builds in uncertainty re expectations and probability of different scales of ridership into the planning process?
Shouldother funding sources be considered , like a bond measure to redevelop the Marina In case a ferry the size WETA needs for operation cannot be supported or justified?
If ridership does not meet , where do funds for maintenance of pier and rest of Marina come from?

Scale of ferry

What other scales of the ferry are being considered, such as
200 riders per day?
What is the smallest sized ferry WETA would consider?

Special interests

Mayor mentioned that there is broad support for a ferry from other groups not at the meetings. Such as businesses and the university.
How are those interests being taken into account?
How are those entities' interests being integrated with interests presented here at these meetings?
How are fishing uses being evaluated?

Previous round of ferry plans

What are the lessons from the previous pier/ferry proposal in 2008-2010 that we can use here, including detailed evaluation of the Pt. Richmond terminal that was built instead?
How does the current WETA plan address the reasons for that prior rejection?
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pier/Ferry 8/10/21 Workshop #2 - Summary Report


Now that the dust has settled, I'll share info from the WETA/City of Berkeley (CoB) Pier/Ferry workshop on 8/10/21, along with additional insights.
August 10th Workshop slides at this url (selected screenshots attached below):
1. Around 70 public participants - but no discussion except within four breakout groups - compiled/edited results shared by staff.
2. Surprise draft suggestion for a floating kayak launch dock in His Lordship’s Cove - promptly rejected by several participants with knowledge of conditions.
3. "This terminal would be the most exposed to wind/waves/storms of any of WETA's locations" (from WETA's consulting engineer). Boats would not be docked overnight and operations would be shut down if/when conditions warranted.
4. Electric-powered vessels are projected, but they are much less maneuverable due to battery limitations - resulting in dock design/location implications. However, no comparable electric vessels currently available (to my knowledge). Same is true for diesel particulate filtered vessels (current fleet has no filters).
5. MARSEC Security Rules: This concern was raised by participant. May require additional design and water access restrictions than are currently envisioned.
6. Pier/Ferry Concept #1 - "Sword” - (A&B - Slides pg 23 - attached): This approach appears to be developing into a consensus due to minimal recreational impact, minimal dredging, etc. Deletion of the southern "guard" portion of the "Sword Hilt" along with integrated wave/windbreak would further improve (as noted during session).
7. WETA/CoB study does NOT include an extended "recreational" portion of the pier (thus all the dotted lines). WETA wouldn't pay for it and CoB would have to pay $15-30M extra (Slides pg #7 - attached). Walkable pier just prior to closure in 2015 was 3,000 ft in length.
8. WETA is now cutting ticket prices and expanding route schedules in attempt to improve ridership. This approach in spite of operations already requiring 90%+ subsidization. All WETA operations data and costs are available monthly via the WETA Board website and agenda packet:
My Current Perspective:
a. WETA is paying for majority of this study (CoB smaller %). Thus, no interest in studying small-scale, harbor-located ferry option.
b. WETA's "business model" will drive their decision. Zero interest in small-scale, in-harbor service. Several other cities "in the running". Not at all clear that Berkeley will "win out" - just as in 2010 when WETA shifted its focus from Berkeley to Pt. Richmond.
c. CoB will need to commit $1.4 Million early in 2022 just to continue design process. WETA's share would be more like $3-5M. Some are starting to predict that this second study phase will not occur.
d. Actual pier construction would not start until 2024/5, at earliest. This assumes no law suits or need for voter approval (Measure L, etc).
e. A ferry terminal will likely do little for the financial viability of the Marina. Most agree that berths, hotels, and restaurants will always be primary sources of income/taxes. Of course, if that revenue isn't dedicated to the Marina, it won't matter. Marina solvency is mainly dependent on the BMASP study and CoB Council decisions. The City of San Leandro shut down their marina due to similar financial problems.
f. Berkeley's small-scale, in-harbor Tideline ferry has already proven un-economical (of course it's not taxpayer subsidized). No good reason to predict WETA's operation will prove otherwise. Meanwhile, I've requested access to a small-scale ferry study produced for CoB in 2017 by GHD.
I am more hopeful that IF a pier/ferry plan goes forward it will be the "Sword" model, with minimal on-water recreational impact (still some caveats, MARSEC, etc). This is the one current planning decision that will be "set in stone", and thus has been my primary focus (starting in 2009).
However, it is likely that Council will ultimately realize that the remaining issues, including costs to CoB, environmental impact, economic viability, minimal Marina financial support, unrealistic ridership projections, and parking impacts are too onerous to justify this WETA partnership.
Having to put any final CoB decision to a vote further complicates matters.
Meanwhile, we should continue to monitor closely. Next public review may be in October.
Cheers, David


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