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Access Issue- Berkeley Sailing Basin

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Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Access Issue- Berkeley Sailing Basin Reply with quote

I hope I am not jumping on the SFBA toes.. but I just wanted to put this
out there as it seems a lot of berkeley sailors are unaware.

Dear Recreational Users of the Berkeley Sailing Basin-

As some of you may or may not know, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) is expanding the ferry service throughout the bay. Approximately two years ago I learned that this expansion could include a SF-Berkeley route, over other proposals such as SF-GoldenGateFields or SF-Richmond. I spent a few hours doing research and calculations and then wrote a letter to the WTA surmising the ludicrous plan of a Berkeley-SF ferry route. Namely-- lack of parking, lack of public transportation to the terminal, and obvious financial doom. The response I received was as surprising as the punchline is long:

The staff at the WTA, much like you, had no idea ... that Berkeley would score so high on future ridership numbers. Sometimes common sense is contrary to scientific study, as it turns out. Fortunately, we were able to enlist the support of trained professionals in the fields of market research and transportation planning to help us to understand the Bay Area transit market by performing technical studies.
-- Heidi Hachen of the WTA

The point missed is that this wasnt a scientific study, it was a market survey which is biased by the forecasting model. Although the WTA is still wobbling around on picking a terminal location, the current preference is at the DoubleTree hotel. Clearly the owner and management of the DoubleTree have a financial incentive and, indeed, they are assisting the WTA in getting the site approved.

If you are wondered how this affects the recreational users of the sailing basin, then try to imagine how the ferry passengers will be traveling to the ferry terminal. Considering the limited bus service, the majority of passengers will be arriving by personal car. In the WTA assessment of sites around berkeley/albany:
page 68 of the PDF:
there are 1,100 parking spaces in the vicinity of which 470 spaces would be available for ferry patron use. I am sure every one of us has seen the dirt parking lots overflowing and even had to park in the adjacent lots across University Ave. The DoubleTree has a large parking lot, all of which is for guest use only. The next large parking area are those directly across from the Cal Sailing Club and then the dirt lots directly behind CSC and adjacent to Cal Adventures. Whereas the WTA assessment has also included the spaces around HS LordShips/Skates, these are definitely not the spaces that morning commuters will choose considering the long walk to the DoubleTree. If half of the marina spaces are occupied by those commuting to SF, it is likely that by 11am the only open spaces will be at HS Lordships. It wont take long for the restaurant to begin enforcing a customer only policy-- individuals wishing to use the marina for recreation will need to arrive before commute hours to get a parking space.

How can you help?
1) You can visit to get more information on the proposed services.
2) email the WTA and voice your concern @

There was a very short survey of 600 berkeley and albany residents in which the WTA is using to claim that we are in favor of the service. Simply emailing the WTA the following will help:

Hello my name is __________ and I am resident of ________. I am strongly opposed to a ferry service based in Berkeley. I am particularly opposed to any site that utilizes the Berkeley Marina as this area is already overload and cannot support the service. Apparently there was a poll of support conducted by the WTA, please amend that poll to reflect my NO vote.

If you are a berkeley or albany resident, sending an email / letter to your city council will help too.

3) There is a WTA meeting scheduled for Thrs Aug27 1PM-4PM, Berkeley City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA. There will be discussing the Berkeley issue and there is a public comment session.

4) Pass this email around to others negatively affected by the proposed ferry service site.
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Joined: 02 May 1999
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject: RE: Access Issue- Berkeley Sailing Basin Reply with quote

Bradj, thanks for the info!

I live and windsurf in Berkeley and think a ferry would be a great idea--even if we lose some parking. Having an alternative commute into
SF is worth it.

To claim that the Marina is already overloaded is quite a stretch, as it is only crowded on the 4th of July and during the Kite Festival.

You are also neglecting all of the spots that the fishing-charters take up that are near the launch sites. These are typically taken at 5am and released at noon when the boats come back. So the spots would be blocked for the commuters and released just in time for the windsurfers in a sort of symbiotic fashion.

You should also know that one of the other sites under consideration is right next to the Berkeley pier, on Hs. Lardshits side. That would save a bunch of time so that the ferry wouldnt have to crawl thru the entire marina to the Doubletree.
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Joined: 29 Mar 1994
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:31 pm    Post subject: RE: Access Issue- Berkeley Sailing Basin Reply with quote


Peter Thorner with SFBA. Jim McGrath is on the SFBA Board and is following this issue a bit. It sounds like there was some effort to fasttrack the environmental analysis and I think that has been blocked. I think the reality is that the Berkeley Pier option that would put most of the cars in Hs Lordships lot could have the worst impact and right about the time we might get a new ramp at Hs Lordships with the Bay Trail improvements. The Berkeley Marina option seems like it would put the cars mostly on the north side of the marina. Under any plan, we need to push for some kind or parking restriction that favors recreational users so recreational access is not lost to commuter parking. Preveting a terminal in Berkeley entirely would be a tough sell. We fought for a couple of years to try and get better windsurf access at the Albany Bulb and were blocked by the environmental groups becuase we wanted to be able to park within a reasonable distance of the ideal launch. The waters off the Gilman and Albany site are considered rafting bird areas and as such, a terminal at those locations will be fought very hard by organized forces. The best bet in the near term is to make sure that the planners do an analysis that fully considers the existing use so that we can point to their documents if we have to fight to protect access or parking. The report assumed that most windsurfing is from Cal Sailing Club and Cal Adventures but misses the fact that there are many other users.

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Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2700

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: RE: Access Issue- Berkeley Sailing Basin Reply with quote

Actually, Im looking forward to surfing the ferry wake.
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