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Proposed Ferry Terminal near Hs Lordships, Berkeley Marina
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maurice



Joined: 19 Apr 2000
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:37 am    Post subject: Proposed Ferry Terminal near Hs Lordships, Berkeley Marina Reply with quote

Has anyone seen the Berkeley/Albany Ferry Terminal Study Draft EIS/EIR?. The public comment period for this document ends on December 31, 2008. The study identifies four potential sites for a ferry terminal, two of which are at the Berkeley Marina. One site (Site A) is located in the boat harbor near the Hornblower Yachts and Double Tree Hotel. Site B is located south of the fishing pier near Hs. Lordships. The ferry terminal would require a 400 space parking lot. The site near Hs. Lordships would require a new breakwater upwind of the restaurant to protect the terminal. It is interesting to note that the Draft EIS/EIR does not identify any impacts to recreation for a ferry terminal facility south of the Berkeley Pier. Anyone who regularly windsurfs in Berkeley knows that some of the best sailing is usually found just up wind of the restaurant between the pier and the shoals. Much of this sailing area would be closed off to windsurfing if a ferry terminal were constructed south of the pier, not to mention the impacts to parking for those who launch from the restaurant. My understanding is the Albany City Council does not like the sites studied in Albany and they are recomending that the terminal be placed at the Berkeley Marina south of the fishing pier. As a windsurfer, my opinion is that if a ferry terminal has to be built at the Berkeley Marina, it should be placed inside the marina harbor (Site A). It would be great if the SFBA and all windsurfers concerned could send in a comment letter before the closing date of December 31, 2008. The following is a link to the City of Berkeley website where you can download a copy of the 588 page study.

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=29844

I believe that the comments should be sent to:


San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority
Pier 9 Suite 111
San Francisco, CA 94111

or maybe you can email your comments to WETA's Community Relations Manager, Shirely Douglas

Douglas@watertransit.org <Douglas@watertransit.org>


I'm currious to hear what others think of this issue.
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windsrf



Joined: 01 May 1998
Posts: 344

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree and am equally concerned. Thanks for post and suggestion of who to contact.
David
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windoggie



Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2700

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the heads up, Maurice. While I'm not against a ferry from our area, (wakesurfing anyone?) I think the biggest concern for windsurfers are parking and rigging areas. We Berkeley locals all remember the labirinth. (or however you spell it) Actually, I think it's a slim chance at best for the terminal being located near our launches. Gillman street and the racetrack area would be the logical choice. I could be wrong though...we need to make our voices heard.
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maurice



Joined: 19 Apr 2000
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Proposed Ferry Terminal near Hs Lordships, Berkeley Marina Reply with quote

windoggie wrote:
Thanks for the heads up, Maurice. While I'm not against a ferry from our area, (wakesurfing anyone?) I think the biggest concern for windsurfers are parking and rigging areas.



I'm not against a ferry from our area either. I think that wakesurfing could be a great amenity. The issue would be that with the proposed breakwater needed to protect the terminal south of the pier, we would loose all that great swell we get upwind and near the restuarant. The area directly upwind of the restaurant and towards the pier would become flatwater sailing and possibly restricted for windsurfers due to the ferry traffic. Also, any wakesurfing would probably be well upwind of the new breakwater well beyond the break in the pier. If the terminal is located inside the marina harbor, they don't need the new breakwater and we could do all the wakesurfing out in the Circle.

By the way, the EIR states that there are alot more environmental issues related to the Gilman Street and racetrack options so I think it could really end up at the Berkeley Marina.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 10908
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have looked at the EIR and plan to comment. Windoggie is right, I think, that the biggest flaw in the document is the failure to treat recreatonal parking as a resource that is essential to using the recreational resources of the marina and the adjacent State Park. As I read the Federal Transportation Act, those have the highest level of protection. They neither acknowledge the parking nor provide mitigation.

The actual terminal outside of the marina is far enough offshore that it wouldn't block access directly. But we have had trouble getting the City to pony up any money for improving the launch at Hs. Lordships, and this will allow them to stall some more. I think that the cost of a breakwater plus mitigation would be very high, but I will use the comments I have gathered here to formulate a response on behalf of San Francisco Boardsailors Association. Thanks!

Mac
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maurice



Joined: 19 Apr 2000
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Proposed Ferry Terminal near Hs Lordships, Berkeley Marina Reply with quote

Mac,

Here is some more info for SFBA's response.

Figure 2-10 showing the concept for the terminal south of the Pier includes a proposed breakwater in the north-south alignment. This breakwater will protect the terminal from waves generated by prevailing southwest and westerly winds. However, the bigest wave in this area is generated by the northwest winds given it has the greatest fetch. As windsurfers we have all experienced the huge swell on those northwesterly clearing wind sessions. What this boils down to is that the cost estimate in Table ES-3 for Alternative B is most likely too low since it appears that they have not accounted for this additional breakwater. They probably need to add another $4,000,000 to the cost . This cost is in line with the price Emeryville recently paid to construct a new breakwater designed for the waves generated by the northwesterly winds. Hopefully this information would help convince them that Alternative A is more feasible.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for galvanizing me to comment on this. I will send these comments out today:John Sindzinski
Water Emergency Transportation Authority
Pier 9, Suite 111, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111

Subject: Comments on the draft EIR for the Berkeley/Albany Ferry Terminal

Dear Mr. Sindzinski:

I am writing as an individual, but I am vice president of the San Francisco Boardsailor’s Association (SFBA), an organization devoted to protecting the safety and access rights of the windsurfing community who sail on San Francisco Bay. Many of our members sail in Berkeley, launching from the South Basin docks and from the small cove just west of Hs. Lordships restaurant. We also rely on parking within the marina because windsurfing equipment is bulky, and is almost always transported to the site by car. We believe that our recreational use is an established use, fully protected by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and by Section 4(f) of the Federal Transportation Act. Unfortunately, the EIR falls well short of acceptable standards for analyzing and mitigating impacts to recreational use. The following are my specific comments.

STANDARDS FOR PROTECTION

The interest of the public in reaching the tidelands without undue restriction has been so important a matter that it is enshrined in the State Constitution, and has been given more modern emphasis in legislation such as the MacAteer-Petris Act that created BCDC. The Constitutional provision is included in Section 4 of Article 10, and provides:

No individual ... shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water ... or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall always be attainable for the people thereof.

One such law that is intended to increase access is the MacAteer-Petris Act, which provides in Section 66602 that:

...existing public access to the shoreline and waters of the San Francisco Bay is inadequate and that maximum feasible public access, consistent with a proposed project, should be provided.


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The EIR acknowledges the importance of Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, but applies it in such a constrained manner to consideration of parking and actual recreational use so as to render the document completely inadequate.

DIRECT ACCESS IMPACTS

Alternative B would place a ferry terminal, an access pier, and a breakwater in an area of San Francisco Bay that has been used for recreational boating, windsurfing, and kayaking, for decades. I have sailed out of Berkeley marina since 1979, and have participated in various kinds of racing events in the area contemplated for the ferry terminal.

The EIR identifies the area where the terminal is proposed in Figure 2-10, however that figure includes a note that it is not to scale. Some details of the potential size of the facility can be gleaned from discussion in the text that shows the terminal will include a breakwater 300 feet long, located 725 feet from shore. No analysis of the impacts of that facility on in-Bay recreational use is included in the document in Chapter 4. Indeed, the discussion of recreational impacts is so cursory and conclusory as to render the document virtually unusable for CEQA purposes.

It appears that the immediate footprint of the terminal would occupy approximately 5 acres of area now actively used for recreation. It appears obvious to us that actively used Public Trust lands are afforded the protections of Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, and the silence of the document on recreational impacts on the water renders it legally insufficient for decision making purposes.

The poorly detailed Figure 2-10 indicates that the construction of the terminal parking would eliminate 2 areas now used for rigging sails, and might impair access to the water as well. The design conflicts with the adopted alignment for the Bay Trail, which includes substantial improvements to the windsurfing launch at Hs. Lordships. The EIR makes no mention of these physical impacts.

INDIRECT IMPACTS

There are two indirect impacts that concern the windsurfing community: usurpation of parking and modification of swell. By its very intent, the breakwater proposed will alter the swell characteristics in this recreational area, both in the lee of the structure and to windward, where reflected waves will create a substantial more chaotic wave climate. The recreational use in the marina, particularly in the area near Hs. Lordships restaurant, uses that swell as a recreational resource. Waves on California’s coast are readily seen as a recreational resource, but they also warrant protection within the Bay where they are actively used for recreation.

Further, it appears obvious to most windsurfers that a single off-shore breakwater may not be sufficient to protect ferries during substantial southern winds, which occur both during the summer and during winter storms. Any increase in the size of the breakwater will increase the
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impacts to recreational use, as well as the associated fill and biological impacts. In fact, the biggest wave in this area is generated by the northwest winds given it has the greatest fetch. As windsurfers we have all experienced the huge swell on those northwesterly clearing wind sessions. In order to operate in the winter, we believe that an additional breakwater would be required, increasing fill, dredging, and recreational impacts. Emeryville needed an additional breakwater to provide shelter with their marina from these swells. This affects the fundamental test of an EIR—identifying all significant impacts and alternatives that would avoid those impacts. The likely costs are critical because all feasible mitigation measures must be included, and the public must be given an opportunity to comment on both the selection of alternatives and the sufficiency of mitigation measures. In this case the EIR does not include any analysis of recreational impact, or sufficient information on wave energy and sheltering, to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions or develop mitigation measures. As such, the document is inadequate and must be revised and circulated again for comment.

It is in the arena of parking where the document is perhaps most appalling as a tool for decision-making. I would remind you of my letter of last December, where I noted the importance of parking for recreational users at the marina, which is entirely a recreational facility protected under Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act. The EIR acknowledges a demand for 388 parking spaces for ferry patrons, but fails to analyze the impact of using those parking spaces on established recreational users. Instead, the document simply asserts that the proposed parking area for Alternative A “would not directly or indirectly affect use or access to the park.” However, the proximity of Alternative A to the South Basin, where most of the public oriented uses occur, assures that any spill-over of parking demand from the ferry terminal would adversely affect these users. That parking is completely occupied on many weekends, and recreational demand is quite high on virtually any windy weekday. The failure to provide quantitative analysis, or identify existing users is a deep flaw in the draft document. For Alternative B, the document (p. 4-39) limits its inquiry to the impact on Shorebird Park, and fails to mention any other protected recreational use, which should include windsurfing and fishing along the breakwater, both uses of longstanding within the Marina. The document relies on a generalized conclusion that ferry use is highest on weekdays and recreational use is highest on weekends. However, the document makes no effort to quantify that use, or even identify the parking areas used by recreational users and proposes no mitigation. A simple conclusion, without any quantitative analysis, fails to meet the most lenient threshold for an adequate EIR, and the document must be revised and re-circulated for comment. An example of the cavalier treatment of recreational users in the document can be found on page 4-16, where the authors simply state that “…parking along the waterfront for recreational users … would be reassigned for ferry patron use.” (p. 4-16) Those are the fishermen and windsurfers who would be displaced by the project, without appropriate consideration for the protected nature of their uses.

CONCLUSION

The broad reach of Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act must be applied to all of the established recreational uses of Berkeley Marina. While the document may be intended to function as a programmatic document, it cannot ignore quantitative analysis where needed to
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provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to comment on the selection of alternatives and appropriate mitigation measures. As currently constituted, the document fails to provide this analysis, and cannot be relied upon by either the WETA, or any other responsible agency, for decision-making.
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windoggie



Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2700

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
The broad reach of Section 4
I agree...you can really haul ass over there in Section 4!

Thanks for your efforts Mac!!

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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1439

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for leading the charge, Mac!
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maurice



Joined: 19 Apr 2000
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Proposed Ferry Terminal near Hs Lordships, Berkeley Marina Reply with quote

Mac, thanks for writing the letter. Well done!
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