SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As San Francisco prepares for the opening of the new Chase Center arena later this fall, Mayor London Breed on Wednesday announced the city is working on providing interim ferry service to the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood for events there.
The interim ferry service would only be for Golden State Warriors games and other special events and the city hopes to have it up and running by Oct. 1 — the start of the 2019/2020 NBA season, according to Breed’s office.
The interim service aims to alleviate anticipated traffic congestion during Chase Center events. Plans for a constructing a permanent ferry landing in the Mission Bay area are in the works, but that project won’t be finished until 2021.
“We need to continue to invest in our transportation infrastructure so that we can have a successful opening of Chase Center that also works for the Mission Bay neighborhood and residents,” Breed said in a news relrease.
“While we wait for the long-term ferry landing that will serve the community year-round, this interim ferry service will be help us address congestion during Warriors games and other special events. This is all part of the city’s commitment to a successful opening of Chase Center this fall,” she said.
The temporary terminal is set to be located at Pier 48, just a block from San Francisco Municipal Railway’s T-Third Street line and closer to the San Francisco Giants’ home at Oracle Park than to the arena.
While arena-goers would have a few more blocks to walk, the Port of San Francisco thinks Warriors fans are hungry for alternative to the streets. “We think there is definitely demand from Oakland/Alameda, where there is a high density of season ticket holders,” explained David Beaupre, a project manager with the Port of San Francisco. “There also appears to be demand in South San Francisco, and Marin has service similar to what we do in China Basin at the Giants ballpark.”
According to the mayor’s office, the special event service will be provided by San Francisco Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Ferry and may service the Oakland/Alameda, South San Francisco and Larkspur ferry routes.
The interim landing is currently in the design process and construction on the project, estimated to cost $500,000, is expected to start in August, pending permits.
The Port of San Francisco is spearheading the project.
According to Breed’s office, the permanent ferry-landing project in Mission Bay, estimated to cost $45 million, would qualify for funding by Regional Measure 3, which Bay Area voters passed in June 2018. RM3 sought to increase the region’s bridge tolls to pay for transportation projects that ease congestion.
However, because RM3 is currently tied up in litigation, the funds can’t be used and has resulted in the project’s completion date being pushed to 2021.
Once complete, the permanent ferry landing will provide service daily for up to 6,000 passengers, with the capacity to berth two ferry boats simultaneously and may include a nearby water taxi landing, Breed’s office said.
“That doubles the capacity for landings, so there would be two landings,” says Beaupre. “And we could move into a regular commuter mode so it would be service seven days a week not just during events.”
It isn’t just the port making plans to avoid gridlock. “Oh yeah, we are very much involved and development of a transportation to get people to and from the arena,” said Paul Rose a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Tranportation Agency.
Muni says it is going to do everything it can to prevent the traffic nightmare many have feared. The building is an 18,000-seat arena that comes with about 1,000 parking spaces. It is a venue that people are not intended to drive to but the expectation is that many will anyways. “There’s going to be not enough parking for people to go around, and there’s going to be congestion on the streets,” said Rose. “So we’re encouraging people to take transit.”
Another bit of help for traffic will be the Central Subway, set to open in December, about two months after the Warriors begin play at the new arena.
Wilson Walker contributed to this report.
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