Richmond Ferry groundbreaking celebrated
Kicked off by the rousing music of the Richmond High Marching Band inside Craneway Pavilion, local elected officials and regional transportation leaders celebrated the groundbreaking Wednesday of the Richmond Ferry Terminal, which is expected to begin offering weekday commuter service to San Francisco about this time next year.
The ferry terminal, which will operate under the San Francisco Bay Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), will locate next to the Craneway building. Construction includes a new passenger shelter, gangway and dock; improved and expanded 362-space paved parking lot; improved pedestrian and bike facilities, including bike lockers and widened sidewalks; resurfacing of the existing Sheridan Point Walk and some additional rehab to the overlook; 400 feet of new shoreline path; public art; and a new ADA-compliant kayak launch ramp.
At first, the ferry operate only on weekdays to and from San Francisco, with three morning departures and four afternoon departures. Service may expand depending on demand, said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.
The terminal and landslide cost totals about $20 million, with funding coming from State Prop. 1B, Regional Measure 2 and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Operating the ferry service from Richmond will cost an estimated $4 million annually, which will be funded via fare revenue and Contra Costa County Measure J dollars.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt predicted the ferry will significantly enhance the burgeoning Richmond waterfront, which has increased in both housing and commercial density that surround waterfront tourism amenities such as the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park and Visitor’s Center.
Wunderman said the Richmond Ferry will help meet the growing demand for ferry service in an increasingly gridlocked Bay Area. Currently, WETA offers daily passenger ferry service to the cities of Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo and South San Francisco, carrying about 2.6 million passengers annually. In the last five years, ridership has grown 78-percent, the agency said.
In the future, “WETA is planning a system that seamlessly connects cities in the greater Bay Area with San Francisco, using fast, environmentally responsible vessels, with wait times of 15 minutes or less during peak commute hours,” the agency said. “WETA’s 2035 vision would expand service throughout the Bay Area, operating 12 services at 16 terminals with a fleet of 44 vessels.”