Berkeley Marina

With no Bay Bridge, wouldn’t it be nice to have a ferry from Berkeley into the city?

That’s always been my thought, but I’m being persuaded otherwise by David Fielder, a friend who is one of the most visible opponents of the planned Berkeley Marina ferry service.  Certainly when you begin to look at the Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s plan, it’s hard to make the numbers add up. The cost of the plan is $57 million ($34 million for the terminal and $23 million for the vessels). The goal is to carry 800 passengers each way by 2025 — which seems an awfully long time from now, and very few passengers.

WETA’s plan identifies the need for 400 parking places at the marina. Since there aren’t enough places, the idea is to provide valet parking. Perhaps that’s what travelers will deserve for the $7 each way ticket. But can you imagine returning with even 100 others at the end of the day and having to line up for the valets to fetch your car. Equally, already congested University Avenue is the only access to the marina. I wouldn’t fancy fighting that each way every day.

The idea of a boat trip on the Bay to get to the city is seductive. The reality is less so.

Photo by Michael Patrick from Flickr

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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  1. The ferry will happen long before 2025 on current plans. The 2025 date is the forecast for when they will have a grand total of 800 passengers each way. There will be fewer before that. As soon as it opens, however, there will be parking and traffic problems, for sure.

    As to the long term challenge of the hills, I agree completely. That’s why walkable/bikeable neighborhoods are so important.

  2. By 2025, either we’ve had some miraculous breakthrough in inexpensive and zero-emission cars or parking and traffic on University is not nearly so big a deal.

    One thing I think is a difficult infrastructure challenge is beginning to imagine how mobility works in the future for the folks living in the hills. It’s easy to imagine better public transportation around the flats – there are tons of options and the only problem is “which is best”. In the hills, there’s a lack of density of travelers at most times of day and a largely “unwalkable” terrain that makes me wonder what’s to become of those places. Best I have come up with is conversion of some of those garages into micro-warehouses and retail outlets.