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WETA/Berkeley Ferry & Pier Planning Meeting
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:25 pm    Post subject: WETA/Berkeley Ferry & Pier Planning Meeting Reply with quote

This posting is to share an email I sent to an informal group of Berkeley/His Lordships Cove windsurfers. Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to be included on that email list.



There has been some activity on this project, including additional ways to stay informed and to share your own perspectives.

Most importantly, there is a Ferry/Pier Public Zoom meeting on Thursday, January 21st that I hope you will participate in (details noted below).

On January 6th (yes, that infamous day), I was invited to another round of Pier/Ferry Zoom Focus Group meetings by Berkeley City Staff.

This meeting included three representatives from WETA, City & Marina staff involved with this project, and several other consultants. The Focus Group invitees included boat sailors, two windsurfers (me + Jim McGrath), and the manager of Cal Adventures (a boat sailor/instructor). Presumably, the two other Focus Group meetings that week surveyed other Marina user categories.

Our meeting covered the following general topics:

1. Status of the Pier, its importance to Berkeley, and options for repair/replacement. It is clear that repairing the pier is not cost effective. Thus a new pier will have to be built, assuming City wants one - cost and sources of funding are the main hurdles. Also, whether/how to dispose of the old pier. Thus, WETA’s potential partnership with access to the $25M+ needed is helping to drive this study.

2. Value of a WETA ferry service (likely route - Berkeley nonstop to SF). Discussion around service being primarily a commuter aid, or more of a sightseeing and leisure travel amenity.

3. Potential impacts from the ferry on Bay waters, shoreline, and Marina operations (parking, etc).

4. Schedule for decision making by WETA and City, along with roadmap for public input.

I’ll now try to summarize the gist of what I heard (Jim may wish to add additional thoughts):

a. WETA staff presented a slide of current system ridership (possibly pre-COVID?). Unfortunately, that slide wasn’t included in the packet I rec’d. However, I did note that the new Richmond ferry (from Ford Assembly Plant) transports fewer than 100 riders per day. This, along with obtaining ridership for the current passenger ferries already operating out of the Berkeley Marina (private firm) - is critical data. I understand that the existing ferry from within the Marina is usually empty. You may recall that post-Loma Prieta, the Red & White fleet operated ferry service from Berkeley. That service ended following BART/Bridge reopening due to poor economics.

b. WETA stated that they need 250 dedicated parking spaces for a viable commuter terminal. One proposal by City would be to line University Ave with parking, roughly from the Marina Offices out to Seawall Dr. Several participants raised concerns about the impact on recreational use of this park from such “commuter/day-use” traffic and parking.

c. Walking on and fishing from a rebuilt pier appear to be the main recreational uses for the pier envisaged by commenters. The value of shoreline access to the park for just “enjoying the ambience/view” was also stressed. These Park/Marina recreational users would probably be more demographically and economically diverse than likely commuters.

d. Obtaining accurate data for projecting ferry utilization will be critical. Especially given COVID impacts on work life and post-pandemic expectations regarding virtual commuting.

e. The three potential ferry terminal plans I’ve seen to date are “not baked” according to WETA. I pressed on that concern, given lack of public input to date. Staff seemed open to exploring other terminal approaches, including inbitially trying a single-boat service (ala Richmond) and siting the dock/terminal on the north side of the existing pier footprint. Much discussion about Marina sailboat routes and need for dredging the northern breakwater exit from Marina. Seemed clear that having a single-ferry floating dock just west of Skates could work and not impede sailboat channel access (see diagram/map below). Hopefully we will be presented with new options on January 21st.

f. All agreed that minimizing dredging and providing funding for pier maintenance are critical. Lack of maintenance is what destroyed the current pier, and is making the Marina less attractive every year.

g. The Marina Budget was discussed. There is a need to increase funds actually used for the Marina, rather than current practice of sweeping Marina revenue into City operations. The concept of a reasonable “users fee” was floated. Also, the City must not be saddled with subsidizing ferry and terminal operating costs if WETA ridership projections don’t prove accurate and/or economically sufficient.

h. Environmental costs/impacts must be analyzed, including ferry carbon footprint and how to facilitate “green use” of the Marina.

i. Jim emphasized the importance of not displacing current park users. I used the phrase “hallowed water”, to characterize the SW quadrant of the Bay between His Lords and the pier, west of Seawall Drive (resonated with the group). Jim shared his GPS tracks within that quadrant - where we’ve all windsurfed. Hopefully, this area can be retained for recreational use. Notably, windsurfers aren’t its only recreational users (see final photo).

Please join the “Pier/Ferry Mailing List” via email process noted below. Also, please plan to join the January 21st Zoom. Comments are being solicited prior to or at that time by sending to the BMASP email address with appropriate subject and speaking at the Zoom meeting.

I hope that such input will be compelling, perhaps emulating the PickleBall contingent (in lieu of a formal “HLS/Windsurfer User Group Petition”).

If you do choose to get involved and/or comment, please cc me to help close the loop.

Also, please recruit your friends to join us for this process (happy to add them to the email list).

Sincerely, David

P.S. Please use “Reply All” sparingly, as noted earlier.


• ü Send contact info to
- include “Pier/Ferry Mailing List” in subject line.

• ü Pier/Ferry Project webpage to be deployed (I’ve asked for update on this)

• ü Online Questionnaire to for Community Meeting #1 questions (I’ve asked for clarification)

• ü Community Meeting #1 6:30pm – 8:30pm, January 21, 2021 (note: I’ve corrected the date)


Hallowed Water
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual, David provides an excellent summary. I’d only add two things.

1. Unlike the last time, when WETA dropped their plans because of our opposition and the adverse impact on recreation in a park, this time we have a broken recreational pier. Building a joint ferry/fishing pier thus has some recreational value. It is not clear that building a new pier without a ferry partner is feasible. The money that voters have approved for infrastructure is seriously over-subscribed.

2. Berkeley does not sweep marina revenues downtown; direct revenue from tidelands leases must legally be spent on public trust uses. However, hotels in Berkeley and many other cities pay a “temporary occupancy tax” (TOT) as part of the charges to customers. That tax is quite substantial in Berkeley—over $3 million in a good year. Since it is a tax not direct revenue from the tidelands, it is not restricted to use for public trust uses. Berkeley does incur costs providing services to the hotel at the marina—police, fire, water, road maintenance. But there is no rigorous accounting of those costs, and more of it could remain in the marina and could help catch-up on long deferred maintenance.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you David and Jim for keeping everybody up to date on this
Kevin Kan
Sunset Sailboards, San Francisco CA
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update #2 (without WETA graph - sorry):


Some additional info, but most importantly a reminder that we have a WETA Pier/Ferry Public Zoom opportunity tomorrow/Thursday at 6:30 PM (access details copied below).

I’ve also obtained the WETA ridership slide that documents usage of their newest route - Richmond to SF. Closer examination of the bar graph yields an approximate daily ridership of 140 - assuming it only operates 5 days/week.

Based on past Berkeley City Zoom meetings I have the following suggestions to help enable us to have the most impact:

1. Please register to be on BMASP’s Pier/Ferry email list, if you haven’t already done so. Involves sending an email:

Send contact info to
- include “Pier/Ferry Mailing List” in subject line.

2. Send additional emails to that same address with your specific interests/concerns detailed (perhaps with Water Rec and/or Windsurfing in subject - plus cc me?). These emails are collated by City staff and in effect will take the place of a user group “petition” process (which is not happening - too complicated) to ensure ongoing recreational access to our “Hallowed Water”. This is similar to advocacy process mastered by the PickleBall contingent. I believe I’ve counted 100+ emails related to their interest in establishing a set of PB courts within the Marina - likely northern end of His Lordships parking lot.

3. When you log into the Zoom tomorrow at 6:30, I’d suggest you quickly “Raise Your Hand”. That gets you in the queue to speak during public comment section. I waited too long last time and had to sit thru maybe 30+ other speakers prior to my chance (Marc did much better). You can always “Lower Your Hand” if you subsequently get bored or have second thoughts.

4. You can also submit actual text comments during the meeting via the Zoom “Chat Room”. You can send your comments to specific individuals or to that entire active Zoom group. There are icons at bottom of Zoom screen for these approaches. Caution/discretion advised.

5. Please consider also joining the January 28th BMASP Zoom next week. Although it will cover a broader range of Marina issues, I’m sure there will be relevant concerns discussed, and perhaps even updated Pier/Ferry perspectives based on input from tomorrow’s Zoom. I intend to participate during both.

6. I’ll also draw your attention to two articles in “Latitude 38” written by Tim Henry in its separate “‘Lectronic Latitude” section. Excellent overview of the Berkeley Marina & Ferry Proposal:

Feel free to ask me questions about this planning process and tomorrow’s Zoom - but best to not use “reply all”.

I will try to send out a meeting summary 1-2 days after this meeting.

Meanwhile, I hope at least some of you also got to enjoy the sun and winds these past two days. I sailed at Pt. Isabel. Good sessions, but quite brisk when falling in - all too often I’m afraid….

Cheers & Happy Inauguration Day!


P.S. Please share this info with your friends not already on this email group list. I’ll also post to iWindsurf Forum.

Below are: WETA ridership slide; Meeting reminder and clickable Zoom links.




From: BMASP <>
Subject: You're Invited: Shape the Future of the Berkeley Waterfront | January 21 and 28, 2020
Date: January 18, 2021 at 1:19:29 PM PST
Cc: "Miller, Roger" <>, "Endress, Alexandra" <>, "Erickson, Christina" <>, "Ferris, Scott" <>

Dear Berkeley Waterfront Stakeholder,

Please share your feedback at two community workshops that will shape the future of the Berkeley Waterfront: Berkeley Pier-Ferry Project and the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan. Your voice will help us realize the potential of this exceptional waterfront resource and set the Berkeley Waterfront on a path toward fiscal sustainability.

Berkeley Municipal Pier and WETA Ferry Facility Planning Study
Community Workshop #1
Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 6:30pm-8:30pm
Phone: +16699006833,,93212728437#

Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP)
Community Workshop #1
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 6:30pm-8:30pm
Phone: +16699006833,,93373467062#

Please contact our team with questions or comments at and/or If you’d like to be added to Mailing Lists to stay in the know about upcoming workshops, please email us and include “mailing list” in the subject line.

For those of you willing to share this workshop information with your colleagues, friends, families, communities, and other interested stakeholders, please share the graphics attached to this email.

We look forward to your participation,

Your City of Berkeley BMASP and Pier/Ferry Teams
City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meeting Summary - as promised:


The meeting actually went better than I’d expected, at least from my perspective.

Over 50 public participants vs. 10 City staff/consultants. I counted at least 7 present from our group - great!

Here is the link to the meeting's slide presentation:

Initial Comments:

1. Several additional and/or revised pier/ferry terminal plans were presented (listed as Examples A thru E - I refer to them as Plans). Clearly staff and consultants heeded concerns raised from our prior Focus Group meetings (see earlier posts).

2. Main project driver is the City’s need for funding to replace the pier. Not much else has changed re interest in and projected impacts from the WETA ferry (following its “rejection” in 2010). If anything, there is increasing concern re the economic viability of a WETA ferry focused on commuters in a “post-COVID” world. Notably, the recently opened Richmond ferry (Ford Assembly Plant at Marina Bay) has apparently already closed down (see WETA slide notation, pg. 19). However, City staff repeatedly emphasized that a WETA partnership is the only way to obtain funding for a replacement pier (more on that below).

3. Process included five breakout discussion groups, with reports from staff leading each group at the end of the Zoom. Thus, none of us was able to hear all specific comments from public. I understand that there will be more detailed notes from those meetings accessible via the above website - but so far only the slides are there. Several of you also submitted emails to the BMASP site (thanks again!), which should also be reflected there at some point. Given our numbers, it appears we were well represented in each of the five breakout groups - well done.

4. Major concerns expressed that a pier replacement plan not turn our “Park into Transportation Hub”. Several participants in my group pointedly asked “Why not Plan F = No Ferry”? As noted, if that is the desire, alternative pier funding sources must be identified.

5. Parking and traffic/access remain major concerns, particularly given WETA's request for 250 dedicated spaces and the impact of such “commuter pass-thru” usage on the Marina.

My impressions & perspective:

a. The five Plans do not adequately address storm wind direction/impact. One consultant seemed to concur when I questioned that data.

b. Almost no mention of what to do about existing pier, including the first 3,000 feet out to the “cut" and the 1-2 miles of abandoned pilings farther westward. Apparently, BCDC will demand that there be “no net impact” on Bay “fill”, implying that for every new piling sunk another must be removed. However, that does not address the bulk of the old pier “ruins” beyond any new pier replacement.

c. Pier is important recreational resource, primarily for fishing and walking. Loss of pier access negatively impacts shoreline usage (fishing from riprap), parking patterns/densities (shifted further south along Seawall Drive), and environment (due to old pier degradation).

d. Most participants wanted to see pier replaced, but notably fewer were ferry terminal proponents.

e. Length of new pier is major concern. If too short, much less value for recreation. If too long, added construction expense and WETA concern that it could be too far to walk to access ferry (WETA says total commuter walk must be less than 1,300 ft). Good chart on page 24 showing pier length vs. cost. Plan A has pier only 475 feet long. Plan C is probably still too short at 660 ft, however extra recreational “length” from the breakwater “T” structure could be added. Doing so could accommodate both ferry dock proximity and recreational length desired.

f. My sense remains that this is not an economically viable ferry operation. However, WETA may disagree and it’s “their” funding (actually, it’s our taxes at work…). We do deserve to see better ridership estimates, including what has been going on with Richmond WETA ferry and the existing private ferry out of the Berkeley Marina. Also assurrance that City won’t need to subsidize operations. All WETA economic projections that I’ve seen, going back over a decade, indicate need to subsidize ticket cost in order to retain ridership. Of course this gets into the discussion of “should public transit be subsidized or free”. I’d certainly agree re BART and AC Transit - efficient and relatively environmentally friendly, especially compared to ferries.

I remain concerned about both the economic and environmental impact of a pier/ferry approach (while still appreciating the aesthetics of a ferry ride on the Bay, having been raised on Puget Sound). Particularly if City is potentially saddled with subsidizing low ridership outcomes. Also, dredging must be minimized. City is already failing to keep the north exit channel from the Marina dredged, thus forcing most sailors to exit via the southern route (past Skates). Maintenance of the new pier must also be assured/funded.

With respect to the five Plans presented, I’m strongly leaning towards a Modified Plan C.

My reasoning is as follows:

i. Plan C has the least impact on the “Hallowed Water” recreational quadrant between His Lords and the pier (not just windsurfers anymore).

ii. Pier could easily be lengthened for improved recreational experience, beyond the 660 ft indicated, while ferry docks remain closer to shore as desired by WETA.

iii. Minimizes new channel/turning basin dredging - this is major environmental and (ongoing) cost concern (see above dredging note).

iv. I do like the “T breakwater” for fishers and viewing at the end. However, I’ll argue for it being an “L” (flipped to north) - as the pier is adequate breakwater to the south. All the plans with docks on south side of pier, including Plan A, the “Fish Hook” Plan B, and especially Plan D, lack adequate southerly storm protection IMHO. Thus, additional breakwaters would probably “unexpectedly” be required, further impacting recreational use of that “Hallowed Water” quadrant. Plan C minimizes breakwater construction.

v. Another issue is obtaining easier sailing access from His Lordships (HLS) to Olympic Circle. Having a pier “cut” closer to shore is probably preferable (not a cut of course, just termination of pier). This would require removal of old pier sections west of the “T” or any extension, and needs to be specified.

vi. Plan E is just another attempt to encroach on the HLS/Pier water quadrant - not justifiable.

I’d like to see more political effort put into supporting the Marina and Pier replacement, including via a change in the financial structure of Marina support. Berkeley voters are HUGE supporters of our world-class public library system. Why not similar treatment for the Marina? Another step could be to stop turning Marina hotel revenue (via Temp Occupancy Tax) over to the City’s General Budget (the rest of Marina revenue is dedicated to the Marina budget for example).

We shouldn’t be forced into a major economic and environmental “compromise” without exploring all other options. For example, I understand that the City of Santa Monica was preparing to abandon their iconic pier, until voters told them to rebuild and approved funding.

I just hope that the Berkeley Marina hasn’t deteriorated to the point that we can’t resurrect it, along with the pier.

Meanwhile, a reminder that there’s a second Zoom scheduled for next Thursday, Jan 28th focused on the Marina and BMASP process (see my previous email - plus below). Also a City Council Workshop on Feb 16th. I plan to attend both and expect that these meetings will have important roles in how this all plays out. I will also be contacting Councilmembers to help ensure our concerns are heard, prior to that meeting.

Thanks again to the many of you who joined the Jan 21st meeting! It was quite clear that you had an impact, given all the staff references to our concerns during the meeting.

Cheers, David

P.S. I’m including two slides from the meeting presentation below for ease of reference. I’ll also include info for joining the upcoming BMASP Zoom next Thursday. I expect the Pickle Ballers will be out in force for that one…..


Plan C Screenshot:

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.39.57 PM.png


Contact info: Reminder that you just need to send email with "Pier/Ferry Mailing List” in subject line to be added to Berkeley City distribution list. Unfortunately, no sign of “workshop results or questionnaire” on this website so far:

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.41.01 PM.png


Here’s the Zoom info for January 28th meeting, next Thursday:

Please contact our team with questions or comments at and/or If you’d like to be added to Mailing Lists to stay in the know about upcoming workshops, please email us and include “mailing list” in the subject line.

For those of you willing to share this workshop information with your colleagues, friends, families, communities, and other interested stakeholders, please share the graphics attached to this email.

We look forward to your participation,

Your City of Berkeley BMASP and Pier/Ferry Teams
City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department

Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP)
Community Workshop #1
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 6:30pm-8:30pm
Phone: +16699006833,,93373467062#

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Just a reminder of tomorrow’s opportunity to make your thoughts known re Berkeley Marina funding, operations, and planning. It is almost certain there will be some discussion related to last Thursday’s WETA Pier/Ferry Zoom (my recap copied further below for easy reference).

I’ve copied the BMASP Zoom link immediately below. Those of you who have signed up for the BMASP or Pier/Ferry email lists will have already received it today from Scott Ferris, Director of Berkeley’s Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Dept.

You will also note that the City Council has a related workshop on Feb 16th. We should definitely plan to do some Councilmember lobbying prior to that meeting.

In addition, please send emails with your thoughts/concerns directly to BMASP (see below for process). Several of you have already done so (appreciated getting those copies!).

Our concerns are being listened to, but it’s always “the squeaky wheel…..”.

Hope you can join me tomorrow.

Cheers, David


January 28 Berkeley Marina Area Specific Study (BMASP), 6:30-8:30 PM

February 16 Berkeley Pier- Ferry Discussion – City Council Work Session- 6PM – See City Council webpage for Zoom link

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PLEASE fill out the 5 minute online survey - details below!!


Recap of January 28th BMASP Zoom:


The first Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP) Public Zoom meeting went well.

At least 80 members of the public participated over almost a 3-hour period, including seven from our interest group, several CSC members, and roughly 16 consultants and City staff.

Your active participation helped ensure that each of the breakout groups heard our concerns.

The BMASP website now has the meeting's slide presentation linked, along with an important questionaire (see more on this further below):

One area of confusion re this plan arises due to the numerous controlling agencies. In particular, the “Marina” is divided into several areas and is separately managed/overseen by the EBRPD (McLaughlin Eastshore State Park), the City (Cesar Chavez), the actual boat Marina (land is State-owned, but City controlled), with all areas also subject to a continuous 100 ft shoreline zone regulated by BCDC.

Given that there were 5 breakout groups and a quite diverse set of interests, I’ll simply indicate some of my overall observations, along with my usual personal perspective and admonitions.

1. My sense is that park/marina financing remains the key issue. Much discussion around potential sources of new revenue, but also significant push-back that parks should not have to be self-sustaining, revenue producing “cash cows”. One cautionary tale was the fate of the San Leandro Marina - now turned over to commercial developers (see case study on slides, page 62).

Berkeley supports its world-class public library system, at a rate of $19 Million/yr (more than 2X the Marina budget). With proper public education and promotion, why shouldn’t the Marina receive similar dedicated support? I’ve just now come across a recent City Auditor’s report which appears particularly relevant and illustrative of how we might better support our Marina Park - an equally treasured public space:,%20But%20More%20Internal%20Controls%20Needed.pdf

Berkeley Public Library (Library) is a treasured public space and information resource for Berkeley’s diverse community. About 110,100 people had library cards in 2018. In 2019, the Library was also one of only 13 California libraries to earn a 4-star rating from Library Journal for high rate of circulation, visits to the library, and patron use of internet and computers.¹ Public support of the Library is evident in voters’ ongoing support for a special tax on the square footage on taxable improvements of residential and commercial property that generated over $19 million in revenue in fiscal year 2018 to fund Library operations.

2. Although the WETA Pier/Ferry project was mentioned, that wasn’t the primary focus of this meeting. However, again the “need” for WETA funding to replace the pier was repeatedly emphasized (but see point #1).

3. Currently, most of the funds for Marina support come from revenue generated within the Marina. However, that has proven insufficient, particularly for capital needs, and has recently been supplemented by City General Fund and T-1 Bond money. It’s important to note that about $3 Million/yr in “Transient Occupancy Tax” (TOT) funds flows from the DoubleTree Inn to the City’s General Fund. Thus in a sense, the City’s “largesse” is just partial recompense for long-time siphoning away of funds generated within the Marina.

4. Daniel Jordan, with Moffat & Nichol (shoreline engineering firm), specifically mentioned the need to fix the deteriorating jetty and riprap shoreline at His Lordships Cove (slides pg. 38-39). That caught my attention and opens the door to further focus on that critical recreational launch area as part of this process (stay tuned….).

5. Martin Nicolaus, CEO of the Chavez Park Conservancy, proposed turning Chavez Park over to the EBRPD to manage - interesting and provocative concept. Their website also has info of interest (and perhaps controversy):

6. The “Tragedy of the Commons” was mentioned several times - some relevance:

The "tragedy of the commons" is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection,

In conclusion, additional thoughts/admonitions:

Overall, participants continued to demonstrate strong interest in NOT turning this park into a transit hub as part of replacing the Pier. Creative approaches/suggestions were abundant.

A. The BMASP planning process is scheduled to last two years, however decisions regarding the WETA Pier/Ferry plan must be made well prior to that.

B. Ongoing public participation in these meetings will help ensure that a broad variety of perspectives are heard, not just those of consultants and WETA (with its own probable conflict of interest, mentioned in the meeting).

C. We have a great opportunity to give feedback via the BMASP website questionnaire. PLEASE take the five minutes needed to do this, asap?

Survey Suggestions:

a. Please make use of the “Add or Elaborate” section of the questions. That way you can emphasize concerns that either aren’t addressed or deserve highlighting. One example could be #4, which fails to posit replacing the pier without a ferry, etc.

b. Many participants, and likely most Councilmembers, will be unclear on the important distinction between the South Sailing Basin (CSC, docks, etc) and HLS Cove launch access. Why the latter is so crucial deserves emphasis via this survey IMHO.

c. Although the survey asks for your zip, my hope is that non-Berkeley residents’ input will be included, particularly given the regional importance of this park and its EBRPD component. So, please don’t abstain just because you don’t live in Berkeley!

The next related public meeting will be a Council Workshop Zoom at 6 PM on Tuesday, February 16th. My understanding is that the WETA Pier/Ferry will be first on the agenda. There will likely be an initial opportunity for the public to speak (as with most Council sessions), but almost certainly no chance to debate/interject during the actual workshop (except perhaps via a chat function).

However, we can all lobby the Council prior to that meeting, and definitely should do so via our individual emails. I intend to do just that, as well as attend. I’ll be sending out Council Workshop meeting link info somewhat prior to Feb 16th.

That’s about it for now.

Cheers, David

P.S. For whatever reason, the Pickle Ball contingent appeared to be absent?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latest Berkeley Marina & Pier/Ferry Info + Council Workshop tomorrow/Tuesday:



Those of you who have already joined either the Berkeley Pier/Ferry or BMASP notification lists will have received the comprehensive email from Scott Ferris, Berkeley's Director of the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department (copied below).

However, I’d like to emphasize the latest developments:

1. The two websites (Pier/Ferry & BMASP - urls below) now have links to most of the comments made during those two public meetings (interesting reading - spot your own input, etc).

2. Comments/Notes from the previous, Invitation-Only Focus Group meetings are also now accessible via those two websites.

3. The Questionnaire is still “live” and REALLY needs to be taken by each of you (5 min!). It’s helpful to detail your concerns on that survey, as often the questions/options are somewhat narrow and directed. Good example is how you feel about the Pier/Ferry combination - but without asking you for input about alternative approaches to rebuilding the pier, etc.

4. The Council Workshop on February 16th (tomorrow!) should prove informative. Hopefully, the public input received from the prior meetings, the Questionnaire, and individual Councilmember contacts will already have had an effect on their perceptions of the “problem” and how best to approach it (e.g. replacing pier, WETA ferry, new development, and Marina funding for starters...).

5. The Berkeley Parks & Waterfront Commission is now Chaired by Gordon Wozniak (retired LBL Deputy Div. Director and former Berkeley Councilmember) who just took over from Jim McGrath (who remains on Commission). Latest meeting was Weds, Feb10th - a 4 hour long Zoom marathon (ouch).

6. Scott Ferris stated that “public use of the Marina is at an all-time high - but revenue is at an all-time low”. We experience that utilization every time we try to park and launch at His Lords, etc. This recreational resource MUST be maintained for the public, particularly during the pandemic.

Some additional observations:

A. Do not be misled by statements that “the Marina is going broke due to lack of commercial development”. In fact, Marina-generated revenue and taxes have been routinely siphoned off over the past several decades for other uses (uncontrolled, city-wide police overtime often being cited). Correcting that funding diversion is one important approach. Notably, that decision would not require a public vote, just Council support. It could happen immediately.

B. Another point I will continue to emphasize is that Parks (in general) are Public Treasures, similar to Libraries. They should not be required to be self-sustaining Cash Cows. The Berkeley City Auditor’s report last Fall on our Libraries is illustrative:,%20But%20More%20Internal%20Controls%20Needed.pdf

Our libraries are safe from financial depredation due to their being funded via General Obligation Bonds. Discussions are commencing to provide similar support for the Marina, perhaps as soon as 2022. Your attention and public support will be essential to that process.

C. There are a host of constraints and “cognizant agencies” controlling what is done in the Marina. Those constraints, along with a rational evaluation of current and projected economic factors, lead me to suggest the following:

a. Immediately ensure that the Marina Fund remains viable by having Council redirect existing Marina-based revenue and taxes back to the Marina. Don’t let the situation decay to the point where the Marina is basically abandoned as a Public Treasure - as with San Leandro.

b. Site a ferry terminal within the Marina Harbor, thereby minimizing recreational concerns and dredging, while encouraging new commercial development within the immediate Harbor area - away from the parklands. There is existing space for a second hotel either on the immediate north or south verge of the Harbor.

c. Recognize that such a ferry will almost certainly be primarily a “sightseeing amenity” (ala Hornblower). Thus, the trip experience will be what is valued, rather than the Marina becoming a commuter-focused transit hub. This also eliminates the single WETA objection to siting a ferry terminal within the Harbor - commute delays due to maneuvering time involved. More realistically sized craft could also be employed (no need for 400 passenger behemoths, with attendant cost and draft/dredging issues). Several smaller craft would also offer more frequent/convenient scheduling.

d. Propose a new 2022 General Obligation Bond for support of Marina capital projects, including rebuilding the pier. Use one of the Jan 28th BMASP website comments for political identity:

“Friends of the Berkeley Pier”

I’m hoping that many of you will join the Council Workshop Zoom session tomorrow/Tuesday (see access url below). Although this issue is now #2 on Workshop agenda, it should be worth the wait and informative.

Now - about that Questionnaire…...

Cheers, David


Begin forwarded message:

From: BMASP <>
Subject: City Council Special Meeting on BMASP & Pier/Ferry Study – February 16, 2021
Date: February 14, 2021 at 12:15:46 PM PST
Cc: "Miller, Roger" <>, "Endress, Alexandra" <>, "Ferris, Scott" <>, "Erickson, Christina" <>

Dear Berkeley Waterfront Stakeholder,

The next step in our community outreach for the Berkeley Pier-Ferry Project and the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan is to get City Council feedback at a work session this Tuesday evening, February 16, 2021, at 6:00 pm, it is the second item on the agenda. A detailed report updating the status of both projects can be reviewed here. This session will include an updated summary of work completed to date, provide an opportunity for Council members to give feedback and a forum for community members to share feedback directly with the City Council.

A Community Questionnaire soliciting your feedback for the Waterfront’s future is live on the BMASP website. Community feedback from the focus group sessions and community workshops are also live on both the project websites.

Please share this information with your colleagues, friends, families, communities, and other interested stakeholders. We look forward to your continued involvement and feedback.

City Council Special Worksession
6:00P.M., Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Meeting Agenda
Item 2: Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan and Pier/Ferry Work Session
Project Report
Zoom Link
Join by Phone: 1-877-853-5257 | Meeting ID: 826 7030 6267.

For the Community Questionnaire:

For latest project information:
Berkeley Municipal Pier and WETA Ferry Facility Planning Study

Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP)

Please contact our team with questions or comments at If you’d like to be added to Mailing Lists to stay in the know about upcoming workshops, please email us and include “mailing list” in the subject line. We look forward to your continued involvement and feedback.


Your City of Berkeley BMASP and Pier/Ferry Teams
City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The City Council Workshop Zoom last Tuesday was quite informative, in spite of lasting 4.5 hours.

Here are access urls for:

1. Workshop Video & Annotated Agenda - with link to key written submissions from Jim McGrath & Gordon Wozniak (past and present Chairs of the Berkeley Parks & Waterfront Commission - note: Wozniak was also a Councilmember for many years).

[However, their two submitted letters are only listed in the Annotated Agenda. Full text is accessible online via a website called “Records Online” - which I find a pain to access. Therefore, I’ve copied both letters below for easier reference, if still somewhat hard to read.]

2. Workshop Powerpoint Slides:

You will find informative, historical photos and maps of the evolution of the Berkeley Waterfront. Along with other important information.

3. BMASP & Pier/Ferry Questionnaire is still active - PLEASE take it as soon as you can spare 5-10 minutes?

Note: In spite of the Mayor’s comment regarding public input (see below), this survey may have an impact.


My Workshop observations/comments:

1. Several members of Council, in particular the Mayor, appear to have already made up their minds that the WETA “partnership” and a new ferry terminal are essential for a “New Marina Golden Age”.

The mayor made several notable statements (although I won’t use quotes - these are essentially verbatim):

a. WETA’s ferry will make the Berkeley Marina a Regional Destination (projecting that users will come to Berkeley from SF and Marin to access Fourth Street, etc).

b. It’s much cheaper to build a ferry terminal than to build a second BART Bay Tunnel.

[What? His logic escaped me, and I expect most others, but went unchallenged.]

c. We must Be Bold and Think Big to make the Berkeley Marina a Crown Jewel.

d. In spite of most speakers sounding negative (again, his words), Workshop participants and commenters (i.e. “we the people”?) don’t always represent the City.

[I found this statement particularly egregious given the Marina/Waterfront leadership roles of both Jim and Gordon. Other Parks & Waterfront Commissioners shared their own, similar concerns. The Mayoral implication being that Council isn’t interested in public input, even from its own Commission appointees, only anecdotal private communications.]

2. WETA’s Chair, Jim Wunderman, also made a number of notable statements (Workshop video will document):

a. WETA currently is only operating 3 of 6 available ferry routes.

[Confirming closure of new Richmond Terminal.]

b. WETA ridership is at 5% of pre-pandemic usage.

[Note relative pandemic effect on ridership vs. BART's.]

c. WETA ferries are “the most inequitable transport system in the Bay Area”.

[An interesting admission. He cited their fares as being too high now, even though they only collect 58% of their operating costs from fares - with the remaining 42% from public subsidies (our taxes at work). He then went on to say WETA has to decrease fares to increase ridership [cut price and make growing deficit up in volume?]

d. Berkeley ferries might visit other WETA terminals, not just go direct to/from SF.

[This may acknowledge that it’s more of a sightseeing amenity than a commuter link.]

3. Councilmembers clearly heard that the Marina Budget is significantly impacted by Council’s siphoning off revenue and taxes from the Marina for General Fund uses, rather than Marina needs. There was some indication that they would revisit that practice, which could save the Marina from its pending budgetary bankruptcy. Also perhaps some interest in following up on the different budgetary treatment given the Marina vs. Libraries in Berkeley.

4. The entire peninsula where His Lordships (HLS) is sited was only recently constructed in 1966, using dredging spoils from the South Sailing Basin. That new Bay Fill was permitted by BCDC, but with the entire area still considered “Bay Waters”. The BCDC permit requires parking for recreational access/use and does not appear to allow for a hotel or ferry terminal (hmmm, about those parking lot gates?).

5. Several of the current five Pier/Ferry design options (A thru E) do not accommodate extension of the pier for recreational uses. WETA will pay for only the first 300-600 feet of pier. The remainder of the up to 3,000 ft recreational pier is up to the City, even if it manages to fit with any of the new designs.

6. Several Councilmembers emphasized that their choice for terminal design and new commercial development would be primarily dependent on minimizing impacts on the environment and recreational uses. If so, they ought to be strongly leaning towards “Option C”, if not placing the terminal inside the Harbor. We will see…..

7. Parking may be the most controversial issue, even within the Council. WETA wants 250 spaces (size of HLS lot). Plus, City staff suggests (hopes?) that 60 % of ferry riders will not drive down solo. Some Councilmembers argue "it’s a public park, so free access to all", others that “all must pay”. Stay tuned...

Next Public Meeting on these topics probably June, 2021.

However, there may well be some discussion related to this Council workshop at the WETA Board meeting on March 4th at 1:30 PM - likely via Zoom:

Meanwhile, I’m still working on trying to improve parking access at His Lords for our upcoming season.

Cheers, David


Wozniak Letter to Council - I appreciated his poetic style and mention of windsurfing, in particular:



McGrath letter to Council - note two important diagrams appended (far) below his letter:

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



There are some new developments.

You may have seen the lengthy May 1st SF Chron article on the Berkeley Pier. If not, I’ve copied it below. Immediately above that article I’ve copied my Letter to Editor response (as yet unpublished).

More importantly, there is now a specific online survey for this Pier/Ferry project. As with most such surveys, the questions asked directly influence responses. However, there are spaces for additional comments and I encourage you to add your own detailed concerns as you take the survey.

There are several reasons for concern and for paying close attention to these developments. It is becoming clear that the Berkeley City Council has been violating its own “Measure L” with respect to shortchanging the Marina and its parks. Relevant legal language is excerpted here:

2(a): That wherever public parks and open space currently exist in Berkeley, such use shall continue and be funded at least to allow the maintenance of the present condition and services. (b) That all undedicated or unimproved open space owned or controlled by the City of Berkeley (including land held by the City in trust) shall be retained and funded by the Berkeley City Council to enable public recreational use of those lands.

Instead of supporting the Marina as legally required, the City Council has siphoned off Marina-generated funds for other General Fund uses. The resulting financial neglect exacerbates the Marina’s continuing decline.

In addition, the ongoing emphasis on a Pier-based WETA Ferry Terminal as the Marina’s “Savior" is disengenuous, at best. Specifically, it overlooks the enviornmental toll from ferry operations (including additional dredging), recreational use limitations, and parking impacts. Although one potential design (Example C - copied here) minimizes some of those impacts, it does not address parking, nor the questionable economics of this ferry operation in general. WETA’s data confirms that ferry use will always require heavy public subsidization (data links here):

Thus, WETA’s proposed Berkeley ferry service would be primarily an uneconomical and environmentally unsound sightseeing amenity. It also threatens to turn this important recreational area into a commuter hub.

PierFerry-C-Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 2.16.21 PM.png

In closing, please take the 5 minute survey and share your own thoughts/concerns. Given the focus on regional pier and ferry use, non-Berkeley residents should be encouraged to participate.

Also, please share this email info with your colleagues and friends. I’ll try to reach most local Windsurfers/Boardsailors (via my bcc lists), but also plan to reach out to a broad contingent of general park users, as I did for the EBRPD election campaign of Director Elizabeth Echols.

Thanks for your continued attention and involvement.



SF Chron Letter to Editor (submitted):

Berkeley Pier - Victim of Financial Neglect
Regarding "Berkeley pier far from reopening" (Bay Area & Business, May 1):
The Berkeley Pier is indeed far from reopening, especially if the following issues aren't fully addressed: Marina funding; Environmental impact of a ferry terminal; Recreational land-use mandates (e.g. BCDC permits).
Although the article referenced those issues, one statement stood out: "...the Marina is supposed to be self-sustaining". Many Berkeley residents beg to differ, asking why our public parks are expected to be "Cash Cows", and also why our parks aren't supported as a public resource, comparable to our world-class libraries?
Rather than complying with Berkeley's own Measure L, which has specific recreational usage and funding mandates governing the Marina and its parks, the City has for years siphoned off Marina-generated funds to support unrelated General Fund expenditures. That financial neglect has resulted in the pier's decay and the pending bankruptcy of the Marina Fund.
Instead of turning the Marina and its parks into a commuter and commercial hub in order to "save it" (with no guarantee), we should invest in that public space - not milk it dry.
Just imagine if our libraries had to pay for themselves?


Berkeley's beloved but crumbling pier is still closed - and at least 5 more years and $55 million from reopening

Photo of Michael Cabanatuan
Michael Cabanatuan
April 30, 2021Updated: April 30, 2021 7:08 p.m.
Leo Barkos fishes for halibut in between the Berkeley Pier and the restaurant Skates on the Bay.Barkos grew up fishing here with his older brother but still tries his hand at shore fishing since the pier closed.
Leo Barkos fishes for halibut in between the Berkeley Pier and the restaurant Skates on the Bay.Barkos grew up fishing here with his older brother but still tries his hand at shore fishing since the pier closed.

Nina Riggio / Special to The Chronicle

Berkeley’s beloved recreational pier, which reaches more than half a mile into the bay, has been closed for nearly six years after it was deemed unsafe, leaving the once bustling pier fenced off and deserted and the fishers and walkers who used it day and night cast off to other locations.
But hopes that the pier will some day reopen persist, as Abdul Qasemi Jr., who works in his father’s bait and tackle shop at the Berkeley Marina, can attest.

“It’s hard to describe,” he said, standing in front of a wall covered with colorful lures. “People still call, still come in and say ‘What happened to the pier? When is it going to reopen?’ It’s a consistent thing.”

Berkeley abruptly closed the half-mile long pier in July 2015, after inspectors noticed crumbling concrete and corroded steel supports. It’s been closed since, and despite years of studies, questions remain about whether it should be repaired, replaced or simply left to rot in the brackish bay waters.
Answers could be coming soon.

Six years after they closed it, Berkeley officials are finally moving toward rebuilding the pier and possibly adding a ferry landing — a development many see as critical to reinvigorating the city’s waterfront.

But any solution would require at least five more years — and at least $55 million — before the pier could welcome back visitors. And even as the city lurches forward on the pier plan, it’s struggling to revive its marina, which is on the verge of insolvency.

For decades, the pier was a popular place for people to fish and crab, take a postprandial walk after a visit to one of the marina’s restaurants or just hang out over the bay. There are tales of the fish that got away, of romantic trysts and of marriage proposals.

People “used to walk on pier, they used to fish,” said Sarper Oztemiz, general manager of Skates on the Bay, a restaurant next to the closed pier. “It was a great piece of the Berkeley Marina. People don’t seem to understand why it’s been closed so long, and they definitely want it back.”
On a recent sunny morning, Raul Daffon, 66, of Rodeo recounted wandering out to the far part of the pier to cast his line in the middle of the bay.

“I really miss it,” he said. “There are a lot of fish out there: halibut, striped bass, and you can fish without having a boat.”

Or a fishing license. California permits free fishing from piers on the ocean and bay, and the closure of the pier “really hurts the low-income community a lot and widens the gap,” Qasemi said. “You want to see everybody fishing.”

Berkeley and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which runs the SF Bay Ferry system, are developing plans to replace the crumbling, 94-year-old pier with a sturdier structure that could include a terminal for boats running to and from San Francisco and other locations along the bay.

At a meeting about the pier’s future in March, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said he was still “very committed” to making the ferry a reality. “It’s very important to Berkeley ... and integral to the revitalization of our waterfront,” he said.

Berkeley officials see the ferry as a harbinger of rejuvenation not only for the pier but for the city-owned marina, which is struggling to stay above water financially.

Gifted to the city by the State Lands Commission in 1913, the marina is supposed to be self-sustaining: Revenue from the boats that berth at its docks as well as land leased to operators of its hotel, two restaurants and a handful of other businesses all flow to the marina.

But the marina is expected to be soaking in red ink by the end of the current budget year. Including the costs of repairing the pier, the marina as a whole needs at least $100 million in improvements and isn’t currently covering its annual operating costs.

The number of people berthing boats has declined in recent years as the marina deteriorates and crime — mainly car and boat break-ins and thefts, vandalism and some assaults — increased. The pandemic has also choked the revenue stream from businesses.

“With the deep hit to our hotel and restaurant revenue, we’re facing insolvency within months,” said Christina Erickson, deputy director of parks, recreation and waterfront.

Repairing the pier’s damaged deck and pilings could cost as much as $30 million. Another $35 million to $55 million would be required to repair it and bring it to seismic safety standards, the consultants found. That doesn’t factor in future maintenance. It makes more sense to replace it with a new pier at a cost of $25 million to $35 million depending on the design and length, consultants said.

Eleven possible designs for a new pier have been proposed with all but one in the same location, at the foot of University Avenue. Some of them feature another finger pier, others a T-shaped design and some with a fish-hook shape. The ferry landing would be built on the north or south side of the pier a short walk from the shoreline.

After more hearings and deeper study, a final recommendation from the City Council and the ferry board is expected by the end of the year. Getting approvals and building the new pier with or without ferry landing would take three to four years.

City officials, and their consultants, believe the ferry could deliver not just passengers but income to the Berkeley waterfront. Commuters, tourists and day-trippers could patronize a new hotel, more restaurants and other businesses, perhaps a marketplace.

Adding a ferry would also be beneficial, Ortemiz said, bringing not only hungry commuters but visitors from San Francisco eager to dine in a restaurant perched above the bay and offering a view of the San Francisco skyline — when it’s not foggy.

“It would be amazing,” he said. “For Skates, it would be hard to beat.”

Not everyone is on board with the idea of a ferry, however. Some Berkeley Marina fans, including regular visitors and people who live on their boats, told the City Council they feared a ferry and the big, new businesses it might attract would flood the area with traffic and hundreds of additional parked cars and ruin what’s now a peaceful waterfront experience.

“I’m concerned that we’re going to go down this ferry route that is going to generate money and may actually destroy the park,” said Greg Milano, who lives in nearby west Berkeley.

Gordon Stout, who keeps a boat at the marina, said he worried that the ferry could transform the marina from a peaceful yet active oasis — with sailing clubs, boat berths, a hilly park popular among kite fliers and a playground where kids are encouraged to play with hammers and saws — into a congested conglomeration of parking lots and businesses catering to ferry riders.

“I have concerns about it becoming a commuter hub and nothing else,” he said.

With or without the ferry, many long for the pier’s return. Berkeley is in the midst of surveying the public about the pier’s future and its first round of workshop meetings drew dozens of people. More meetings are planned in the coming months, with the City Council and the ferry authority deciding how to proceed by the end of the year. Construction could be completed by 2026.

The pier’s return may not be imminent but Qasemi is among those who think it will be worth the wait.

“I’m patient. I’m looking forward to what’s to come,” he said. “That’s not to say it hasn’t been a long four to five years. But you have to get through the rough stuff to get to the good stuff.”

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ctuan

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