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Ferry Scores Grant, Adding Richmond and Treasure Island Service

Long planned expansion finally secures funding, breaking ground (water?) next year

The Ferry Building is getting a $4 million boost, two brand new berths a hop, skip, and jump away from the former site of Sinbad’s, and service to Treasure Island and Richmond, as the Water Emergency Transportation Authority scores funding for a long planned expansion of ferry traffic on the Embarcadero.

Dubbed Gate E and Gate F in WETA’s South Basin expansion plan, the new gates and accompanying plaza and promenade will mostly be modeled on existing accoutrements at Gate B to the north, a spokesperson told the Chronicle.

Once upon a time, the Ferry Building was the hub of bay traffic, servicing a quarter million passengers a day in 1930. But the bridges put most of the ferries out of commission, and it wasn’t until the Loma Prieta earthquake crippled the Bay Bridge that ferry service expanded for the first time in several generations.

Of course, by then, much of the infrastructure that served historic ferries was long gone, and ever since the city has had long-term plans to reclaim some of what was lost in the form of more berths, boats, and byways.

A $4 million federal grant secured last week finally knocks down the last hurdle, and construction should begin sometime next year.

Richmond service could start as early as 2018, while ferries to Treasure Island will be deferred until 2022, by which time some of the earliest phases of the expansive Treasure Island redevelopment will be finished, and anyone living there will probably be pretty keen not to have to swim that portion of their commute