Big waterfront projects prompt study of new transportation ideas 

The massive development projects being proposed along San Francisco's central waterfront --  from the proposed Warriors Arena at Pier 30 through the Giants' housing/retail project at Pier 48 down to Forest City's sprawling proposal around Pier 70 --  will create huge challenges for The City's already overtaxed transportation system.

Nobody is more aware of that issue than Warriors President Rick Welts as he seeks approval to build a 17,500-seat arena with just a smattering of parking spaces, the Bay Guardian reports today. “We're investing a billion dollars in this property, and if people aren't comfortable getting to it and leaving it, we have a problem,” Welts told a gathering of the California Music and Culture Association on Tuesday night. “We have to get that right, it's at the top of our list.”

With Muni and BART already at capacity during peak hours, and thousands of new housing units being built in the coming years both along the waterfront and from nearby SoMa down through the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan area, city transportation planners are trying to get ahead of potential problems created by the development boom.

“We're now taking a step back and looking at the long-term needs from the Exploratorium down to Pier 70,” says San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency planner Peter Albert, who is leading a comprehensive waterfront transportation study. “What we get is an environmental review that is much smarter because we have all this advanced planning ... EIRs are important, but they aren't really planning.”

Albert is looking at everything from working with various transportation agencies to beef up bus, train, and ferry services to the area; using these projects to complete the ambitious but underfunded and long-stalled Blue-Greenway bicycle path along the waterfront; accelerating capital projects that are already in the SFMTA's queue; and exploring a dozen or so new ideas.

“What's also coming out of this are new ideas we're coming up with, things we weren't even thinking of that may make sense,” Albert told the Bay Guardian.

He'll be doing his first presentation of some of these ideas to the SFMTA Board of Directors on March 5.

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