Park Service floats plan to move Alcatraz ferry to Ft. Mason

Residents of the Marina are complaining about plans to move the Alcatraz ferry from its longtime home on the Embarcadero to Fort Mason because it would snarl traffic in the wealthy residential neighborhood and hurt businesses on Fisherman's Wharf that depend on the ferry traffic.

National Park Service officials say the move may be necessary if they can't reach agreement with the Port of San Francisco on a 50-year lease at a site near the wharf.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that an environmental study lists Fort Mason as one of three possible locations for the Alcatraz ferry terminal, along with its current location at the piers, where the ferries were based until 2006 when Hornblower Yachts was awarded the contract over Blue & Gold Fleet.

Wherever the ferries end up, changes will be needed.

The newspaper reports that the park service wants to give Alcatraz visitors a better experience, including upgraded on-shore facilities and more room for interpretive materials about the island. It's also expecting usage to rise from the 6,160 daily passengers that rode the ferries in 2010 to 7,400 per day in the future, according to the draft environmental impact statement released last month.

“Right now, the Alcatraz ferries are sold out about 80 percent of the year,” Alexandra Picavet, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Alcatraz told the Chronicle. “We'd like to provide exhibits and other material so that we can give visitors more than 'Sorry, we're sold out.'”

The park service also wants to expand the ferries to include some service to Fort Baker near Sausalito and other waterside parks, such as the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in Richmond.

A public meeting on the draft environmental impact statement for the three possible Alcatraz ferry sites will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 31 in the Bayside Conference Room, Pier 1, the Embarcadero.

Alcatraz ferryBay Area NewsFort MasonNational Park Serviceneighborhoods

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