Water-taxi stand makes debut

A brand-new pier is set to become a city stop for water taxis as well as a planned network of linked-water access sites around the Bay for sea kayakers, row boaters and sailboarders.

Today, city officials, including Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting for the free public dock, located at Pier 1 ½ on The Embarcadero.

Pier 1½ was recently built as part of a $55 million Port development project that includes stores, restaurants and offices.

The floating pier will be a foothold for a new water taxi service envisioned by the Port of San Francisco, according to San Francisco Waterfront Partners spokesman P. J. Johnston.

The new public dock will also be included in a planned Bay Area Water Trail being developed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

The trail will chart a suggested path between shoreline sites, where boaters will be able to read about and discover the local environment, and sometimes grab a bite to eat and find somewhere to stay for the night.

The San Francisco-based state agency has identified more than 100 potential stops along the proposed Bay water trail, which could take boaters as far north as Black Point Boat Launch in San Pablo Bay, and as far south as Alviso Marina near San Jose.

Nonprofit conservation group Save the Bay helped plan the trail, documents show. Habitat Restoration Director Marilyn Latta said the trail will balance conservation goals with recreation.

A number of protected species, such as the Clipper Rail and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, live and breed on coastlines around the Bay, according to Latta. She said some stops along the trail may be closed when endangered species are most vulnerable to human disturbance.

The trail may take boaters to campsites at Kirby Cove and Angel Island, according to draft plans due to be presented to state lawmakers next month.

“We already have a Bay trail on the land,” said Assemblymember Loni Hancock, D-14th District, who authored a law that in 2005 led to development of the water trail. “Many people who love the Bay, and who look at the Bay every day, don’t ever get to go out on the water.”

Proposed San Francisco stops along the trail include such destinations as Candlestick Park, the India Basin Shoreline Park, Islais Creek, Crissy Field and Pier 1½, draft plans show.

jupton@examiner.com

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