South Bay Ferry Stop Moves Closer to Reality with MOU on Critical Partnership

Port of Redwood City, Redwood City, Peninsula

Feasibility study on Port of Redwood City ferry terminal to be completed in 2020

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.—The City of Redwood City (City) City Council and Port of Redwood City (Port) Board of Port Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) to move forward on a feasibility study and business plan towards the possible expansion of the San Francisco Bay ferry system into the South Bay. It is anticipated the WETA Board of Trustees will consider the MOU for approval this March.

“After many years in the making, it is an honor to support this partnership and take the next steps towards exploring an alternative transportation solution here at the Port of Redwood City,” said Redwood City Mayor, Diane Howard. “This project exemplifies the City Council’s priority area of creating and maintaining safe, multimodal and accessible transportation options and I look forward to hearing the results of the study later this year.”

The feasibility study will evaluate an expansion of the existing ferry system, which currently transports commuters across the Bay in a network that includes the cities of San Francisco, Alameda, Oakland, South San Francisco, Vallejo, and last year’s addition of Richmond. If the project moves forward in its envisioned state, the Port of Redwood City would host the first stop south of the City of South San Francisco to be incorporated into the WETA ferry system. The project, as it is being evaluated, would include connections from the Port to both San Francisco and Oakland.

The feasibility study will look at the overall viability and opportunity of a service expansion into South Bay including:

  • Examining capital and operating costs associated with project
  • Constructing a new ferry terminal at the opening of the Port of Redwood City channel
  • Procuring vessels for ferry operation
  • Service scenarios including ridership projections and transportation demand modeling
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Economic impact study

The Port of Redwood City Board of Port Commissioners approved the memorandum of understanding at their meeting on Feb. 26, and the City of Redwood City City Council took action approving the partnership at their Mar. 9 meeting. The approved partnership will move the project through the feasibility and business plan phases.

“We are pleased to have an approved MOU in place and eager to take the next steps toward expanding ferry services to the Port of Redwood City,” said Board of Port Commissioner’s Chair Ralph A. Garcia.“This project will greatly support our region by providing a new transportation choice to and from Silicon Valley as well as reduce traffic congestion on our streets and highways.”

The ferry project has been gaining traction since 2015 and the formal partnership is a critical milestone in furthering the project’s overall goals. A ferry connection in the South Bay could help reduce traffic congestion, particularly in light of the significant growth seen in the Silicon Valley in terms of population, housing and employers. The ferry terminal would be designed as an alternative transportation option for commuters. The City is the sponsoring agency for the project and will use fund the study through the voter approved Measure A-Ferry Program and City capital funds. If built, the terminal would be located on Port property and built to WETA standards in anticipation of public ferry service operation by WETA.

The study is expected to be completed in summer of 2020, at which time the findings will be presented to both the City Council and Port Commission to inform next steps and timeline.

About the City of Redwood City

The City of Redwood City is a San Francisco Bay Area community located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the technology-rich region extending from the San Francisco Peninsula to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo, with 85,992 residents. The city enjoys an average of 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: “Climate Best by Government Test”. Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County seat and the History Museum (located in the county’s old courthouse) and the only active deep water port within the south bay of San Francisco. The city’s vibrant downtown, quickly becoming known as the entertainment hub of the San Francisco Peninsula, offers residents, visitors, and businesses a unique retail, entertainment, and restaurant experience.

About the Port of Redwood City

The Port of Redwood City is an ideally located, naturally deep-water harbor 18 nautical miles south of San Francisco. The Port serves the Silicon Valley region with both long-standing maritime commerce business and a robust waterfront recreation community. The Port connects Silicon Valley to the San Francisco Bay delivering a balance of prosperity, security, sustainability and enjoyment for the region. A five-member Board of Port Commissioners, appointed by the City Council, governs the Port.

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