The Berkeley Marina from above, showing the old ferry pier in the lower right corner, and a proposed new ferry berth added to the existing Hornblower docks. The 330 passenger "Peralta," currently in service on the Oakland/Alameda - San Francisco route, is shown at the berth.
The Berkeley City Council (discussion starts at 42:30 on the tape) recently requested the Water Transit Authority to focus further studies on ferry terminal locations in and around the Berkeley Marina. Of the possible marina locations, the Doubletree site has the advantage of using existing harbor infrastructure. It requires no new breakwaters, no new dredging, no new parking facilities, and minimal delay navigating the ferry in and out of the berth. Distance to the harbor mouth is less than half that of the old ferry pier, and there are no tight maneuvering constraints as with the old location.
Environmental review would presumably be very much simplified, because of the absense of new construction and because the new ferry service would follow routes currently in frequent use by significant numbers of fish boats, charter yachts and excursion ferries.
The Berkeley ferry could be operating as early as 2007, compared to 2009 or 2010 if a new terminal is constructed outside the existing harbor. This could save as much as $10 million in terminal development costs, and keep the total subsidy level in parity with other modes of transportation.
A detailed parking analysis shows that there are about 1,000 spaces within a four minute walk of the proposed ferry berth, and that an hourly weekday commuter service using relatively small vessels would not significantly impact current marina users who rely on ample parking.