Doubletree Hotel: A New Option for a
June 9 2005
One possible obstacle to the
The solution proposed here is to use more of the existing infrastructure within the marina, in particular part of the dock area now used by Hornblower Cruises and Events at the Berkeley Marina Doubletree Hotel. Hornblower currently operates several vessels from this dock that are significantly larger than the 149-passenger size contemplated for this route. There appears to be ample room to add a ferry berth without seriously affecting Hornblower's operation (as shown in the photoshopped aerial view).
From an operations point of view this location may not be as advantageous as a new terminal and breakwater system outside the marina. There is a time and distance penalty associated with a terminal inside the marina, but for the Doubletree location this penalty is not nearly as severe as it has been at the existing old ferry pier in the south-east corner of the marina basin. The Doubletree site probably adds 4-5 minutes to each trip, increasing the speed requirement to about 21-22 knots in order to maintain an hourly schedule with one vessel. This is not as energy-efficient as the shorter and faster route from the Municipal Fishing Pier or nearby shoreline, but WTA appears intent on procuring vessels with a service speed of 25 knots regardless.
The old ferry pier added an average of 8-10 minutes of time in each direction. (During the WTA demo ride last year, the "Bay Breeze" required 8 minutes to leave the harbor and 14 minutes to enter the harbor and secure to the pier).
The first aerial photo
shows the 330-passenger Peralta and its berth near
Compare the water-side access to this proposed ferry berth to the old ferry pier at the lower right corner of the view.
The major advantage of the Doubletree location is that it requires no dredging, no breakwater construction and minimal facilities development in order to begin service. All that's needed is a wider boarding float and gangways, a ticket machine and a rain shelter, which can be located either in a nearby parking area or on the float itself. The #9 bus stop is not precisely at the proposed site, as it is with the Fishing Pier, but close enough for a slight diversion of the route to serve the ferry effectively.
There appears to be more than enough room for both side-tie and bow-in docking, consistent with the proposed new WTA terminal standards.
The parking resource is
about the same as at the Municipal Fishing Pier / H's Lordships location. There
are more spaces available, especially considering the gravel overflow area on
the east side of
At Doubletree, there is
also the possibility of developing new parking to serve the heavy demand for
There are several clear benefits of the Doubletree ferry terminal location to the Berkeley Marina and to the City: The most immediate is the shorter timeline - with virtually no terminal to construct, and a much simplified environmental review because it involves no new port facilities or new vessel routes near sensitive shorelines, service could begin as early as 2007 instead of 2009 as per the current WTA timeline.
The hotel is interested
because it opens more of the
WTA money would also be available for marina channel maintenance dredging, with a potential savings to the Marina Fund of 100,000 per year. The would presumably free up Marina Fund reserves for the float and gangway construction necessary to initiate the service, and it could be done with zero cost impact to the City's General Fund.
Most important, the total investment in infrastructure is reduced by $5 million or more, according to WTA's estimate of terminal construction cost. This drastically reduces the debt service and the required subsidy level for the new ferry, which makes the entire concept far more palatable to many public transportation advocates who, with some justification, see ferries as a relatively inefficient way to solve transportation problems.
Because the parking capacity in any Berkeley Marina location is probably limited to 300-500 cars per weekday, the scale of the service should be kept relatively small compared to other ferry routes. This makes the viability of the service particularly sensitive to high first-cost, and points strongly to the use of the existing facilities inside the marina rather than major new facilities development.
at end of
161 A-E Docks and overflow for
495 Doubletree Hotel
105 East Side of
200 South Sailing Basin Windsurfing area
105 Dock Docks J-K, Marina Adm. Bldg, Bait Shop
115 Southside Cal Sailing and
220 L - M Dock Docks L-M, Berkeley Co., Corporation Yard
133 Skates Restaurant Skates,
87 N - O Docks, Yacht Club
320 HS Lordships Rest. HS Lordships,
65 On-street Cesar Chavez Park
The Aerial photo shows spaces within 300 meters of a ferry terminal at the Doubletree Hotel (a 3.7 minute walk at 3 mph)
Spaces that would directly serve a ferry terminal at the Doubletree Hotel:
495 Doubletree Hotel
161 A-E Docks and overflow for
78 75% of East Side of
120 1.1 acre of gravel parking east of
In addition there are 77 spaces in the
launch ramp area, approx. 40 parallel spaces along the north side of
Summary: There are about 1,000 spaces that could realistically serve passengers on a Ferry departing from the Berkeley Marina Doubletree Hotel. Hourly service by a 149-passenger ferry, assuming 80% arrive by car (from WTA study) and assuming that all cars are single-occupancy (worst case, neglecting multiple-passenger vehicles and "kiss-and-ride" drop-offs) and assuming full boats on three departures, results in an upper bound for parking demand of 358 spaces over the morning commute. Without these worst-case assumptions, the actual parking demand probably drops to somewhere around 300 spaces or less.
There appears to be no practical way to incorporate dedicated ferry parking. Multi-use is critical. The spaces used by ferry passengers during commute and working hours are also used by hotel guests, berthers and park visitors on weekends.
A parking fee is desirable from a
transportation planning point of view, but the close proximity of numerous
other parking areas and the reliance by businesses, non-profit organizations