AJOT Insights

Port of San Francisco’s Nerney outlines seawall renewal and 2018 expectations

Feb 14, 2018

Michael Nerney, assistant deputy director, Port of San Francisco said to AJOT in an interview that the Port is working to win San Francisco voter support for a bond issue to re-enforce the seawall that protects the Port and downtown San Francisco now threatened by sea level rise and the possibility of an earthquake.

A new survey of San Francisco voters found that “nearly three-quarters of voters say they would vote “yes” on a bond measure to fund improvements to San Francisco’s Seawall, based on a citywide voter survey conducted between January 11-21, 2018” on behalf of the Port of San Francisco.

Seventy-three percent of voters polled were in favor of a proposed general obligation bond measure of up to $500 million being considered for the November 2018 ballot, which would help protect and strengthen the Embarcadero Seawall. The bond measure would require two-thirds voter approval and will not raise tax rates.

The City of San Francisco, through the San Francisco Port Commission, is endeavoring to make major improvements to the over 100-year-old Embarcadero Seawall so the City can withstand the next major earthquake and can prepare for sea level rise. The Seawall underpins the Embarcadero Roadway and provides flood protection to over 500 acres of the City, including the Muni Metro Embarcadero tunnel. The Embarcadero Seawall, which stretches three-miles from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek, sits over unstable mud and is vulnerable to lateral spreading and settlement in a major earthquake, which could destroy or seriously damage utilities, light rail and buildings along The Embarcadero.

In other Port news, Nerney noted:

Cruise Ships: The Port “had 81 ship calls and 280,000 passengers in 2017. The forecast for 2018 is 77 ship calls and 270,000 passengers, and in 2019, there will be 83 ship calls and 290,000 passengers.” The Grand Princess homeports year-round with 35 calls this year. Norwegian Bliss, the largest cruise ship ever to call San Francisco, will make her maiden call in October, 2018. The ship is 1,069 feet long, 168,000 gross tons, and carries up to 4,000 guests and 2,100 crew members

Pasha Auto Terminal: The Port “is expecting an increase in automotive ship calls in 2018.” He is expecting five ship calls per month compared to three ship calls per month in 2017. Pasha Automotive Services (PAS), a subsidiary of the Pasha Group, operates the Port’s Pier 80 facility which opened in 2016.The Port’s agreement with Pasha Automotive Services transformed Pier 80 from an underutilized asset to a thriving marine terminal.

New Ferry Terminal: The Port is “opening a new ferry terminal at Mission Bay that, in part, will encourage fans to arrive by ferry rather than by car at the adjacent Chase Center arena. The Golden State Warriors plan to be playing at the new arena in time for the 2019-2020 season.” The ferry landing will have the capacity to handle up to 10,000 passengers per day. The ferry landing is essential to alleviate current regional transportation overcrowding, and provide transportation resiliency in the event of an earthquake, Bay Area Rapid Transit or Bay Bridge failure, or other unplanned events and reduce car emissions.

Shipyard Request for Proposal: Pier 70. The Port of San Francisco will re-issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new operator of the Pier 70 shipyard early in 2018, with a target date of February 27th for Port Commission consideration. The Port is fully committed to finding the right ship repair operator and maintaining industrial maritime uses at the Pier 70 shipyard. On August 15, 2017, the Port issued an RFP for a new operator of the Pier 70 Shipyard and received three responses, but only one proposal from Vigor Industrial, LLC (Vigor) of Portland, Oregon was deemed to be responsive. In August 2017, the Port issued a Request for Proposal for a new shipyard operator: “We received three responses but only one was deemed viable. It was determined that it was in the Port’s best interest to talk to more than one bidder.” The new RFP will allow the possibility of public investment in the shipyard’s infrastructure, as well as consideration of capital equipment ownership transfer to facilitate financing of needed facility improvements.

New Fisherman’s Wharf Program: The Port is engaged in a pilot program to allow fisherman at world-famous Fisherman’s Wharf to sell fish directly to the public off their fishing boats. The pilot project, facilitated by Port wharfinger Anita Yao, has one fisherman who has the necessary licenses but up to forty fishermen could potentially obtain licenses and sell fish off their boats to the public.

Author Photo
Stas Margaronis
American Journal of Transportation
WEST COAST CORRESPONDENT