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Parking Charges Loom For Harbor Bay Ferry Users

Parking charges loom for Harbor Bay Ferry users. (Google Street View)

Parking charges loom for Harbor Bay Ferry users. (Google Street View)

Tomorrow night, Alameda city council will consider a three-pronged plan to deal with parking at the Harbor Bay ferry terminal.

The popularity of the ferry as a means to commute to San Francisco means that more people are driving to the terminal than the lot has parking spaces for. According to a city staff report for tomorrow’s council meeting, roughly 350 ferry riders drive to the terminal, which has a parking lot capacity of only 250.

The drivers of the excess 100 vehicles end up parking in nearby residential neighborhoods or in parking spaces intended for users of the shoreline park.

The Headlands and Columbia homeowner associations (HOA), which have public streets, and the Bay Colony, Freeport, and Cantamar associations, which have private streets, are either asking for the city to take steps or implement local rules to deal with the overflow parking.

City staff are proposing a three-part approach to the issue, which includes parking permits within the homeowners associations, and parking charges for ferry users.

From the staff report:

  • First, the city will approve a residential permit parking program on the public streets located at the Columbia and Headlands sub-HOAs. The permit parking program would prohibit vehicles from parking on those streets for more than four hours without a permit. Enforcement would be provided by the Alameda Police Department, and the HOAs would handle the cost and administration of permits.
  • Second, charge $2-$4 per day for parking at the 250 parking spaces at the ferry parking terminal. Parking charges encourage existing parkers to choose alternative transportation to the ferry and generate revenue to fund the plan’s third component.
  • Third, provide free, reliable transit service through the residential communities of east Alameda and Harbor Bay, where most ferry riders live. This free transit service may mirror the Harbor Bay Business Park’s existing service but in Harbor Bay’s residential communities. Or it may rely on an improved AC Transit’s Line 21, which is free for users who transfer to the ferry, but is currently unreliable. Staff is exploring whether the transit service’s route can include a stop at a location with expanded parking supply, such as the parking lot at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex.

City staffers would conduct outreach to ferry users, to collect feedback, through the summer, with a view to implementing the plan on January 1, 2017.

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which operates the ferry service, considers parking charges a change in fare, which would be subject to approval by that agency’s board of directors.

Parking enforcement revenue is expected to cover enforcement cost, theoretically resulting in a cost neutral program.

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