October 30, 2014 1 Comment
Golden Gate Ferry is pulling out all the stops tomorrow, advertising what was billed to me as “load-and-go” service from Larkspur Ferry Terminal (LFT) to the Ferry Building from 7am to 11:30am, which in practice will mean a departure roughly every 15 minutes. To accomplish this feat, the agency is pressing all but one ferry in the fleet into service on the route, creating a water bridge capable of moving around 2,100 people per hour from the county and San Francisco. It’s good news for San Franciscans and Marinites worried about how to get to the victory parade, but the problem is how to get to the terminal in the first place. But first, What You Need To Know About Ferry Service Tomorrow.
What you need to know
From 7am to 11:30am, ferries will operate in a load-and-go service model from Larkspur to San Francisco, loading up to their limits before departing. In the afternoon, they will operate in the opposite direction in a similar fashion. There will be terrible parking, so don’t try it. Route 29 and The Wave (Route 25) will operate as normal and will probably offer you the best way to get to the ferry, even if it does take forever. Taxis, bikes, and carpools are the best other ways to travel. Or you could just take the bus in: all regular bus service is still happening. If you’re taking the day off work, take a commuter run in. Full details on the GGT website.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that a third, less stressful way to get to the parade might be by BART. Either drive and park in the Richmond or El Cerrito park & ride lots, or take the 40/42 to the train. That way you can get to Civic Center and totally avoid downtown traffic.
Back to analysis
In total, the measure will be capable of moving about 9,400 people into the City during the morning period, roughly 10 times as many people as there are parking spaces. GGBHTD isn’t planning on running more buses to handle the crowds – they don’t have the manpower to operate their regular schedule, much less an added schedule – so regular Wave shuttle and Route 29 service is all the ferry will get. The 21 buses running on those two lines during the enhanced service hours will be able to accommodate around another 1,200 passengers, assuming very tight conditions on the 41-seat Orions generally used on the routes.
Bicycling is another possibility, but with only two Spauldings to provide their generous bicycle capacity, bicycle parking at LFT will be in short supply. Taxis might make sense, but congestion in the broader Larkspur Landing neighborhood will likely be wretched.
This is a great opportunity to show what LFT could be with minimal headways. If you miss your ferry, you can just catch the next one: if it’s not already docked, it’s probably steaming down the channel.
It’s also a great teaching lesson for what happens when Larkspur is used only as a park & ride. When primary access is by car, it’s necessary to go all-out to store the cars, and when a special event comes there’s no more capacity to move people to the terminal.
It will be a good day tomorrow to celebrate the Giants (rain notwithstanding), and the ferry is going to be one of the best ways to enjoy the festivities. Getting to the ferry, however, might be the hardest part of the trip.