Why is There Car Parking on the Marina Path?

The San Francisco waterfront is a special place, one that we residents love and proudly share with visitors from around the world. There’s the energy of the Embarcadero, the calm southern waterfront heading down to Hunters Point, the views from the top of Sutro Heights and the awe-inspiring seaside stretch of Great Highway. Then there’s Marina Boulevard.

Connecting Fisherman’s Wharf to Golden Gate Bridge, and serving as part of the backyard for thousands of residents of the Marina, this is one of the busiest paths in the city, with huge numbers of people walking, biking, running and much more. Citywide bicycle counts show that the number of people biking has nearly doubled since 2006. Anyone who uses the path can plainly see how in demand this narrow stretch of space really is; during peak periods, like on weekends, the path gets extremely crowded.

Yet, a tiny group of extremely wealthy boat owners are pushing hard to continue to be able to drive and park on this popular, beloved path. The boat owners’ demand is unprecedented in the Bay Area. The path is part of a visionary and in-progress plan for a 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail that will offer walking and biking path around the entire bay. 330 miles have been completed in the past 25 years, but these three blocks from Scott Street to Baker Street remain to be the only stretch in that area where people walking and biking share the path with vehicles.

As part of this project, the City conducted counts that showed an overwhelming 98% of people on the path were walking or biking, with a mere 2% in cars, either traveling through or parking their car.

Marina Blvd Infographic

CIty study showing that 98% of Marina Bay Trail use is people biking or walking; cars account for only 2% of use.

Right now, the City is responding to its own permit that requires it to conduct a community planning process that looks at design options that “provid[e] a high quality bicycle, pedestrian, and general visitor experience” for this stretch of this path. Over the past few months, the City has held two community meetings, and the public feedback is clear. A survey conducted in December showed that 58% of people want more open space for walking and biking and that 77% of people are concerned with conflicts between vehicles and other users.

What is this City doing about this issue? So far, nothing. There will be one final community meeting coming up (to be determined, in May) to decide whether this tiny group of wealthy boat owners will continue to make this stretch of waterfront path dangerous and even more crowded for the huge numbers of residents and visitors who depend on it as valuable recreational and commuter space. Now is the time to influence what will be discussed at that meeting.

Our waterfront deserves the highest quality access for people walking and biking, so let’s make it happen! Take a moment to write a letter  to the City and to Supervisor Farrell letting them know you want to see a clear and open Marina path. (Click on the link to open up an e-mail template.)

Supervisor Mark Farrell
Board of Supervisors, District 2

Phil Ginsburg, Director
SF Recreation and Parks

Lawrence Goldzband, Executive Director
Bay Conservation Development Commission

Ellen Miramontes, Bay Design Analyst
Bay Conservation Development Commission

Cristina Olea, Project Manager
SF Department of Public Works

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