Ferry Terminal Project:
A Vision for the Future
About the Project
The Redwood City Ferry Terminal Project is a plan to create public ferry service to the mid-peninsula with Redwood City representing the southernmost hub for the San Francisco Bay Ferry system. This potential service would provide a new transportation alternative connecting the mid-peninsula to San Francisco and the East Bay, reduce automobile traffic, and enhance emergency preparedness for the movement of first responders and supplies by water after a catastrophic event.
The ferry terminal would be designed as an alternative transportation option for commuters, helping to remove single-occupancy vehicles from congested highways. Vessels serving the terminal would travel at speeds up to 34 knots with a travel time of approximately one hour to either San Francisco or the East Bay.
The ferry system would also serve as a key piece of the region’s emergency response infrastructure. After a major event, the ferry system will be relied upon to move first responders to affected areas and will serve as a means of evacuating or transporting victims or those affected by a major earthquake or other disaster.
The ferry system would also allow residents to plan pleasant recreational outings on the Bay to San Francisco or Oakland without having to worry about traffic delays or finding and paying for parking.
San Francisco Bay Ferry – operated by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) -- would provide scheduled origin service from Redwood City to San Francisco and destination service from both San Francisco and the East Bay to Redwood City. WETA’s system uses the Clipper Card payment system and connects to other public transit alternatives such as BART, Muni, Caltrain, SamTrans and AC Transit.
The planned terminal would be constructed on the east end of the Port of Redwood City’s property, with access to the San Francisco Bay via the shipping channel. Waterside improvements would include a passenger float, piles, fixed pier and accessible gangway.
Landside improvements would include a parking lot, bus and shuttle drop-off lane/turnaround, bike storage, restrooms, and public access amenities such as walking trails, benches, picnic tables, etc., and opportunities for pop-up vendor carts.
Redwood City launched the wide-ranging feasibility study in 2019 with key assistance from WETA, which operates San Francisco Bay Ferry service. It included extensive public outreach and survey input.
The study focused on five key questions to determine feasibility of ferry service in Redwood City: ridership demand, infrastructure requirements, financial capacity, public benefit and the project’s consistency with existing plans. The study found that Redwood City ferry service met all five feasibility tests
The Board of Port Commissioners and WETA Board of Directors accepted the study in November 2020. The Redwood City Council accepted the study early in January 2021 and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority accepted it in March of 2021. The agencies will now develop a business plan, as required by the San Mateo Transportation Authority. The business plan is a crucial next step expected to be completed in the first half of 2021.
You can read the full feasibility study and find additional information on the proposed project on the City of Redwood City’s website.
To read past press releases on the Ferry Terminal Project, click the links below: