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Marina Green now
The Public’'s vision for the Marina Green.

Our last chance to save the Marina Green

The Recreation & Parks Department (RPD) plans to give all the open waterfront access to a single group of users – boaters – and take it away from everyone else. They want to fill the open waterfront along Marina Green with 235 boat slips for mostly large, 40-foot boats.

Marina Green Tomorrow?
Rec & Park’'s vision for the Marina Green.

Save the Marina Green for Everyone

The Safai-Peskin-Chan proposed ordinance will be heard by the Land Use Committee on Monday, 1/29/24 at their regular meeting. If approved, it will go to the Board of Supervisors for a vote in the following week or so. And from there it either dies or goes to Breed for approval.

The Land Use Committee is Melgar (Chair), Peskin and Preston.

RPD lets PG&E off the hook

This ill-conceived plan results from the settlement agreement reached in the legal battle between the City and PG&E. It lets PG&E off the hook. Instead of cleaning up toxic waste and rebuilding Gashouse Cove in the East Marina — as the lawsuit stipulated — RPD worked out a deal with PG&E to relocate the Gashouse Cove harbor and leave the Cove to silt over.

The plan gives RPD a private-use harbor and a new breakwater, courtesy of PG&E's settlement money. In addition to adding boat fees to its budget using a public asset, RPD hopes their proposed breakwater – paid for with PG&E settlement money -- will solve longstanding dredging issues with the West Harbor. But wait…they have already had a few failed dredging solutions.

RPD’s plan also takes away the sheltered waterfront from swimmers, youth sailors learning to sail, recreational fishermen, kayakers, rowers, and waterfowl. This plan jeopardizes the shielded conditions that make the Marina waterfront a treasured haven for these activities.

quote marks

Tell City Hall: You want RPD & PG&E to clean up and rebuild Gashouse Cove. You want to maintain historic public access to the open waterfront as it exists today. You do NOT want to convert a San Francisco crown jewel to a parking lot for yachts that only a privileged few will enjoy.”

RPD ridicules Marina neighbors

RPD ridicules Marina neighbors as privileged whiners complaining about losing their view. The truth is, hardly anyone in the Marina has a view. The reality is everyone in the Bay Area uses the Marina Green to recreate - especially those who need access to green space and the water. City apartment and condo dwellers escape to Marina Green as their balcony and backyard! Significant events such as Fleet Week, Escape from Alcatraz, and Sail GP, to name a few, bring in thousands of spectators and generate millions of tourist dollars for local businesses.

Bay Area locals and tourists stroll and relax on benches or eat to-go lunch in their cars along the Marina Green Promenade, drawn by the easy access to the magnificence of nature provided by the Marina Green Park. While the grassy rectangle of the Marina Green would remain, RPD's proposed plan is to close it off with fences, docks, and all-night security lights as in the existing harbors.

RPD's plan restricts open and universal access to the waterfront and reserves parking for berth holders. And say goodbye to Youth Sailing! The area of favorable surf and wind conditions necessary for teaching Bay Area youth to sail does not exist in the RPD plan. Should RPD be allowed to sully the last remaining publicly accessible waterfront within city jurisdiction for a harbor serving boats of 40 feet or more in size?

Mis-allocation of funds?

Is it misallocating funds to redirect settlement money from its designated purpose? RPD's plan redirects the settlement money by changing the zoning of the Marina waterfront to bypass being accused of misallocating funds. RPD now refers to the entire Marina as a "…harbor that just doesn't happen to have any boats in it." History proves that is not true. The Marina Green Park was created as a redesign of the 1915 Pan Pacific Expo location, with one harbor to the east and one to the west. A 1,000-foot promenade intentionally separated the harbors to provide residents with a visual respite from the congestion of city living.

RPD's plan for the Marina starkly contradicts the Eight Priorities of San Francisco's General Plan. Those priorities emphasize public access to open space and protecting historic landmarks and vistas.

City Hall apathy despite public outcry

What's alarming is the apparent apathy from City Hall despite massive public outcry. Some District Supervisors are not interested in issues outside their districts. The Mayor is steadfastly quiet and non-committal. The Marina District's own Supervisor recused herself because she has a boat slip. When the RPD plan comes up for a vote before the Board of Supervisors, the Marina District — where the plan will be hatched — will have no vote.

Recognizing that this is indeed an issue of city-wide concern, Supervisors Safai, Peskin, and Chan have intervened to save public access and universal use of the waterfront. Their proposed Gashouse Cove Project Ordinance (231191) will come before the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks and prohibit RPD from using City funds to study or develop the area.

It's just wrong

It is wrong to take a beloved city asset from the public and convert it to private use. Please join us in supporting this Ordinance and opposing the conversion of public land to private use. We are Keep the Waterfront Open, a grassroots group of citizens who want to preserve today's highest and best use of the waterfront for the greatest number of people from diverse walks of life.

Tell City Hall

You want RPD & PG&E to clean up and rebuild Gashouse Cove. You want to maintain historic public access to the open waterfront as it exists today. You do NOT want to convert a San Francisco crown jewel to a parking lot for yachts that only a privileged few will enjoy.

Click here to send a letter to the Mayor and the Supervisors. Tell City Hall to VOTE YES on the Gashouse Cove Project Ordinance (BOS 231191).

Evelyn Graham, member of KeepTheWaterfrontOpen.org

January 19, 2024

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