How The Proposal Came to Be
For two decades, the City of San Francisco engaged in a legal battle with PG&E over 100-year-old toxic sediments in the San Francisco Bay. The toxic dump was done at a time when the Marina neighborhood housed a gas manufacturing operation and Gashouse Cove served as the toxic waste dumping ground. In a 2021 settlement, PG&E agreed to contribute up to $190 million for the remediation and repair of the Marina’s East Harbor/Gashouse Cove.
Rec & Park Proposal
The City’s Recreation & Parks Department (RPD) seized the opportunity to address an unrelated problem with the settlement funds. Some of the money would be used to solve expensive seasonal dredging of the West Harbor. The remedy would build a new breakwater and relocate boats from the East Harbor marina to a newly-constructed harbor (X on the map) extending out from the existing West Harbor. The toxic sediment at Gashouse Cove would be left largely to “silt-over” and become a shallow basin recreation area (? on the map).
The proposal puts a San Francisco treasure at risk of permanent loss. It will drastically alter the wide expanse of open waterfront along the Marina Green Promenade, a historic attraction that RPD wants to fill with the masts and hulls of approximately 235 pleasure boats and luxury yachts.
San Francisco Treasure
The Marina Green holds a significant place along San Francisco's remarkably beautiful waterfront. Its allure lies in the openness and tranquility it offers. The vast open space and the expansive view of water, spanning a thousand feet, is a rare feature shared by only a few cities worldwide. With a boat harbor to the east and another to the west, this unobstructed "window" to the Bay is a defining feature. The window was designed along with keeping the Palace of Fine Arts when the Pan Pacific Expo closed in 1915. If RPD is allowed to obscure this iconic view by luxury yachts and small craft boats, the Marina Green will lose its uniqueness. and become a mere grassy area devoid of distinction.
Another Loss for Local Businesses
The proposed boat harbor, if allowed, will jeopardize the appeal of the Marina Green and have direct economic consequences for local businesses. Events like Fleet Week will no longer be spectacular with a partially obstructed view across the Bay. The essence of many events (Escape from Alcatraz, Sail GP, 4th of July and others) is diminished when activities are only partially visible through locked gates and a forest of boat masts. The proposed new harbor risks affecting the experience of both tourists and locals who currently relish the opportunity to relax by the Bay, enjoying lunch or a cup of coffee with an unimpeded view.
Are Additional Boat Slips Worth It?
It’s not boaters vs. non-boaters or wealthy vs. non-wealthy. Boats are as much a part of San Francisco’s character as the Golden Gate Bridge. RPD's proposal gives the boating community a nominal number of additional slips - not a significant increase. There are already over 725 slips combined in the two (2) existing Marina harbors to the East and West. The proposal takes away from millions of non-boating residents, visitors and tourists the incredible panorama of a clear sight line across the Bay. It’s truly a matter of highest and best use for the majority of users and if public-use land should be converted to private-use boats.