Draft Plan Seeks Further Public & Stakeholder Input, Aims to Create Most Transit, Bicycle and Pedestrian-Friendly Major International Sporting Event in History
03/31/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today joined members of the Board of Supervisors, SFMTA and transit advocates to unveil the draft transportation plan to move up to 200,000 residents and visitors daily to the City’s waterfront for the 34th America’s Cup, promising the most transit, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly major sporting event in history. The draft of the “People Plan” is among the first planning documents required by March 31 in the Host and Venue Agreement between the City and the Event Authority for the 34th America’s Cup, along with initial plans for waste management, security and marketing. The early draft of the People Plan is the product of analysis by city and SFMTA staff, with early input from stakeholder groups. The draft People Plan announced today will also undergo significant and further revisions, following input from members of the public, advocates, city and agency staff, the environmental community and other stakeholders in the coming months. Final approval and consideration will occur following the completion of environmental review.
“We are moving rapidly to meet our commitments to host a spectacular 34th America’s Cup in 2013 and set a new standard for sustainable event-planning,” said Mayor Lee. “The America’s Cup is a unique opportunity to leverage our region’s transportation resources and our enthusiasm to deliver the most transit, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly international major sporting event in history for residents and visitors alike.”
“By beginning our transportation planning more than two years in advance of the races, we are engaging transit advocates, neighbors and the community from the beginning to ensure we meet the transportation needs of the races as well as City residents and commuters,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “The America’s Cup is also a catalyst to improve the efficiency and condition of our transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for the long-term benefit of San Francisco.”
“The People Plan is ambitiously designed to connect, in the most green transit-oriented way achievable, tens-of-thousands tourists and residents to the America’s Cup races and festivities,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. “As an early advocate in getting San Francisco to secure hosting the AC34 and as Chair of the County Transportation Authority, we must effectively marshal all transit assets for what will be an exciting human-intensive series of events.”
Leveraging Transit Resources for an Efficient, Sustainable Event: The draft People Plan was developed around four organizing principles: resource efficiency, environmental sustainability, strategic adaptability, and positive legacy. The provision of robust transit options will create environmental sustainability and resource efficiency benefits while laying the groundwork for a positive legacy of improved transit operations in these areas often frequented by residents and visitors alike. The initial development and further refinement of the transit strategies will be based on the increase of frequency of service along existing routes, including bus, cable car and streetcar lines, as well as regional ferry service with certain modifications and/or limited stop service. The use of existing routes will serve to reduce confusion for those familiar with the City’s transit system. The route modifications and limited stop service are intended to increase efficiency of travel from regional transportation hubs to waterfront corridor locations, while still retaining the ability to connect to other lines around the City.
“The America’s Cup will bring people from around the region and the world to San Francisco and we are already working with our regional transportation partners and experts to leverage our existing transportation resources to deliver an efficient, sustainable and flexible People Plan that creates a positive legacy for the future,” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
Encourage Bicycling: Each of the guiding principles set forth above (efficiency, sustainability, adaptability and legacy) would be advanced by the establishment of cycling as a viable option for the widest possible range of spectators. The relative lack of hills along the San Francisco waterfront corridor combined with its existing bicycle pathway assets together create an exciting opportunity to achieve this objective. The People Plan will evaluate ways to leverage these existing assets to create a cycling-friendly set of Events through widespread bicycle parking areas, bicycle rentals and bicycle sharing programs along the waterfront. Lastly, while the waterfront corridor already presents an attractive area for cyclists, there are locations that could benefit from temporary or permanent improvements to bicycle circulation, including evaluating special signaling or other bike improvements to improve flow along the northbound Embarcadero lanes and further improvements from the San Francisco Bike Plan.
A Natural Pedestrian Corridor & Spectator Experience: The general cluster of Event attractions along the City waterfront will allow for a wide range of participants and race viewers to travel to their destinations on foot. The People Plan will be further developed to enhance the pedestrian experience throughout the corridor for both residents and visitors alike, including temporary or permanent wayfinding signage (as with bicycle signage, potentially providing a positive legacy opportunity), temporary street closures or restricted automobile access enhancements to pedestrian safety in key locations and evaluation of key Embarcadero crossings to foster the safe coordination of pedestrian traffic with other modes of traffic moving through the area.
Severely Limited Parking & Restricted Automobile Access: Parking options in close proximity to the waterfront areas are limited, and will be further limited under the restricted automobile access areas for the races. Managing the spaces that are accessible in the most efficient manner will rely on the SFMTA’s SFPark initiative as well as the establishment of higher-volume satellite parking facilities in other locations that have reliable and effective connections to the waterfront viewing areas. With SFPark, real-time data and demand-responsive pricing work together to readjust parking patterns in the City so that parking is easier to find. SFPark will be testing its new parking management system at 6,000 of San Francisco’s 25,000 metered spaces and 12,250 spaces in 15 of 20 City-owned parking garages. The pilot phase of SFPark will be rolled out over the course of the next several months. The Draft People plan also evaluates options for higher-volume, satellite parking options at locations away from the waterfront but with good transit links or other shuttle options to provide connections to the final waterfront destinations, including Lot A south of AT&T Park, city garages and key regional Park & Ride transit hubs.
Transit & Transportation Legacy Projects: While not directly linked to the America’s Cup preparations, several projects could provide some benefits to the transportation strategies under the draft People Plan. These projects – in various stages of readiness and in some cases without a firm financing plan – include Jefferson Street public realm improvements, Embarcadero improvements, the Fort Mason Tunnel F-Line extension, Bay Trail and SF Bike Plan improvements. The People Plan will monitor and evaluate these projects and other opportunities to enhance the America’s Cup transportation strategies and leverage long-term improvements.
Public Comment & Input Needed by May 31, 2011: The draft People Plan and other documents can be viewed at www.americascup.com/sanfrancisco. Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to review the draft People Plan and provide feedback and comments on the website of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (http://www.oewd.org) or via email at email@example.com. The City asks that any comments be provided on or before May 31, 2011. These comments will be used to further refine the People Plan in advance of the September 30, 2011 deadline noted above as well as to inform further Event plans and EIR impact and possible mitigation measure analyses. The City currently anticipates that the Planning Department will issue the Draft EIR for the Event for public review and comment in July 2011.
“San Francisco continues to raise the bar when it comes to staging world class events,” said San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee (ACOC) Chairman Mark Buell. “This plan serves as a model for how a great city puts on an international event. The City, its partners and stakeholders deserve our gratitude for their work.”
“We’ve worked closely with the City and the local America’s Cup Organizing Committee to deliver the greatest America’s Cup the world has ever seen, while showcasing San Francisco on the world stage as a top international sporting destination,” said America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Craig Thompson. “By partnering with the community, we will not only create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for America’s Cup fans, but we will create a lasting legacy for the City and residents of San Francisco.”
About the America’s Cup
Nearly 160 years old, the America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. Initially a one-on-one competition between teams representing foreign yacht clubs, the America’s Cup has evolved into one of the world’s leading sporting competitions – featuring the best sailors on the world’s fastest boats – the wing-sailed AC45 and AC72 catamarans. The 34th America’s Cup Finals will be held in late 2013 in San Francisco, with the new America’s Cup World Series beginning in 2011. For more information, go to www.americascup.com