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San Francisco's Marina District Residents Want To Block Plans For Alcatraz Ferry Service From Fort Mason

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The National Park Service has a plan that could move the Alcatraz ferry service to from along the Embarcadero to Fort Mason in the Marina District, where some residents are fuming.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Park Service officials may have to move because they have been unable to negotiate an agreement with the Port of San Francisco over a 50-year lease at Piers 311/2 and 33, the current locations.

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina and has introduced a resolution urging the Park Service to withdraw its plans, said the area is not sustainable for the 1.7 million passengers that use the ferries annually.

"The notion of putting the ferry at Fort Mason is absurd," he told the Chronicle. "It would cripple an entire neighborhood and hurt businesses on Fisherman's Wharf that depend on the ferry traffic."

Alexandra Picavet, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area - which includes Alcatraz - said that under current rules, the company that wins the ferry contract decides from where the boats leave. Federal law mandates they put out a bid every 10 years.

The Park Service wants a 50-year or longer lease on the ferry piers for so they can sublet the site themselves to whichever company wins the ferry contract.

Using Pier 3 at Fort Mason would be ideal, Picavet said, because because it's located on federally-owned land and they could start the process immediately.

"It's a location that has the capacity to provide the service we need, and Fort Mason even has a historic link to Alcatraz, since that's where the prisoners left from," she said.

Picavet said the current contract with Hornblower expires in 2016 and the Park Service wants everything ready when the new contract is put out to bid.

But Farrell said the Fort Mason plan is being used by the Park Service to negotiate with the port over long-term lease of an Embarcadero site.

Farrell has also has suggested the city should take over the Alcatraz ferry from the Park Service.

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