Ream Realm Plan'/>

August 21, 2008

San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf Public Ream Realm Plan

Aquatic Park Concept

From the Chronicle with regard to the city's plan to "reinvigorate the streets and public spaces of Fisherman’s Wharf" and related public spaces including Aquatic Park:

The main drag of Fisherman's Wharf would become more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists and less auto-friendly as part of a $10 million city plan to improve the world-famous tourist attraction.
The preliminary proposal focuses on Jefferson Street, the one-way road that runs from Powell Street to Aquatic Park. Plans call for removing on-street parking and taking away one of two traffic lanes, using the space instead for bicycle lanes and widened sidewalks with benches. Artists' renderings of two sections of the revamped street were made public Wednesday.

And an unfortunate typo (we hope) from the project website:

Fisherman's Wharf Public 'Ream' Plan

UPDATE: Above typo quickly fixed (and thanks for plugging in).

S.F. plans a new look for the old wharf [SFGate]
Fisherman's Wharf Public Realm Plan [SFGov]

First Published: August 21, 2008 9:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Should I care? Nobody who actually lives here goes to Fisherman's Wharf.

Posted by: js at August 21, 2008 9:30 AM

Will this be the thing to finally send Rob Anderson over the edge?!?!

Posted by: Tweety at August 21, 2008 9:37 AM

I enjoy jogging up the bay along the Embarcadero and through Fishermans Warf. It's a very beautiful spot, but quite annoying with the over congestion of dingbatic tourists. I think these changes will be great and are much needed. Driving down Jefferson is slow and painful anyway because people basically already use it as a sidewalk - so why not make it one. And it's layout is pretty terrible - there's a section of the sidewalk that restaurants use completely as their patio, so it's basically impassable without walking on the street.

Posted by: phatty at August 21, 2008 9:47 AM

I've always wondered why in the world we have nine foot sidewalks and a parking lane in an area with so much foot traffic. Get rid of the street parking and widen the sidewalks. If only we could do the same on Stockton in Chinatown.

Posted by: Brutus at August 21, 2008 9:57 AM

I agree that at this point this stretch is pretty much useless for car; adding bike lines would be nice because it is very difficult to get through that area now. I would also make the remaining parking 10 or 30 minute zones so that people who need to run quick errands in the area can do so. Everyone else can just pay for the garages or come by some other means.

Posted by: NoeNeighbor at August 21, 2008 9:58 AM

This project will cost a lot more than $10 million. The way this great, and I mean that, operates it will cost about 5x that much - at least.

Posted by: PPC at August 21, 2008 9:59 AM

Typo - the way this great city is run - it will cost 5x the projected amount

Posted by: PPC at August 21, 2008 10:23 AM

And I still wouldn't go there, voluntarily.

Posted by: etslee at August 21, 2008 10:28 AM

The link to the artist renderings shows actual photos of what's there now.

The artists renderings are here:

http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/planning/City_Design_Group/Jefferson-Street-Taylor-to-Powell.pdf

Can't really say that it does anything for me.

Posted by: tipster at August 21, 2008 10:56 AM

I’d like to see the city do what it can to preserve fishing down at the wharf (up to maybe no fees)

Its be nice to allow them to sell live crab and fresh salmon right off the boats. I’d consider going over there for that.

A casual place that served local sea food would be a draw but you can’t create an environment or history that has been altered

Otherwise why would a local ever go over there? There aren’t even seafood places that have any history or character that haven’t gone tourist

Having local parents and grandparents I have a lot of connections to places in SF through their stories but with this area I feel totally disconneted from. My Dad has told me they used to go down there when it was local but that ended so long ago the whole city lost its connection

Also, the planning is this area is poor all the way back for many blocks. Some of those hotels and shops are huge eye sores and I can’t even imagine the historic buildings they knocked down to create this tourist trap

Posted by: Zig at August 21, 2008 12:09 PM

Etslee - crowds of gawking slow-moving tourists, tacky t-shirts and bad food....whats not to love?

Posted by: CameronRex at August 21, 2008 12:27 PM

"There aren’t even seafood places that have any history or character that haven’t gone tourist"

They may have gone tourist long ago, but there are four or five old school San Francisco seafood spots down there. Say what you will about the tourist aspect. It's there. The fact remains that these places really are the last of a dying breed. You can't even Cioppino anywhere else. And lots of locals will still go once a year or so. We just took my nephew to Alioto's last week. It's the only reason to go down there. (Well, those places and Hooters. Strictly for the wings of course.)

Posted by: fluj at August 21, 2008 12:28 PM

Why would you go to the Wharf?

umm, In-N-Out anybody?? Where else can you get that in the city?

Posted by: Jordan at August 21, 2008 1:18 PM

fluj are they any good? I heard they were serving frozen fish and were over priced

Though I still go to Tadich which is also over priced

As a kid the only time I ever went over that way was to the arcade at Pier 39

Posted by: Zig at August 21, 2008 1:24 PM

Zig, does Hooters even serve fish?

Posted by: Sb at August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

This isn't about going there. Right now it is gross and awful to the point of being depressing to look at while driving by, and even though it is designed to draw crowds and does, there is not enough room for people. This is just basic reengineering and basic aesthetic clean up that is way overdue.

The $10 million figure seems low, and if this goes badly then that much might be spent on public relations and lawsuits alone. The 5x estimate sounds about right to me. Let's clean this mess up and get the tourists out of the road, to the extent that is possible.

Posted by: Mole Man at August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

We had some really good seafood at Alioto's last week. It tasted very fresh to me. Oysters, crab, scallops, Cioppino. (My palate is admittedly not the greatest compared to some other people I know. But it's OK, and my girlfriend is sort of a foodie.)

Posted by: fluj at August 21, 2008 1:37 PM

Many tourists ask about the GG bridge bike trip. I'd told them it is incredible trip and most of them has bike lane, that is after they get out of the slog in Fisherman Wharf.

This should have done long time ago. And the merchant should be charged for part of the expense.

Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at August 21, 2008 1:49 PM

Many tourists ask about the GG bridge bike trip. I'd told them it is incredible trip and most of them has bike lane

true, but bring a sweater! we learned that the hard way! :)

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 21, 2008 2:03 PM

From my experience, Alioto's is about the ONLY place down there you can actually get a decent meal. But you can have a similar meal in many restaurants around town (cioppino included).

Obviously most locals don't really care, since we're only down there when friends visit from out of town. But this concept makes sense given our city runs off of tourism. Hey, nothing says "real San Francisco" like previously-frozen New England clam chowder in a bread bowl!

Posted by: Dude at August 21, 2008 2:33 PM

Amazingly, Fisherman's Wharf is the second most popular tourist site in California, after Disneyland. But why? I have never understood that. It's tacky, cheap, touristy, and a place that locals never go to. Do the tourists not know any better? When I talk to people coming to San Francisco, I tell them to avoid that area.

Posted by: jlasf at August 21, 2008 3:10 PM

@jlasf: Nailed it. Avoid, Lombard St. until 9pm at night, and House of Nanking anytime during summer between 4-9. Simple rules that will save tourists HOURS of time. And bring a sweater, SF isn't the OC. It's not warm.

Posted by: bernielomax at August 21, 2008 3:29 PM

Did anyone else notice there is a gaping hole in the blocks to be revamped?

The two block stretch between Taylor and Leavenworth is not getting a facelift, according to:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2008/08/21/MNDN12EE51.DTL&o=1

That seems pointless if in fact it's true.

Posted by: Eric in SF at August 21, 2008 3:35 PM

Actually I think tourists should visit Fishermans wharf. But only for part of day, and certainly not spend their whole vacation there!
And I think theres lots of pretty good seafood there. Not great, but pretty good.
Fluj that new restaurant looks pretty good in NV - think its about two blocks from me. Woot.

Posted by: REpornaddcit at August 21, 2008 3:57 PM

I would send tourists to Sams or Tadich for seafood

Posted by: Zig at August 21, 2008 4:25 PM

as long as the in-n-out doesn't get touched, i say let them do whatever they want.

Posted by: lolcat_94123 at August 21, 2008 4:43 PM

I'm confused. Does this plan account for the E-Embarcadero line we're supposed to be getting and it's possible extension to Fort Mason? It seems like it doesn't.

Posted by: jessep at August 21, 2008 6:49 PM

Pacific cafe is better than Sam's or Tadich

Posted by: sparky at August 21, 2008 7:06 PM

all those tourists you love to hate, dont forget, bring in lots of dollars to San Francisco. the tourists love fish wharf...it's not ALL of what we are about, but its PART of what we're known for.

I actually love going there once or twice a year; its fun, sorta silly, yea sorta tacky.. and when I leave and head home on a streetcar to Noe V, i'm still the same San Franciscan I was before.

stop being so uppity.

Posted by: noearch at August 21, 2008 9:10 PM

sparky-I don't doubt it but Pacific Catch has no history as far as I am aware plus it looks like a fusion sort of place which is fine but not the same for me


I am totally aware of Sam's and Tadich's limitations and outdated menus but, for example, Tadich has the exact old school sour dough bread you rarely see now, crab louie, decent Cioppino, and sand dabs. Just stuff I like every once in awhile and there are even still a few old Eastern Europeans servers there. This is why I would recommend it. They are both the real deal old school SF

My mom's Dad got his first job at Tadich when he came to the US and it has a special place for me for that reason too. He was from Dalmatia where the founders were from (and the heritage of the owners since I think)

Posted by: Zig at August 22, 2008 12:24 AM

"Its be nice to allow them to sell live crab and fresh salmon right off the boats. I’d consider going over there for that."

They DO sell live fish right off the boat. If you give them an extra buck they'll gut it for you. Lots of fishermen around 6am, and not so many tourists at that time either.

And there are great restaurants in Fisherman's Wharf -- Gary Danko, for example.

And at the risk of this completely becoming a Tadich Grill thread (how exactly did that happen?) they have much better cioppino than anyplace I've found on the wharf.

And I agree -- we shouldn't write off the area because none of us go there. It's the best way to run or ride your bike from the financial district to Tiburon....

Posted by: tharpo at August 22, 2008 9:01 AM

Sparky said Pacific Cafe, not Pacific Catch. Pacific Cafe is a seafood restaurant out on Geary and like 41st. It's old school and great. You walk in and if there's a wait they hand you a glass of Chardonnay. Pretty cool. It's old school like Sam's or Tadich. (I like both of those too.)

Pacific Catch is a small Pan Asian/Hawaiian fusion seafood grill spot on Chestnut. It too is really great. There's another one on 9th and Lincoln and one in Corte Madera. I've been to all three believe it or not. The Chestnut one is excellent and simple. The others not so much.

Posted by: fluj at August 22, 2008 9:18 AM

^^^Pacific Cafe is at Geary and 34th, and is a GREAT place. It's an awesome place to take someone from out of town, because it gives them this feeling that you're showing them a "secret" because of the location.

Posted by: Brutus at August 22, 2008 9:36 AM

The city makes more money forcing cars off the streets and into public parking garages. Very crafty.

Posted by: sf at August 22, 2008 11:09 AM

"From the Chronicle with reagard" Thought you were talking about THAT typo

[Editor's Note: Ironic typo above now fixed as well...]

Posted by: sf at August 22, 2008 1:18 PM

"The city makes more money forcing cars off the streets and into public parking garages. Very crafty."

The goal of streetside parking fees is not to collect revenue for the city. Instead they adjust fees, fines, limits, and enforcement in attempt to induce the right number of open parking available so customers in business districts have a chance of finding a parking spot.

Of course this doesn't always work and in some neighborhoods it doesn't work at all.

But lets dispense with the myth that the city is trying to bolster the budget with parking fees. I'd bet the fees and fines collected don't even pay for the cost of enforcement.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 22, 2008 1:38 PM

There's another reason to go there if you are a local. Buy fresh fish at Alioto's at the bottom of Hyde. Not the restaurant, but the fish place, and you can park there on the sidewalk.

Posted by: Oceangoer at August 22, 2008 5:49 PM

I live close to this area (North Beach) and frequent the wharf often. I know it is touristy but the views are amazing and I like walking and riding my bike by the water.

This plan would be a tremendous improvement and in my opinion is spot on. I've walked down Jefferson street numerous times and there are about 3,000 people on the sidewalk and 2 cars in the street yet the car portion of the street (parking and lanes) gets about 80% of the space. You can't even walk through the tiny sidewalk without going into the street because there are so many people.

I love the idea of widening the sidewalks and adding the dedicated bike lanes. It would be a much more enjoyable experience and I think more locals would enjoy the area. Riding your bike through this area right now is pretty much impractical or not at the least not very enjoyable.

I know $10M seems like a lot but I would much rather see the money go to something like this then another social engineering project pushed through by daley and the progressive board of supes.

Posted by: Kernul at August 22, 2008 11:20 PM

You can buy crab right off the boat here during crab season, too. Plus the $5 crab salad sandwiches on sourdough can't be beat.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at August 23, 2008 12:35 AM

Not much of a crab season this year tho!

Posted by: fluj at August 23, 2008 9:19 AM

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