Overall Goals / Plan Highlights

The Port of San Francisco's Waterfront Land Use Plan, adopted by the Port Commission in 1997, governs land use policy for waterfront lands under jurisdiction of the Port of San Francisco - a 7-1/2 mile band that extends from Fisherman's Wharf to India Basin.

The Waterfront Plan is guided by seven goals that together enable the Port to achieve the Waterfront Plan's overarching vision of reuniting the City with its waterfront. The seven goals are:

  • A Working Waterfront. Port lands should continue to be reserved to meet the current and future needs of cargo shipping, fishing, passenger cruises, ship repair, ferries and excursion boats, recreational boating and other water-dependent activities.

  • A Revitalized Port. New investment should stimulate the revitalization of the waterfront, providing new jobs, revenues, public amenities and other benefits to the Port, the City and the State.

  • A Diversity of Activities and People. Port lands should host a diverse and exciting array of maritime, commercial, entertainment, civic, open space, recreation and other waterfront activities for all San Franciscans and visitors to enjoy.

  • Access Along the Waterfront. A network of parks, plazas, walkways, open spaces and integrated transportation improvements should improve access to and enhance the enjoyment and appreciation of the Bay environment.

  • An Evolving Waterfront, Mindful of Its Past and Future. Improvements should respect and enhance the waterfront's historic character, while also creating new opportunities for San Franciscans to integrate Port activities into their daily lives.

  • Urban Design Worthy of the Waterfront Setting. The design of new developments should be of exemplary quality and should highlight visual and physical access to and from the Bay, while respecting the waterfront's rich historic context and the character of neighboring development.

  • Economic Access Which Reflects the Diversity of San Francisco. The economic opportunities created by commercial uses should be made accessible to persons of both sexes and from a representative variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds so that those persons receiving these economic opportunities reflect the diversity of the City of San Francisco.

Plan Highlights
In recognition of the public's desire for a rational plan for the Port's maritime activities along the Bay, the Waterfront Plan provides for the long-term land use needs of each of the Port's maritime or "water-dependent activities" - cargo, ship repair, fishing , passenger cruises, ferries and excursion boats, recreational boating and other activities which require a waterfront location to accomplish their basic function. Based on information gathered during extensive public workshops with maritime industry representatives, the Plan reserves approximately two-thirds of the Port's property to meet these needs.

For properties not needed exclusively for maritime activities, the Waterfront Plan identifies other activities which can thrive in a setting where maritime use, open space, and public access also occur. In these locations, new pier-side commercial uses which bring day and nighttime activities to the waterfront, such as assembly and entertainment, retail, restaurants and museums, are strongly encouraged. To achieve a balance of uses and encourage connections between landside and waterside activities, many Port sites are organized into "Mixed Use Opportunity Areas" which usually include piers and adjacent inland "seawall" lots.

The development of major new commercial uses on piers, particularly north of China Basin, will provide opportunities to establish a PortWalk, a new way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterfront, by extending public access onto piers and integrating it with pedestrian improvements and open spaces along The Embarcadero.

The Waterfront Plan seeks a balanced array of uses to help meet the Port's financial needs. On the revenue-dependent side of the Port's ledger, the Plan reserves most Port properties for expansion of maritime operations, and encourages creation of new public access, recreation and open space areas along the Bay. On the revenue-producing side, sites for compatible new commercial development are identified to improve the waterfront for public enjoyment, help subsidize maritime industries, fund new public access and open spaces, preserve and rehabilitate historic waterfront resources, and stem the continuing deterioration of Port property. With this balanced plan, the Port will be better able to manage its property and operations, which must be carried out without state or local funding.