Crane Cove Park

  Crane Cove Park




18th Street and Illinois Street
Open daily 6am-10pm
Crane Cove Park is a seven-acre bayfront park in the Port's Southern Waterfront. The park opened in September 2020 as a major public open space that preserves historic maritime resources, provides public access and recreation opportunities to the Bay, and contributes to and expands the Port’s necklace of public open spaces along San Francisco’s iconic waterfront. The park design includes a multi-purpose lawn, plaza spaces to activate historic resources and accommodate special events, family barbecue areas, and a pocket beach to accommodate human powered water recreation. The park also features pathways for pedestrian and bicycle access, garden areas that also treat storm water and historic interpretation about the rich history of Pier 70. The design also includes plant selection to maximize the City’s bio-diversity and reuse of historic site artifacts in the form of tables, benches and other site furnishings to maximize resource recovery and sustainability best practices. 

Crane Cove Park is designed to remain functional for up to 28 inches of Sea Level Rise. This amount is based on a 50-year project life and Sea Level Rise projections of 16 inches at year 2050 and 55 inches in year 2100, which were recommended by the State of California and Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) at the time of design. The Park will also help protect against flooding of other City assets including Illinois Street, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Mission Bay loop, and San Francisco Public Utilities infrastructure and properties to the west because the project elevates the ground plane within the project site. Crane Cove Park is an example of intentional design that shows how we can build today along shorelines in preparation of challenges to come.
Water Recreation Safety and Rules
  • Wading and human-powered craft permitted
  • No swimming allowed
  • Keep 300 feet clear of the shipyard and piers


SF Bay Water Trail at Crane Cove Park 


Water Quality at Crane Cove Park

Swimming at Crane Cove is not allowed, though wading up to the red buoys is fine. This is to avoid potential conflict with vessel traffic and sub-surface safety hazards because the park is adjacent to an active maritime industrial operation and subsurface hazards exist.

During the wet weather season, when heavy rain can cause runoff that may contain higher levels of bacteria, the PUC monitors beaches where people may contact Bay water to determine whether bacterial water quality poses a health risk. In some cases, notices are posted and/or beaches are closed based on those results. Read more about the monitoring program.

The Port investigated both soil and sediment for metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, and other potentially hazardous chemicals before designing Crane Cove Park. To prevent chemicals from leaching out of sediment into the water, the Port had a sediment cap designed and constructed over a portion of the bay floor where it was deemed warranted. This was coordinated with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and Department of Public Health Bureau of Environmental Health. The underwater sediment cap consists of a layer of carbon-amended sand covered by layers of variously sized gravel, cobble and stone to protect the cap and hold it in place. The construction of Crane Cove Park itself, with paving, clean imported soil, and landscaping covering the soil, serves as a cap to prevent dispersion or runoff of soil that could impact water quality. 

Visit the Crane Cove Park Project Page for project information.
Historical Background
Crane Cove Park is part of the Union Iron Works National Register Historic District and is nationally significant for its association with maritime history and industrial architecture for the period 1884 to 1945, beginning with the initial construction of the Union Iron Works Machine Shop and closing with the end of World War II. The Historic District has 44 resources that contribute to the district, eight of which are located within the proposed boundary of Crane Cove Park. Union Iron Works (later Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation) evolved modern shipbuilding techniques here from 1884 through 1982, helping to industrialize the nation and transform it into a world commercial and military power. Read a detailed history of the site from the Union Iron Works Historic District Registration Form. 
The Slipway (AKA “Slip 4”) was one of four slips, or sloping concrete-lined basins where the ships took form and were launched. A slipway was first constructed in this area during the 1890s, and was re-built in 1941 to facilitate the World War II increase in shipbuilding at the yard.
Building 49 was constructed in 1940 or 1941 during a time of shipyard modernization, as World War II raged in Europe but the U.S had yet to be attacked. Inside, steel components were galvanized, or coated with zinc, in order to reduce corrosion. 
Cranes 14 and 30 stand on either side of the slipway, which are tower cranes mounted on wheeled traction trucks that allow them to travel along rails beside the Slipway. Both cranes are “Revolver” or “Whirley” cranes, meaning that they have turntables that allow them to rotate horizontally. The cranes here were nicknamed Nick and Nora, after the characters in the popular Thin Man films of the ‘30s and 40s. Cranes were an integral part of the hull construction process for lifting heavy steel plates, and allowed for the use of prefabricated sub-assemblies. This changed the very layout and design of shipyard complexes during the war.