The Warriors' splashy plans for an arena perched on piers may have focused public attention on the waterfront. But other developers have set their sights on the area, prompting transportation officials to try to figure out how to move growing crowds — of future residents, workers and event-goers — in what is already a congested part of the city.
"It's much more than the Warriors," said Peter Albert, the Municipal Transportation Agency's director of urban planning initiatives. "It's all up and down the waterfront — from Crissy Field on the north, south to Hunters Point."
But the transportation strategies being prepared by a group of city departments, transportation agencies and community groups are almost certain to show up in the next revisions of plans for the waterfront arena.
Those ideas range from boosting Muni light-rail and bus service, establishing more transit-only lanes, expanding bicycle and car sharing, building more bike lanes, selling advance parking spaces at satellite lots along with event tickets, giving taxis exclusive curbside access, and requiring developers to provide transit subsidies for residents, employees and hotel guests.
Rather than being part of a plan for the Warriors' arena or any other specific project, the ideas are part of the Waterfront Transportation Assessment, a year-old effort involving city officials, transportation agencies and community groups.
It aims to develop a collection of strategies that planners and developers can apply to projects ranging from the Warriors' arena to the Giants' parking lot development plans to Pier 70 near Dogpatch to Mission Bay to nearby high-rise residential towers and office buildings.
While the strategy doesn't require action by developers at this point, some of its ideas could be required as the waterfront evolves.
"Because there is so much development happening in the area, we're taking a look at what solutions are viable for taking people to and from the waterfront," said Gloria Chan, spokeswoman for the mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
Albert, who created the transportation plan for the America's Cup, said the assessment incorporates some of the transportation successes of the regatta, which, at least at the end of the races, flooded the waterfront with large crowds. The basic strategy for the Cup and a series of related waterfront concerts was to enhance service on existing transit lines, discourage people from driving, steer drivers to parking locations away from the venues and make it easier for people to walk and ride bicycles to the event.
While critics may question the overall value of the sailing races to San Francisco, it's hard to assail the results of the transportation strategy. According to Albert, 83 percent of the people attending the America's Cup events arrived in something other than a private car.
The waterfront assessment, still a work in progress, includes 113 strategies for combatting congestion, and they fall into some general categories: transit, bicycling, parking, traffic control and taxis.
Ideas to improve rail transit include buying more light-rail vehicles to help meet increased service demands. Muni could also continue to run the E-Embarcadero historic streetcar line that was tested during the America's Cup between Fisherman's Wharf and Fourth and King streets, and add a terminal loop on the King Street end to improve reliability.
Other suggestions include adding a third track along the Embarcadero to store rail vehicles or be used for passing, and cutting travel time on the T-Third line with traffic signal timing and by running express trains that don't stop at every station.
Muni's bus lines could better serve the area with an extension of the 22-Fillmore line to Mission Bay and by expanding evening commute service, especially when special events are also scheduled and adding service tailored to specific events.