Waterfront For All (WFA) is a new grassroots coalition of San Francisco residents committed to proactive engagement in northern waterfront activities and development - from Fort Mason to AT&T Park.
The Embarcadero has the potential to be one of the world’s great boulevards, framing a vibrant, open waterfront. It is an exciting time, but also uncertain. The new Exploratorium is under construction at Piers 15 and 17. There is a new cruise terminal proposed for Pier 27. The 8 Washington project could lead the way for progressive redevelopment of the many blighted surface parking lots along the Embarcadero. Preparations are underway for the 2013 America's Cup - and the world will be watching.
With these and other projects being considered, the City and Port of San Francisco will be making significant decisions over the next few years that will forever alter the use and character of our waterfront.
A Vocal Majority Needed
Unfortunately, most planning discussions in San Francisco are dominated by a loud few protecting their personal interests (such as views and other private amenities). As they fight change, the average San Franciscan’s voice, and the interest of the City as a whole, often goes unheard.
We Have One Chance To Get It Right
Waterfront For All was inspired by the Northeast Embarcadero Study (NES) planning process. For 17 months, I and other WFA members weighed in on the study. The NES, which lays out recommendations for development along the Embarcadero, was ultimately approved by the SF Port and Planning Commissions in 2010. To ensure its implementation, we now must proactively support change, especially projects like 8 Washington that have evolved over time and adhere to the City's needs.
The mission of WFA is to engage the ENTIRE City in waterfront development. WFA will keep its members informed of proposed changes along the waterfront, facilitate involvement in the public processes and promote an active open waterfront.
I hope you will join this grassroots coalition that is working to ensure our waterfront is the best it can be.
A Note From the Founder of WFA
I have a deep love for San Francisco’s waterfront. Whether it is swimming in the Aquatic Park, walking along the Embarcadero to a Giant’s game or running up the stairs to Coit Tower, I spend quite a bit of time on the waterfront. I have a vision of the Embarcadero becoming the gateway to an active, vibrant and publicly accessible waterfront.
I started Waterfront For All (WFA) in response to my experience in the Northeast Embarcadero Study (NES) planning process. The NES lays out recommendations for development along the Embarcadero and was ultimately approved by the SF Port and Planning Commissions in 2010. This approval process was intensely opposed by groups seeking to maintain the status quo.
As a former land use in attorney in San Francisco, I have seen the influence that community groups can have on the planning process. All to often these groups seek to protect their personal interest rather than looking out for the good of the City in general. Given our extreme lack of housing and budget strapped City and public schools, I am constantly amazed at the intense opposition to even smart well thought out projects. I would be the first to oppose a poorly conceived project along the waterfront, but not all projects are bad. A well thought out project can enliven an underused part of the City. A well thought out project can increase the housing stock and provide jobs, tax revenue and fees for low-income housing. Truly great projects can inspire and create a sense of place.
It is important to note that WFA is not associated with any specific development project, neighborhood, political party, etc. My hope is that WFA can grow and be a strong voice advocating for smart planning decisions that benefit the City in general and not just the special interests.
Please contact me if you would like to get involved or receive more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
See you along the waterfront!
Justin Allamano, Founder Waterfront For All