Public process on Berkeley pier set to start in January

The end of the Berkeley Pier. The shadow off the end of the pier is Alcatraz. Photo: Kevin Schofield

Community members may be able to weigh in on the future of the Berkeley pier as soon as January, city staff reports.

The city closed the historic pier in 2015, citing structural problems. Many have since wondered when the popular strolling and fishing spot would reopen.

Berkeley Parks Director Scott Ferris told Berkeleyside recently that work has been underway to figure that out. Ferris said city officials have already pledged about $1.3 million to the planning and design process. An engineering firm has been at work this year on a 6- to 8-month process to complete a feasibility and conceptual analysis of the project, and a draft report is in the works.

That analysis is set to come before the city’s Parks and Waterfront Commission in January to begin the public process. Ferris said several options will likely be presented to the community for feedback and selection of a preferred design. The final analysis and design are set to be complete by March, according to a recent staff report.


Design options could, for example, include a 500-foot pier that’s wider and has buildings on it, a reconstruction of the old pier as it was, or something in between. Ferris said structural tests will look at how many of the pier’s pilings can still bear weight. Estimated costs could also be part of the analysis.

After the preferred plan is selected, a consultant will be chosen to finish the design. The project would then go to the planning department for permits, and be bid out for construction.

Ferris said there is a significant amount of grant money that could potentially help the city pay for the project. He said, ultimately, it could cost anywhere between $12 million and $30 million to rebuild and reopen the pier.

The project is one of many that are being funded by Measure T1, approved by Berkeley voters last year. Council put $900,000 of T1 money for “Final design, acquiring regulatory permits and envrionmental [sic] documents, and preparation of construction documents for structural repairs to restore the pier for recreational use.” Another $240,000 came from the city’s Marina fund.

Council is set to hear an update about T1 at its Tuesday night worksession, set to begin at 6 p.m.