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Google set to expand ferry to East Bay

Alameda to Port of Redwood City is next trial route

Google has been testing a ferry boat service as it looks for ways to bring a growing number of its employees to Mountain View without worsening traffic and air pollution.

The company is in the midst of a 30-day test run of a ferry from San Francisco to Redwood City, where a shuttle picks up employees for the last stretch of the commute. A Google employee familiar with the program told the Voice that it has been well received, and that a similar 30-day test of a ferry from Alameda would begin near the end of the year for Google employees living in Oakland and the East Bay. If all goes well, Google may be buying its own ferry soon to continue the service.

"It is more reliable, so you know, generally, it will get you home in an hour and a half," said one Mountain View Google employee, who had taken the ferry instead of a shuttle from San Francisco. "It's generally not faster, by any means."

Google had 500 employees interested in using the ferry, from which 100 were selected to be part of the 30-day trial of the service. It would be more convenient if it came all the way to Mountain View.

"I'm sure our transportation group would love to get the ferry as close as possible to (the) Google campus," said the employee, who declined to be named. "If you are still subject to traffic on (Highway) 101, obviously it's not going to be as convenient."

A Google ferry to Mountain View may be an easier task if Google is successful in its bid to operate Moffett Federal Airfield. The company may want to install a ferry dock near the northern end of the runways.

It would not be a first for such a proposal. In 2002, the Bay Area Water Transit Authority rejected a plan to extend ferry service to Mountain View, citing a lack of demand.

"It didn't work because it's federal property and the ferry terminal would have been too far from other sources of employment," said Lenny Siegel, a member of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board.

To Siegel, Google's ferry effort only makes sense as a test for eventually bringing it all the way to Mountain View. With Google building a 1.1 million-square-foot campus at Moffett, a mile away, and its headquarters just across a proposed Stevens Creek bridge, "it wouldn't be hard to get people to those buildings with their shuttle buses."

According to a 1990 Navy environmental study, a military fuel barge made monthly deliveries to Moffett as recently as the 1990s, though dredging of that portion of the bay was required every 10 years.

"There is a dock for floating fuel into Moffett in Guadalupe slough," Siegel said, noting that another portion of the Bay at the north end of the Moffett runways might be more practical for a ferry, although a levee blocks it. "I don't know how much dredging would be required or what the environmental impacts would be, but it's not entirely far-fetched to do it."

Comments

Posted by OK, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I like the idea, just make sure they don't say "We need to build a new bridge over Stevens Creek if we're going to do this."


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Has Google considered a hovercraft?

Web Link

Hovercraft do not need deep water as they hover on a cushion of air above the water. They would be able to run up a boat ramp in Mountain View and Google bikes could get the employees to their buildings. They would not be negotiating 101 so traffic would not cause them problems. They are faster than ferries and make more sense than ferries that need to be met by a bus.


Posted by Roman, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Do these Google people who are supposed to be highly intelligent have any idea of what they are doing or even want?
They just repeatidly throw $$$$$$ at this issue with "zero" plan.
How about coming up with a solution or solutions and a plan that makes sense for everyone before just loading the shotgun and trying to hit something/anything. Then reload it with money and try again and again.
A well thought out goal that takes into consideration everyone involved, Google, employees, cities, motorist, residents and pedestrions in an empathic manner makes good business and community relation sense.
Come on smartest people on the planet, get it together and get it right the next time.


Posted by Xoogler, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Google has tried to work with CalTrain and other transit authorities with no solution. The buses and ferries were a last resort. At least they're getting cars off the freeways which decreases costs and stress for everyone.

Is it cost efficient? Yes.
Does it satisfy a lot of people? Yes.
Is it fair? Compared to what alternative?
Does it benefit everybody? Probably as close as we can get without a broad concensus. Is that easy in this situation?

It's certainly not perfect, but at least they are *trying* in the open. The bus situation in The City is flawed they respond by reducing buses. With the city proposing no alternatives, what else can they do?


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