MCBC Guest Post Sausalito’s Future Flourishes With The Ferry Landside Project

Author: Kieran Culligan, guest contributor and Sausalito resident

Sausalito’s ferry connection with San Francisco is an incredibly unique asset that serves many purposes. I treasure memories of taking the ferry as a tourist before calling Sausalito home, later as a commuter working in San Francisco, and most recently as a parent taking my kids to the Exploratorium and many other fun destinations across the bay. What’s not to love: car-free, gorgeous, and in tune with the growing demand for coastal resilience.

screenshot of proposed planning commission design for th area surrounding the parking lot at the Sausalito ferry docks


A grant-funded project to improve Sausalito’s Ferry Landside area is approaching a critical moment on November 13, 2023. Envisioned as a harmonious blend of utility and aesthetics, the project aims to expand the Ferry Plaza, improve pedestrian and bicycle circulation, and enhance the area with amenities that speak to the environmental and social values of our community.

Despite years of study and design, including a local architect professionals group, city staff, a contracted engineering firm, and a unanimously approved City Council plan review in 2022, recent heavy revisions by the Planning Commission have sparked concern. These revisions substantially dilute the original vision—compromising safety, efficiency, and the broader goal of a more connected and vibrant Sausalito. Why the revisions, you may be wondering? Mostly to maximize parking (everyone’s favorite topic).

40+ community members, myself included, have appealed the “Planning Commission Design” to ensure the project aligns with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant requirements, and, most importantly, serves the best interest of the community and all ferry users.

I and my fellow appellants believe the Ferry Landside Improvement Project is a cornerstone for a thriving, dynamic Sausalito. Our appeal is grounded in the conviction that thoughtful urban planning can create symbiotic benefits for all stakeholders—residents, businesses, visitors, and the environment. By fostering a pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly environment, we’re not just improving safety; we’re cultivating an inviting atmosphere that will attract more residents and visitors to local businesses, enhance the quality of life for residents, and create a sustainable model for urban development.

Bikes parked along waterfront in front of Sausalito ferry docks

The support for this appeal is a rallying cry for those who envision a Southern Marin that honors its unique setting by prioritizing spaces where people, not just cars, can thrive. It’s a commitment to building a legacy that champions sustainable mobility, supports local commerce, and celebrates the scenic beauty of our waterfront.

We need your help. City Council will consider the appeal on November 13, 2023, and now is the time to weigh in. Join the meeting live at 6 p.m. or email in advance to to tell them if you think:

  • People should come before parking. Revitalizing the Ferry Landside with an expanded plaza and better access for non-vehicular traffic isn’t just about meeting the FTA grant’s objectives. It’s about creating an experience that entices people to linger, explore, return, and encourage others to do the same. It’s about improving a regionally important transit hub, making it more practical for users across Southern Marin to arrive by bicycle instead of taking up a parking space.

  • Sidewalks should be widened to address known congestion hot spots.  The Planning Commission Design eliminates previously proposed sidewalk widening, especially on the east and north portions of Lot 1. This design flaw will continue the dynamic we see today: forcing people into the parking lot with no safe place to walk.

  • Connectivity with the North-South Greenway is essential. The North-South Greenway features prominently in Sausalito’s General Plan and is a regional priority for supporting active transportation in Southern Marin. Please maintain space in the Ferry Landside design so the Greenway can connect seamlessly!

The more you can personalize your comments, the better!

Image of the parking lot adjacent to the Sausalito ferry dock from Sausalito Historical Society

Let your voice be heard on November 13, 2023, and help us bring back a slice of paradise!

members make it happen

Supporters like you, who speak out for safer places to bike and give to MCBC, make projects like these possible.  Thank you!  Want to support this work? Give here. We’re working hard to ensure that there is always a full pipeline of projects in development so we can keep making Marin more bikeable every year. 

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