Islais Creek and another movable bridge

by Francisco da Costa


The Port of San Francisco has been spending millions of dollars on the waterfront and Mission Bay and is now making inroads toward building another so-called movable bridge on Islais Creek. This project will affect the residents of District 10.


The Port has developed a General Management Plan and an Environmental Impact Report, but practically no one in Bayview Hunters Point has read it. Most of the meetings held by the Port are closed meetings. Very few are public meetings.


One of those rare public meetings was held last Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. Many of us attended this meeting, which was held at Pier 1 right by the Ferry Building. The purpose of the meeting was to convince the public and the residents of Bayview Hunters Point that it is necessary to build a movable bridge across Islais Creek on Illinois Street. We already have one drawbridge on Third Street by Marin, but the authorities want to build another one.


The logic behind having this bridge is to develop the piers on the other side of Islais Creek by Pier 80 for use by trucks and occasionally a trainload of something. When asked what type of bridge this will be, the answer is, “We are working on that. It will be a ‘movable bridge.’”


So, I went around asking about 60 people in Bayview Hunters Point if they knew anything about the proposed movable bridge. As you can imagine, not one single person knew about it. I asked them if they were in favor of such a bridge. Smart as our residents are, most of them wanted to know why spend so much money building a bridge and for what.


So, we met at Pier 1 at the appointed time for this public meeting last Tuesday. We the public were under the impression that the Port commissioners would be there. They are the ones who approve all decisions made by the Port officials. Well, not a single Port Commissioner was present, and that upset many of us who wanted to address our concerns to the proper authorities who count.


The chairperson of the Muwekma Ohlone, Rosemary Cambra, was present. Espanola Jackson was present. Charlie Walker was present.


Espanola Jackson reminded the officials who convened the meeting that the Port commissioners should be present. Only then could decisions made at the meeting in their presence bear fruit. The officials never expected such comments. Charlie Walker wanted to see a drawing of the proposed bridge. After some hot words and bickering, a drawing was proposed. Just a drawing, some rendering of some bridge, but NOT the real drawing of the proposed movable bridge!


This bridge will cost about $15 million. It will harm Islais Creek and adversely impact the fish, animal and plant life. These are serious environmental issues.


The added traffic on the bridge will bring pollution. As it is, there is sufficient pollution from all the traffic on Third Street. More from all the sewage spillage into Islais Creek and the Bay. More still from the ancient wastewater treatment plant, with its aging tanks.


There is talk of building six huge digestors by Islais Creek. This will just add to the pollution and adversely impact the whole area.


Many at the meeting asked the Port officials if they’d coordinated their plans with Muni. As you can expect, they had not. If they did some coordination, it was superficial.


The citizens of Bayview Hunters Point cannot be taken for a ride. For too long have we been taken for rides that have led to a dead end. It is time that we exercise our right to participate in the deliberations on all major projects in our neighborhood. Millions of dollars will be spent on this project. None of our businesses or contractors who can participate as partners have been informed. Some little information given to be public is not current.


To build its light rail line, Muni has plans to close Third Street for six months and more. There are plans to bring all the raw sewage from Mission Bay to the Bayview treatment plant. Plans to build an unnecessary movable bridge when our nation is in a recession and there is no requirement for it. Plans to put in six huge digestors. Secret plans to keep the Hunters Point power plant alive by tapping power from it and taking it all the way to Cesar Chavez under Islais Creek.


Most of these projects have NOT had the blessing and input of the citizens. For too long have too many things be hidden from us. You cannot fool the people all the time!


They say Mission Bay will bring many jobs. They say the projects will give opportunities. To date all we have heard is talk. African Americans have been kept out of the equation. Pay time is now, and we cannot wait anymore for empty promises.


Email Francisco da Costa at