Study shows 91% of Bay Area residents want ferries
for disaster preparedness
February 24, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ninety-one percent of
Bay Area residents think it is important to have a regional ferry
system in place to help transport emergency supplies, goods and
people after a disaster, when freeways, BART and bridges might
be out of service, according to results of the 2006 Bay Area Council
Poll released today. Of those, 65 percent think it is extremely
The Bay Area Council has advocated for the creation of a regional
high-speed ferry network on the Bay to be available for recovery
efforts following a disaster. A super majority of 91 percent of
residents appear to agree.
Many recent reports delineate the severity of potential major
disasters facing the Bay Area. According to the national Terrorism
Risk Insurance Act of 2002 - reauthorized in December 2005 - Washington,
D.C., New York City, San Francisco and Chicago are the areas most
likely to attract terrorist attacks. Regarding earthquakes, an
authoritative analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey found that
there is a 2 in 3 chance of a major 6.7 earthquake or worse in
the Bay Area in the next 30 years.
Unfortunately, Bay Area residents do not think the region is
prepared for its next big earthquake. Despite the likelihood of
a quake, 48 percent of residents think the Bay Area is either
not at all prepared or not well prepared. Only 6 percent think
the region is very prepared.
"Not putting ferries on the Bay for disaster recovery, with
full knowledge of the threats, is like New Orleans not strengthening
its levees, knowing the hurricane was on its way," said Jim
Wunderman the president and CEO of the Bay Area Council.
"Ferries can turn the waters that divide our region from
a transportation obstacle into a transportation asset. The painful
lessons that emerged from recent disasters in the United States
drive our passion to protect the Bay Area, and these poll results
reinforce our resolve."
On September 11, 2001, the New York Waterway ferry service responded
to the destruction of the World Trade Center towers within 15
minutes of the attack. Ferries helped evacuate more than 160,000
people from Manhattan on September 11, including over 2,000 injured
persons within the first hour.
Considering the potential role they might play in a disaster,
73 percent of Bay Area residents believe it is an important or
top priority that any new transportation monies available to the
Bay Area from state and federal sources should be directed to
expanding the regional ferry system.
Traffic is the number one problem facing the region according
to earlier Council Poll results. Fully 68 percent of Bay Area
residents favor expanding the water transit system on the Bay
so that it connects the entire region for traffic relief.