sf-americas-cup.jpgAbout 200 people crammed into a room at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s headquarters Thursday where key organizers of the city’s plans for the America’s Cup sailing race in 2013 gave an update on the process.

Kyri McClellan, executive director of the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, and Brad Benson and Jonathan Stern from the Port of San Francisco spoke at a forum held by SPUR about the race.

The speakers also answered questions from the standing room-only crowd about the details of the race and the impacts it could have on the city.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing team won the previous America’s Cup in 2010 on behalf of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club and got to choose the host city for the next race.

The team announced in December that it had selected San Francisco to host the event, which includes the America’s Cup World Series in 2012, the America’s Cup Challenger Series in July 2013, and the America’s Cup Finals in September 2013.

The impact of the races on the city’s waterfront and the Bay were the topic of many questions, and will be the topic of a draft environmental impact report expected to be released mid-summer by the San Francisco Planning Department, Benson said.

He said the document, expected to be several thousand pages long, has to receive public input and be approved in a short timeframe ahead of the event, and joked that “the city’s never done that even for a small project.”

The speakers acknowledged that piers 30 and 32, part of the infrastructure for the event that will be used as the location of the bases of the 15 teams, could interfere with activities at nearby AT&T Park, namely baseball games of the San Francisco Giants that use those piers as parking lots on game days.

The organizers said they have reached out to the Giants, who are considering options such as scheduling their road trips during the season to coincide with the dates of the races.

McClellan pointed out that Ellison is a Giants fan and was sitting alongside team president Larry Baer when the Giants won the World Series last fall.

“They’re highly motivated … to be as mutually beneficial as possible,” she said.

McClellan said the organizing committee is reaching out to at least three dozen companies about sponsorship rights for the races to raise $32 million to recoup some of the city’s costs, and has already confirmed Louis Vuitton as a partner.

The organizers encouraged people to review the “People Plan,” the city’s proposal for how to move up to 200,000 people daily along the San Francisco waterfront during the races.

Specifics of the plan include modifying some San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and light-rail vehicle lines–including the F-Market and Wharves, 30-Stockton and 47-Van Ness–creating bicycle renting and sharing stations and secure bicycle parking, and restricting automobile access on some streets near the city’s northern waterfront.

City residents can view the plan at www.americascup.com/sanfrancisco and comment on it before May 31. Comments can be submitted by sending an email to
americascup@sfgov.org or visiting www.oewd.org, the website of the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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