BART retrofit won't uproot Farmers MarketBy Stacy Finz, Robert Selna
More than 120 farmers who set up shop on Saturdays at the Ferry Building on San Francisco's waterfront won't be uprooted now that a BART retrofit has been significantly scaled back, officials said Tuesday.
Transit district officials said the project to make the Transbay Tube safer from earthquakes will take up only a fraction of the space than originally expected.
"We have good news," Tom Horton, BART's earthquake safety program manager, told San Francisco port commissioners during a meeting. "The impact is far less than we thought before, and the ferry terminal will not be impacted and the farmers market will only have to relocate its parking."
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has become a top tourist attraction for the city, drawing tens of thousands of people into San Francisco on weekends.
Horton said that underwater soil, which could slide during an earthquake and endanger the Transbay Tube, required less stabilizing than had been expected.
Molly McArthur, a spokeswoman for the project, said retrofitting is scheduled to start in January 2008 and could take 14 to 18 months. She said transit officials had planned to use most of the pier to drive pilings into the earth below, dislodging the farmers who use that area to set up their food stalls. But now BART needs only the far end of the pier -- using 12,000 square feet of space instead of 59,000 square feet.
"We're all delighted that it won't affect the Farmers Market's footprint in any way," McArthur said.
Janet Griggs, president of the board of directors for the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, the organization that runs the farmers market, said she was relieved.
"Now we can really start looking to see how to make the market more responsive to the shoppers' experience," she said.
Copyright ©2006 San Francisco Chronicle. Published 09/27/2006.