Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ponder a Part of the Port's Preferred Proposal

The Port of Los Angeles has a San Pedro Waterfront Expansion Project that it is looking towards the future with.

The Project has a "Preferred Proposal", five alternatives that share some of the concepts of the preferred proposal, and a sixth alternative to have "no project" at all.

The Preferred Proposal and three alternatives examine the possibility of having at least one new cruise ship terminal at "Kaiser Point" in the outer harbor of the Port of Los Angeles.

The new cruise ship terminal/Berths, is most surely the most contreversial aspect of the entire project discussions, debates, and ponderings.

The Port, and when I write that it means managers and employees of the Port of Los Angeles, feel that a new cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor would be very beneficial to the port. Whether it is beneficial to the residents of OUR community seems to be something the port doesn't really care about.

The Port and LAUSD are so powerful that they do pretty much whatever they wish, and mostly without much, if any, real oversight.

So the Port wants to place a cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor, within a city that is on a peninsula and have all the parking placed just a few miles away (except for one alternative) from where passengers will find their ship.

So, what about the ships?

The largest passenger ship currently plying the oceans is the Freedom of the Seas. it has a passenger capacity of 3,672, not counting Captain and crew members.

By the time 2012 rolls around, it will be only the fourth largest passenger ship. There are 33 ships being built or ordered, throughout the world that have a passenger capacity of greater than 2,000 each.

Here are some of the ships that are coming:

2-"Genesis Project" ships, each having the space for a three-acre park and 5,400 passengers.

2-next sized ships, each having a capacity of 4,200 passengers.

2- smaller ships, each having a capacity of 3,800 passengers

2-brand new Disney ships, in a class themselves, both having 1,250-staterooms. If each stateroom holds a family of three members, we find 3,750 passengers.

The list of 2,000+passengers ships not only includes the older Queen Mary II, which visited our port, it also shows the Queen Victoria, which has yet to find herself backing up the main channel.

These two ocean liners have around 2,100 passengers each, but what most folks don't know is that a third ocean liner bearing the name of the current Queen of England is being constructed. Thank goodness the new Queen Elizabeth only has a capacity of 2,092 passengers.

Of course most of the 33 ships will not use the Port of L.A. very much. But the Freedom of the Seas does visit us and she is having sister ships of her size being built, born, or whatever you want to call, taking shape.

The Kaiser Point cruise ship terminal is being considered for the largest cruise ships/ocean liners that sail the seas. Just think of when two Freedom of the Seas class of ships visits our port at the same time.

The Port claims that they will use natural gas-powered buses to go from a new parking structure to be built near the Vincent Thomas Bridge, to the new terminal. The Port figures about 150 or so bus trips to move passengers from the ship to structure and another 150 trips from the structure to the ships. That will be about 600 trips through San Pedro each day.

The Port was not willing to state what might happen if a new Kaiser Point terminal is built and many passengers depart and arrive via taxi, shuttle bus, or chartered bus. I bet those three classes of ground transportation get to drive through San Pedro to get to and from Kaiser Point.

Have you gathered yet that I think a new cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point is not too smart.

There are also no provisions to create a more friendly environment, by the Port, to allow cruise ship passengers and tourists and folks dropping off or gathering passengers, to shop downtown San Pedro, which could really need the business.

My idea, if they HAVE to have the new outer harbor terminal is to build an above ground, free for everyone, monorail that makes stops in downtown San Pedro, Ports O' Call and the Parking structure and the new terminal. This is a way for folks to shop San Pedro, get a great view of OUR San Pedro, and get through the area without causing massive traffic jams.

The Port feels that by 2037, there will be 287 days that cruise ships call on the Port of L.A., especially with a new outer harbor terminal. The number is slightly higher than in 2012 when 276 days may have ships calling on our port. It's just that between 2012 and 2037, the ships calling on our port will be really larger, I mean really, really larger than they are now.

The days of having a 1,300-passenger cruise may be drawing to a close. These "little" ships may find homes on more local or shorter runs, but the cruise lines will get a much bigger bang for their buck if they can have ships 4.15 times the size going the same places the "little" ships go.

Useless trivia: What is the difference between a boat and a ship? The most common answer is that you can put a boat on a ship, but you cannot put a ship on a boat. has information about the proposed new outer harbor cruise ship terminal and I will be adding much more information in the future, on this blog, about the waterfront development.

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