The National Park Service will hold a public meeting this afternoon to discuss a new long-term location for the ferry landing taking visitors to Alcatraz Island.

The options include keeping the existing landing at Pier 31 1/2, moving back to the previous site at Pier 41, or moving to Pier 3 near Fort Mason, park service officials said.

The park service is seeking a long-term location for visitors to catch ferries to tours of the island’s famous prison. Ferry contracts have to be renewed every 10 years and the new contracts have necessitated location changes in the past, most recently in 2006, park service officials said.

Two of the proposed locations, including the current one, are located along The Embarcadero near Fisherman’s Wharf, a hub of tourist activity. Pier 3 is on park service property near Fort Mason.

The park service released a draft environmental impact statement and is accepting public comment on the proposals until May 20, including at this afternoon’s public meeting.

The environmental impact statement identifies the existing Pier 31 1/2 location as the environmentally preferred alternative as it would require minimal construction.

However, talks with the Port of San Francisco over long-term occupancy of a pier have not yielded an agreement. If the port and the park service can agree on the terms and conditions for Pier 31 1/2, the park service would build a third berth there and make improvements to the visitor welcome areas, park service officials said.

The other two sites would require extensive improvements, including rebuilding the existing piers to serve as a new Alcatraz landing.

This afternoon’s meeting will be held in the Bayside Conference Room at Pier 1 at 4 p.m. There will be a tour of the three sites on Thursday.

(Via Bay City News)