Aquatic Park Pier (Muni Pier)

Aerial View of Aquatic Park Pier
Aerial view of Aquatic Park Pier

NPS photo

Frequently Asked Questions - Municipal Pier Closure

Why is Municipal Pier closed?

Municipal Pier is closed for public safety. A Superintendent’s Closure Order was issued on November 11, 2022, due to structural damaged sustained during the October 25, 2022, earthquake. The closure was issued following a safety review by the U.S. Public Health Service. Deterioration of Municipal Pier makes it unsafe for public use.

Is Municipal Pier closed permanently or temporarily?

Municipal Pier is closed permanently.

Can Municipal Pier be fixed and then re-open?

There is currently no viable approach to preserve the existing Municipal Pier or “fixing it” in a manner that would restore and maintain the historic structure in a reasonable or effective manner.

The pier would need to be entirely replaced, which includes removal and reconstruction approximately 1,400 feet of curvilinear pier with public access over a tidal baffle system, all features that contribute to the significance of the Aquatic Park National Historic Landmark District.

How much will it cost to rebuild Municipal Pier?

The cost for a replacement pier will depend on design and changeable construction materials costs, which are unknown at this time but would be expected to exceed $100 million.

Now that Municipal Pier is closed, does this improve the chance to receive federal funding?

At this time, there are no federal funding programs identified for replacement of Municipal Pier.

What will happen if Municipal Pier collapses?

If Municipal Pier collapses, a significant contributing element to the Aquatic Park National Historic Landmark District would be lost and the strong tidal forces in the bay would increase vulnerability of National Historic Landmark ships like Balclutha, C.A. Thayer, and Eureka. The beach, promenade and Sala Burton Maritime Museum Building adjacent to Aquatic Park Cove would be placed in jeopardy. Concrete debris entering San Francisco Bay will also need to be removed at great cost.

Can I still see the ships?

Yes! The National Historic Landmark ships are berthed at Hyde Street Pier, not Municipal Pier.

What is the National Park Service doing for the future of Municipal Pier?

The National Park Service will continue to monitor and evaluate the condition of the pier. Planning for the removal of the railing, benches and light posts is underway. Planning for the replacement of Municipal Pier will remain a priority and the National Park Service will continue to work towards achieving a viable solution. The National Park Service mission includes preservation of historic places like Aquatic Park National Historic Landmark District, including the contributing elements.

For historical background information on Municipal Pier, please continue below:

Side view of Aquatic Park Pier showing deterioration, and unfinished Pier structure behind sailboats in the Cove.
Top - Aquatic Park Pier's unfinished convenience station behind sailboats in the Cove. Bottom - West side of the Pier showing deterioration from decades of waves and hard weather.

NPS photo

Completed in 1933 to create a protected cove where San Francisco residents could safely swim and recreate, Aquatic Park Pier (also known as “Municipal” or “Muni” pier) is now a deteriorated historic landmark impacted by age, tide, and earthquakes. Although built strong, decades of standing against winter storms, pounding waves, and earthquakes have significantly weakened this 1400-foot walkway over San Francisco Bay. The pier was closed in October 2022 due to structural damage from an earthquake. Prior to its closure, the pier provided unparalleled pedestrian access into the bay. Despite its closure to pedestrians, the pier continues to function as a tidal energy dampener. It continues to contribute as a significant feature of the Aquatic Park National Historic Landmark District.

Muni Pier was constructed on the site of the former U.S. Army Quartermaster’s Pier at the northwest corner of Black Point Cove. Designed to support recreation in this part of the city, it also incorporated an innovative baffle system that mitigates the effects of the bay currents on Aquatic Park Cove. The pier included electrical power lines for lamps along the length of the structure, and water conveyance infrastructure for a convenience and lifesaving station, which was planned for the end of the pier but never completed.

The baffles incorporated into the pier serve as a breakwater, absorbing energy from the bay’s tides and pacifying the cove’s water. Some riprap has been added over the years to act against scouring at the mud line.

Curvilinear with a round bulb-like end, the pier consists of a concrete deck road supported by reinforced concrete and jacketed wood pilings. Concrete curbs along the outer edges of the roadway served both as a conduit for utility pipes and a divider between vehicles and pedestrians.

Benches (also made from concrete) and streetlights are located at even intervals along the length of the pier. The pier railing was designed to accommodate the placement of the concrete benches and to provide easier fishing access.

During the military’s use of the park between 1942 and 1948, a U.S. Army tug collided with the pier, causing severe structural damage. Repairs were made in 1947 and the pier was returned to the city in early 1948. The pier was also seriously damaged again on February 3, 1953, when rammed in a heavy fog by a freighter.

(Excerpted from the 2010 Aquatic Park Cultural Landscape Report. The complete report is available for download here.)

Last updated: December 5, 2022

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