Homelessness in Alameda

It’s good to see the city creating an action plan to find services and shelter for the homeless who have taken up residence in the soon-to-be-built Jean Sweeney Park. But let’s not forget about those living in the encampment at the foot of the Fruitvale Bridge.

homeless siteHidden behind trees near Pet Food Express next to the Fruitvale Bridge is a plot of land where a sprawling pile of trash has been accumulating for about a year. Someone is living there and bringing in the items that lie strewn about the area. A large kiosk-type structure has been built. A barbeque grill is a potential fire hazard, considering all the debris and pine needles on the site.  The cyclone fence leading to the bridge has been torn away, allowing easy ingress and egress for the homeless. The area has become a public health issue. Continue reading

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Floating Hope for Harbor Seals

A new cement float for harbor seals was delivered to Alameda Point on June 22. The seals had been opting to stay on the existing, familiar wooden dock. That option ended on Monday, July 11.

removing dockThe Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the Bay Area’s ferry agency, removed the existing 270-foot-long wooden dock in preparation for building its new ferry maintenance facility, east of the USS Hornet. If the seals decide to stay in the harbor, they will have to adapt to the new structure. On Tuesday morning, July 12, four seals were on the new float, a promising development. Continue reading

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Proceed with Caution

I almost hit a pedestrian while turning right from Otis onto Broadway. My heart dropped. The very thing I had appreciated as a pedestrian caught me off guard as a driver.

Broadway and Otis signalsAt some intersections around the city, walk signals and traffic lights heading in the same direction are no longer in sync. Walk signals now turn green several seconds before auto traffic lights do, allowing pedestrians to leave the curb before cars begin to move.  While well intentioned, it will take drivers some time to get used to. Continue reading

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Plan for Trees not Clear Cut

Main Street neighborhood treesMany beautiful mature trees at Alameda Point could be cut down unless measures are taken to protect them.

The second phase of redevelopment at the former Naval Air Station is focused on the Main Street neighborhood. The neighborhood is near the Main Street Ferry Terminal and encompasses the “Big Whites” and surrounding homes. Many old structures will likely be torn down, but what will become of the trees? Continue reading

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Hotel Reservations

Good project. Wrong place.

A proposed 100-room hotel on the shoreline of Harbor Bay Business Park is facing mounting opposition. If a growing number of residents and organizations get their way, the project will not move forward. Continue reading

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The businesses on the west end of the island will finally get the boost they’ve been waiting for, especially Webster Street.  Around 1,900 new homes are in various stages of planning and construction there.  800 new homes are slated for construction at Alameda Point with 400 in the planning stage, 300 at Alameda Landing, and the Del Monte Warehouse project will bring another 400.  The West Alameda Business Association (WABA) must be jumping for joy.

The Park Street Business Association, however, isn’t wasting any time capitalizing on the turn of events. It has decided to stake its claim by declaring Park Street as Alameda’s downtown. It has renamed itself the Downtown Alameda Business Association (DABA).

It reminds me of the time when South Shore Shopping Center was renamed Alameda Towne Centre. It didn’t translate well. Continue reading

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Feds Prevail on Right to Take McKay

Neptune Beach Roller Coaster

McKay Avenue, the street leading to Crab Cove, used to house a roller coaster before it became a street. It is living up to its legacy.

In recent years the battle over the street, and what will become of the surplus federal property at the end of it, has had its ups, downs, twists and turns. Continue reading

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Make-Believe Traffic Remedy

stacks of plansThe chant coming from city hall is a familiar one: “What do we want? Another consultant! When do we want it? Now!”

Hiring consultants can be helpful at times, but when an issue has been studied to death, it’s make-believe to think that anything is being accomplished. Continue reading

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Foggy Process for New Ferry Maintenance Facility

WETA artist's drawing - Alameda PointThere’s going to be a new ferry maintenance facility at Alameda Point, but not everyone is thrilled. While all welcome the good paying jobs it will bring to Alameda, some are saying the facility is in the wrong location, and others, including Mayor Trish Spencer, are saying the city’s planning process for the facility was not transparent.

Most Alamedans wouldn’t have heard about the proposed maintenance facility at all if harbor seal advocates hadn’t raised a stink about it displacing the seals.

Until a few weeks ago, when the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) sought a 60-year lease for the land from the city, the only hearing on the project in Alameda was an “information-only” meeting in November 2010, before the Planning Board. Continue reading

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Council to pressure federal government on park expansion

Concerts at the CoveIt’s been a long time coming.  At its upcoming February 17 meeting, the new city council will consider adopting a resolution in support of using the surplus federal property by Crab Cove for park and open space purposes.

The resolution urges the federal General Services Administration (GSA) to negotiate a low or no-cost sale to the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) or the state and to end its eminent domain action on state-owned McKay Avenue.

If adopted, our city will officially join the efforts of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, EBRPD, the state Attorney General, a coalition of 11 environmental organizations, and the Alameda-based advocacy group Friends of Crown Beach in sending a united message to the feds about what is the highest and best use for the surplus property. Continue reading

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