A string of comment in last Friday post inspired me to do a series of posts on how bad the infrastructure at Alameda Point is right now. As a commenter suggested, the first step to thinking and talking about Alameda Point is reminding folks that Alameda Point is not a blank slate and that there are a lot problems above the surface but probably more below. Given that we currently like and value a lot of the existing businesses out at Alameda Point (yes? we do like our Alameda Point businesses do we not) if we do nothing and things continue to grow worse for existing businesses, the likelihood of them sticking around for the long haul if they can’t get a consistent supply of potable water or their gas service to work is slim to none.
The City recently completed a Master Infrastructure Plan (or the MIP) to discuss the deficiencies with Alameda Point’s infrastructure and what is needed to bring it up to code. In addition to the infrastructure being almost 70 years old, it hasn’t been adequately maintained over the years. The City still owns almost all the utilities which means that if it breaks, we fix it.
So, the first in a series, this one will tackle the potable water system at Alameda Point.
More on Alameda Point Partners and why we can’t just opt to do nothing and why is it that we can’t just start with jobs only.
So, I just wanted to circle back to the discussion on Tuesday night about Alameda Point Partners and Alameda Point in general. Some of the supporters of some of the new City Council members have indicated that it would be better if Alameda Point didn’t have any housing at all and we just started with jobs. Some of the supporters of some of the new City Council members have indicated that we should do nothing at Alameda Point. On Tuesday night, City staff and their professional advisers — meaning people who do this stuff for a living — stated definitively why neither of those two options are viable.
All future developers in Alameda take note of the master class that Joe Ernst of SRM Development taught on Tuesday night of how to do development in Alameda. An Alameda resident and spearheaded projects like Peets and VF Outdoors in Alameda he is the face of Alameda Point Partners and knew that this proposal would face opposition based on the Calls to Action from incoming City Council members and community groups.
He brought to the City Council meeting a wave of fresh new faces that long time City Council watchers probably have never seen before and, more that that, he brought local Alameda business people to come and ask the Council to support the project. Both businesses that are currently at Alameda Point, businesses that have had to leave Alameda, and businesses that want to come in to Alameda and that was extremely compelling.
So some folks have been angrily posting about the agenda for the City Council meeting coming up on Tuesday that this “lame duck” Council shouldn’t be able to do anything but twiddle its thumbs between now and when the new Council is sworn in. And while I’m not necessarily going to angrily post about it, I have to say that I agree that relatively new substantive matters that are at the beginning of the process should probably wait until the new Council is seated before taking a vote.
For example, on the City Council agenda for Tuesday is an agenda item to approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with one of the pared down finalists for Site A. I’m not going to get bogged down in a substantive discussion on whether the City should or should not start the negotiation process by entering into an ENA with a developer, I’m just saying that as the City is at the beginning of this ENA process, it might be prudent to wait to allow the new City Council time to weigh in on the ENA. That’s all.
Mostly because if the new City Council is going to undo all the work anyway, it simple strings along all the parties unnecessarily.
This comment is a really good one about the sad state of Alameda’s transit planning:
That said, and turning to serious objections, the transit planning could be a lot more ambitious and thought of at the city level. Emeryville set up its shuttle system. The aim should be to get existing residents, not just new ones, out of their cars and onto buses, bikes and ferries. It’s very doable. And you don’t need to get too many to have a big effect of traffic at peak times: the effect of the marginal driver is greater than that of the earlier one.
Right now, we are relying, heavily, on grants and new developments to fund alternatives to AC Transit to get folks in select areas on the West End through the tube to get to Bart. Perhaps, if residents would like an Emery-Go-Around type public transportation option we should encourage existing retail corridors and shopping centers to put money into a pool along with these sub areas to create a Alameda-Go-Round that would be free (or have a small surcharge) for Alameda residents in general.
Tonight there is an Open House to meet the developers that have been selected to start the process of possibly being able to actual start developing something at Alameda Point. You’ll be able to meet the finalists for Site A and Site B. The meeting will be at the Alameda Main Library (which according to #2 son smells like a hotel, I believe this was phrased as a compliment) and starts at 5:30 p.m. and will end at 8:30 p.m. There will probably just be informal tables and such so you’ll be safe coming in during those hours to relentlessly grill the developers if you wish.
The City Council is slated to be there because the City send out one of those special meeting notices when the City Council is going to all be in the same room together so you know what that means. That’s right: all the other candidates running for office will also be there, so expect to see the folks running for office pressing the flesh and acting like they have some clue about what the heck is going on. Essentially this will turn into some pseudo-campaigning event, fun?
Refresher map of the location:
Also on the Transportation Commission agenda tonight (in addition to the Del Monte Transportation Demand Management plan) is the Cross Alameda Trail aka that strip of land that borders Appezatto Parkway that has been sitting there for years and being, mainly, used as a parking lot.
For a kick, this is why no one is ever 100% happy with ANY project in Alameda, even one that should be relatively straight forward like building a trail that is open space and super low impact. In the compilation of the public comments about the plan here’s the section on benches:
The City Council tonight will decide if they want to move forward with staff recommended “Preferred” developers from the submissions solicited months ago for site B at Alameda Point. Site B is also know as the site near the one that would have been offered to the Berkeley Labs if they had selected Alameda. Speaking of which, I’m not sure what the status of the Richmond location is at this point. The last article I read about it in 2013 was something along of the lines of the funding being uncertain. So maybe Alameda did luck out in not getting selected if the whole LBNL project is in indefinite limbo at this point.
As a refresher, this is where site B is.
Speaking of Alameda Point remember those RFQs the the city asked for and remember all the companies that were reported to have submitted proposals? So I have copies of the requests and they really vary in quality and fanciness depending on the company submitting.
I wanted to highlight a few proposals at a time starting from the most straightforward ones to ones that are a little more vague. Here’s one that I think has a lot of short term potential, this is a submission for site B. Just to remind you here are the two sites:
The one big thing on the Planning Board’s agenda tonight (other than voting in new officers) is the Estuary Park conceptual design. Estuary Park for those that may not be familiar with it can be found here:
It’s parcel 1A in yellow. Yes I realize that Rosenblum is moving and Island High no longer exists at Miller School but this was a map I created in 2008.