During the second reading of Tuesday’s night’s meeting, Tony Daysog had, yet another, head scratching comment:
I can’t wait for our community to have this traffic/transit discussion because now we’re doing these TDMs as these projects here and there arise. Alameda Point has its TDM, Alameda Landing has its TDM. Northern Waterfront, Del Monte project has its TDM. And I do think that we have to be a lot more strategic in terms of planning.
Tony Daysog makes it sound as though Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plans are some bandage solution that is done in lieu of long term strategic planning. It’s not. Two years after Tony Daysog departed the City Council, the City started the process of updating the Transportation Element of the General Plan to talk about long term strategies, there’s a good overview about the Transportation Element EIR here. The Transportation Element is the roadmap of sorts on how we tackle dealing with the inevitability of traffic in our City. Maybe this is a part of the “discussion” that Tony Daysog wants to have, maybe it’s not, but it’s not clear that he understands the distinction.
I had actually wrote yesterday’s post a few days ago, and kept bumping it for other things, but it came in very hand on the morning of #hellastorm when I finally scheduled it to run. By now, you’ve probably seen photos, or have seen in person, huge swaths of flooding on Alameda Point, which was interesting because according to the Weather Underground map at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday had only measured less than 1.5 inches of rain, compared to Mid Alameda which measured 2.79 inches of rain:
Continuing along the “how bad is the infrastructure at Alameda Point” road, next I tackle wastewater, aka the gross stuff that you want to leave your building.
Here is the current state of the wastewater system at Alameda Point from the Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP):
The Navy began the installation of this system approximately 70 years ago. The system is currently functional, however, the system is beyond its service life and has numerous deficiencies. Most notably, the majority of the system has deteriorated due to the age of the system and differential settlement has occurred over time at the Project Site. These effects of time have resulted in groundwater infiltration entering the on-site collection system and downstream transmission system. Additionally, portions of the existing system have adverse slopes causing wastewater build-up and stagnant conditions. There are portions of the collection pipelines that are located under existing buildings and outside of the existing and proposed backbone street rights of ways. The existing wastewater collection system does not meet the City’s standards.
I’m not really sure what to think about this particular project, other than the fact that I believe a lot of people will love it even though there’s no there, there. And by “there” I mean an actual plan that has any sort of real nut meat to it. But it will be fun to speculate and gossip about nonetheless. The Planning Board will get a first look at the non plan on Monday submitted by the Alameda Commercial United.
The “plan” — and I use the term “plan” very loosely — is to maybe perhaps create some sort of international school for K-12 students and some dorms at the site of the old Bachelors’ Enlisted Men’s Quarters. That or senior housing, maybe, possibly. The dorms would only be used for kids in junior high and up.
So this is kinda sorta the plan so far:
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: