The Planning Board tonight has some interesting West End projects for comment tonight. The first is the Collaborating Partners (aka APC and Friends) project at Alameda Point. As a reminder this project will consolidate APC, Building Futures, and Operation Dignity’s scattered sites into one site that will allow services to be better concentrated and, hey! new buildings where things aren’t falling apart.
Here’s the general site plan and the team is looking for direction prior to submitting the plan for approval:
My only concern with the site is that the townhouses, which I’m assuming would house families with children, is located the farthest away from Main Street (and therefore the schools). Also there appears to be only one play space near the Building Futures building but farther from the townhouses. Also I hope that the buildings on Main Street have some nice Main Street facing facades to activate that street a bit more.
Sometimes the awesome just happens and it’s political fodder magic. Yesterday morning as I was casually checking Twitter on my phone, something popped up and I, well, you can read the tweet:
Let me actually post my screen grab because a few things have changed since this morning. Let me set the context, the “Kevins” twitter account posted in response to a EB Citizen tweet about the cost of the Fire Prevention Bureau. #Alamtg twitter contributor made a politically directed response to that tweet which is not unusual for Twitter and then, well, you can see for yourself:
Based on the twitter live updates of #alamtg for Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the meeting appeared to be a hot mess. I supposed that’s what you get when you put a bunch of people on a policy body who can barely tolerate each other.
Anyway, one item of interest for folks should have been the Fire Prevention Bureau agenda item. Personally I thought this one was an obvious gimme given that the huge Ghost Ship Warehouse fire that just happened resulting in a huge loss of life. The lack of government oversight has been pointed to as one of the culprits contributing exponentially to the issue, so yeah, it should have been an obvious one for the City Council to pass because: fire death.
Here are some of the tweets recapping the agenda item:
Neptune’s Alameda soft opened yesterday. It’s the business that took over the old Fosters Freeze space. I noticed people in the building and all lights on early yesterday morning. This Tablehopper post confirms that they are open for business:
The daytime menu is Southern through a California lens, with some Filipino and Hawaiian references popping up too; ingredients will be sustainably sourced. The menu includes chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, housemade brioche buns, “Not Zippy’s” chili and rice (a reference to a popular Hawaiian dish), Hawaiian breakfast, a burger, and eventually soft-serve ice cream with special flavors of waffle cones designed to go with it.
There are 80 seats, both indoors and on a back patio they installed surrounded with redwood slats. They will also be launching a walk-up window in a couple of weeks, where you can get your lumpia to go.
Staff is back with a slightly improved design for the Cross Alameda Trail section of Atlantic between Webster and Constitution. They are finally suggesting a protected bike lane to link two protected bike lane segments.
From the staff report:
This design has the following attributes:
• Protected Bicycle Lanes: Two-way, ten-foot wide, protected bicycle lane on the south side of Atlantic, between Webster and Atlantic, which will be a combination of at-sidewalk-grade (to the west) and at-street-grade (to the east) facilities.
• Continuous Sidewalk: New and existing sidewalks will be 6 to 7.9 foot wide along the south side of Atlantic.
• Intersection Crossings: Separated pedestrian and bicycle crossings, which reduce conflicts between the modes which travel at different speeds.
• Enhanced Intersection Safety: The designs have features of “protected intersections” with raised corner safety islands, which create a protected area for people biking to wait for the traffic signal and tighten the turning radius, to slow cars. Protected left turn signals will be installed on Atlantic at Constitution, to reduce conflicts between autos and bicyclists, as well as signage to warn turning vehicles to watch for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the project. High visibility crossings will be painted.
• Maintain Bus Stop (Eastbound): Retained and expanded eastbound bus stop to meet AC Transit standards.
• Changes to Auto Travel Lanes: Retained all auto travel lanes on Atlantic, except for one of the three eastbound lanes between the southern driveway and Constitution, which is utilized by the protected bicycle lane. (Note that this is the area where the City’s easement area is very limited, so there were few other options for the facility in this section.) Most auto travel lane widths are reduced, but outside lanes are a minimum of 11 feet.
• Improve Webster St. Bus Stop (at southwest corner of RAMP/Atlantic): Bus stop will be re-configured, as part of the combined CAT RAMP/Atlantic Gap project, to remove the step up to the bus stop, and create a fully level corner plaza that seamlessly connects to the bus stop.
• Easement and retaining wall: Use a minimal amount of the City’s easement area, about 10 feet wide at its maximum, near the corner of Webster.
Last week the City put out a press release about the delay of the Site A plan. From the Press Release:
Rapidly rising construction costs have prohibited APP from finalizing its development budget and completing its financing plan in order to accept conveyance of Site A by the milestone date of April 11, 2017. Today, APP proposed to complete an amended plan within a 120-day timeframe that will allow them to proceed with the development, address the economic challenges, and deliver a quality project consistent with the design, intent and scope of the planned development.
Essentially in order to make the enormous cost of the infrastructure work is, well, more units, from the press release continued:
Hey folks, just doing one last push for the Ruby Bridges PTA Hamilton raffle. All proceeds go to benefit the Ruby Bridges Elementary school community in the form of field trips, teacher stipends, assemblies, etc.
Tickets can be purchased in one, five, or 15 ticket increments ($10, $50, and $100 respectively). We were able to see Hamilton earlier this month and it was nothing short of amazing. Also being thrown in to the winner of two tickets for the Saturday, June 3, 2017 8:00 p.m. showing is a souvenir program for Hamilton. Visit: www.rubybridgespta.org to purchase you chance to check out Hamilton in San Francisco.
If you’re interested in trying your chance, don’t wait. We’ll be pulling the winning ticket on Friday, April 28 during our STEAM Showcase and Silent Auction.
CityLab had a great piece on the causes of the retail shopping decline. Of course we’re likely to blame it on on-line shopping, which probably does take an enormous part of the blame, but there are other reasons for the decline of retail shopping which includes the shift in priorities from having things to having experiences. Plus the fact that cost of living has risen and, particularly in the Bay Area, the cost of housing has increased leaves a lot of people with a whole lot less excess income to spread around to buying stuff.
A deep recession might explain an extinction-level event for large retailers. But GDP has been growing for eight straight years, gas prices are low, unemployment is under 5 percent, and the last 18 months have been quietly excellent years for wage growth, particularly for middle- and lower-income Americans.
So, what the heck is going on? The reality is that overall retail spending continues to grow steadily, if a little meagerly. But several trends—including the rise of e-commerce, the over-supply of malls, and the surprising effects of a restaurant renaissance—have conspired to change the face of American shopping.
I haven’t made it through either the City Council meeting video for Friday nor Monday’s Planning Board meeting quite yet. But I did start watching the PB meeting and got as far as a public commenter on the Alameda Marina study session agenda item claim that no one he knows wants any new housing at all. In fact, everyone he knows hates all the new development. On top of that while everyone is talking about affordable housing, what about affordable industrial space?
My first thought was, maybe expand your social network and find some people who do want development because they’re on the cusp of losing the housing they’re currently in and any additional supply would help ease pressure off the demand. Maybe also read about how California is ranked lead last for new homeowners to currently buy homes. Even though some people would tell young people today that they just need to work harder, save more, and stop spending money on Starbucks the reality is that the attitude of “we have enough housing, stop developing” has a cost on future generations.
Not that surprising and probably won’t change anyone’s position on building housing but a recent poll shows that younger people are more supportive of building housing than older people. From the San Francisco Business Journal:
Seventy percent of millennials were in favor of building more housing in their own neighborhood, while only 57 percent of residents age 40 to 64 supported additional homes near them.
Also not surprising but newer residents were also more supportive as well:
Newer residents were also more in favor of housing in the Bay Area, with 76 percent of residents who have lived in the region for five years or less supporting housing. Only 55 percent of those living in the region for 20 years or more supported new nearby housing.