Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 4, 2013

One Bay Area Direction

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Tonight on the City Council agenda will be a public hearing for Alameda regarding the draft One Bay Area/Plan Bay Area/whatever plan.   For those that are unsure of what the One Bay Area plan is, here’s a synopsis from KQED:

[B]y 2040, the Bay Area must cut its greenhouse gas emission by 15 percent. It’s part of SB 375, a state law requiring local communities to help meet California’s climate change goals through land use and transit planning.

The Bay Area’s effort is being coordinated with Plan Bay Area, a region wide development plan being put together by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

[Planning and Research Director at ABAG Miriam] Chion says the key to cutting greenhouse gas emissions is giving residents more options for public transit or walking. Plan Bay Area identifies “Priority Development Areas,” where 80 percent of new housing and 60 percent of new jobs would be located in walkable neighborhoods that are close to transit and series.

The plan also seeks to minimize sprawl by keeping future growth within existing urban boundaries. “That’s a huge statement,” says Stephanie Reyes of the Greenbelt Alliance. “No other region comes even close to achieving that level of in-fill development and open space protection.”

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, does Alameda have any of these Priority Development Areas?   The answer is yes:

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 7.07.08 AM

The orange indicates the PDAs the tan is existing urbanized areas.  If you notice the spots in Alameda are concentrated around Alameda Point (duh!) and the Northern Waterfront.   Something that doesn’t exist on this map is the overlay of future transit projects — because generally these PDAs are tied around transit corridors — is the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line across Alameda to the Fruitvale BART station.

So, as usual, when there is anything about building more housing or prescribing where housing should get built there are inevitably people who proclaim that their city should just pull out of ABAG and then they wouldn’t need to be told what to do by people who don’t even live in their city.   But, I’ve written about that before.   Not being represented in ABAG does not mean that you don’t have to abide by the RHNA housing numbers or things like that, it just means that you aren’t going to be represented in ABAG.   In the end if communities choose not to play along there aren’t a lot of punishments in the One Bay Area plan, but there is a great big carrot for playing along in the form of $14 billion for transportation projects for communities that choose to adopt the plan’s goals.


  1. “In the end if communities choose not to play along there aren’t a lot of punishments in the One Bay Area plan, but there is a great big carrot for playing along in the form of $14 billion for transportation projects for communities that choose to adopt the plan’s goals.” In other words, Alameda doesn’t have to build thousands of homes at Alameda Point, where the only ways off the island for the thousands more people who would be living there would be (a) to go through a narrow tunnel that merges down to one lane for freeway access or (b) to go all the way across town to Park, Fruitvale or High Street bridges. The tube is already really bad. If there is an accident or an Antiques Fair it backs way up onto streets leading to the tube. We aren’t talking about 80 or 160 homes like the various ideas for more housing on Bay Farm. People are talking about thousands more housing units over on Alameda Point.

    If we were more modest and slower with the great asset of Alameda Point (an asset we should preserve and only use with great caution) and we didn’t do a massive residential build out that will inflict significant damage to the quality of life on the western half of the island, it sounds like the main things we’d lose would be (1) the ability to get some transportation funds for more bus service and whatever transportation plans that might slightly mitigate some of the massive negative traffic and other impacts of building out Alameda Point and (2) not chipping in quite as much as much to help out others in the region. On balance, unless the transportation projects we’d get for doing this are going to include a new bridge or tunnel off the island from Alameda Point, building thousands of houses out on Alameda Point sounds like a huge reckless gamble likely to have negatives that dwarf the positives.

    Comment by Loyal Opposition — June 4, 2013 @ 7:16 am

  2. You are way off base, LO.

    The homes that other towns’ sprawl requires us to build at the base will only be marketed to New Urbanists who will take the ferry grocery shopping & send the kids to soccer practice on the 51.

    Your shrill alarmism over such a trivial, dated (and frankly bourgeois) notion as “quality of life” has no place here.

    Comment by dave — June 4, 2013 @ 7:39 am

  3. Will we be the mule that is forever walking toward that great big transportation funding carrot dangling in front of its face? If we build it (housing), will they fund it (transportation)? The only encouraging sign that this funding might happen is that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has funded the design of the new Alameda Point Town Center. Presumably they will have some incentive to open up their budget for some realistic funding to help make it a success with plenty of transportation money. How many of the other priority areas in the great big plan are islands? Do islands have a special funding formula?

    Comment by Richard Bangert — June 4, 2013 @ 7:59 am

  4. Just build housing without any parking.

    Comment by frank — June 4, 2013 @ 9:24 am

  5. 2 Good one, dave.
    Three sentences, three forms of humor.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 9:42 am

  6. I was trying to find information on the proposed BRT route in Alameda– is that available yet? I hope, if it comes to pass, that the route will make use of Lincoln Avenue/Tilden Way. With two lanes, Lincoln/Tilden is ideal, and much faster, than Santa Clara– especially in the downtown area, where the combination of busses and double- parked delivery trucks make driving (and crossing the street) between Oak and Broadway a dangerous proposition.

    Comment by Kristen — June 4, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  7. #3: No special funding for islands. PlanBayArea treats all 101 Bay Area communities the same, without regard for local geography or traditional use. It’s definition of the term “Town center” has a specific meaning. That’s why there is an area-wide, growing bipartisan grassroots opposition movement. Corte Madera has courageously opted-out of ABAG & other Marin communities may follow suit.

    Comment by vigi — June 4, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  8. I totally understand the concerns about traffic (and traffic jams) on the West End if we build more housing on Alameda Point. It’s a huge consideration as the city creates plans for that part of Alameda.

    Three points to keep in mind, though:

    1) This housing isn’t going to be built in a day — the plan is to build it over 28 years, which gives the city time to develop transit plans/options to absorb increased traffic.

    2) Low-income families, who would inhabit the affordable housing, tend to own fewer cars than middle/high income families. They rely, instead, on public transportation, which would be boosted under the plan.

    3) The plan MTC/ABAG is currently considering (called the “preferred alternative”) provides one level of public transportation throughout the Bay Area. Another plan (called the “Equity, Environment and Jobs Scenario”) provides even more public transportation (as well as more biking/walking opportunities, greater public health benefits, and more protection, for low-income people, against being displaced by development ). MTC/ABAG’s own analysis shows that the EEJ is superior to the “preferred alternative,” so there’s a big push right now to get the commissioners to incorporate portions of the EEJ (including providing more public transportation) into their draft.

    You can read more about the differences between EEJ and the “preferred alternative” in this blog ( and also this Marin IJ article: [].

    Comment by Susan Davis — June 4, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  9. The linking of greenhouse gasses to climate change has been debunked everywhere but in the minds bureaucrats and their ‘agencies’. The anthropogenic warming hoax was created in a perfect storm of dire predictions of what was going to happen years or decades from now if we did not drastically reduce our CO2 production by virtually shutting down the economies of the world. That product of radical political and environmental activism meshes well with ABAG. The whole reason underlying ABAG is to eliminate municipalities and make them a small part of one world. Which has been the wet dream of progressives since they crawled out of their Chardonnay bottles.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 10:07 am

  10. Chardonnay is a cool weather grape. More than a few chard vineyards have been ripped out & replanted with other varietals due to the temperature increase that Real Americans know isn’t happening AT ALL.

    Comment by dave — June 4, 2013 @ 10:47 am

  11. Isn’t it just too appropriate that we can kill three birds with one unturned stone. By edict we must build housing, by edict we must build low-income housing by edict we must reduce greenhouse gasses, by golly we’ll build clustered low-income housing requiring dwellers use public transit so we unclustered gentry can mosey around in our SUVs.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 10:53 am

  12. Guess they didn’t get the word.
    “In the sizzling and parched Central Valley, Chardonnay has become a leading component of that region’s bulk wine production….”

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 10:57 am

  13. 5. Nice analysis.
    10. The Chardonnay shift may be more a shift of taste than climate (not a climate change naysayer but as a wine widow, I know the trends)
    11. “Hey, gang! Let’s build a ghetto!!!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 4, 2013 @ 11:09 am

  14. #8 I think you totally don’t understand. There will never be more motor vehicle access off the West End of this island than the existing Tubes, unless ferries start carrying autos again. Or we finally get Flying Cars. Stuffing more buses into the Tubes is not a solution. And with the air in Asia so polluted everyone walking the streets is wearing a surgical mask, why do you think what we do in the Bay Area will make a significant difference?

    Comment by vigi — June 4, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  15. Kristen:

    Here’s the description of the proposed BRT route, I can’t seem to find the PDFs of the maps.

    4.8 miles between Fruitvale BART and Seaplane Lagoon (via Fruitvale Avenue, Fruitvale Bridge, Tilden Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, Marshall Avenue, Pacific Avenue and a future street connection within Alameda Point between Pacific Avenue and
    Seaplane Lagoon. The street connection between Pacific Avenue and Sea Plane Lagoon to be constructed separately.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 4, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  16. Somewhere Sam Hayakawa is enjoying all this.

    Comment by frank — June 4, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  17. Dave and Jack, can we grow Zinfandel grapes on the Point?? no houses or parks just wineries. That would make me Happy.

    Comment by John P. (L) — June 4, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  18. What’s the time frame for the proposed BRT?

    Comment by alameda — June 4, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  19. Hey Susan, your third bullet in comment 8 is great. I forgot to mention that a lot of the social advocacy groups are a little “meh” on the selected scenario. Here’s a good analysis on why.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 4, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  20. Les raisins de la colère only fruit known to grow well at the Point but they do make good whine.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  21. alameda, the linked file says service opening in 2018, but I doubt that is a correct timeline.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 4, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  22. 17. And I’m afraid, given the current soil conditions, anything grown there may be more a case of “terror” than “terroir”.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 4, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

  23. Thanks for your # 19 Link LD, supports my #9

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

  24. 20. Sometimes, Jack, I think we may be just a tad over-educated. What do you think? Ignorance is bliss, after all.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 4, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  25. thanks for the link in #15, Lauren.

    Comment by Kristen — June 4, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  26. From today’s Alameda Patch, the mayor was quoted as saying “The city lost 14,000 military and civilian jobs when the Naval base closed in 1997, but city officials hope that redeveloping the site will create thousands of permanent jobs as well as thousands of temporary construction jobs and generate increased tax revenues.” If the tube accommodated all those jobs before 1997, why can’t it accommodate it now?

    Comment by BarbaraK — June 4, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  27. “The City provides financial assistance to new and existing businesses in or locating in Alameda that will create or retain jobs for low-to-moderate-income people.”

    We need More Low Income Jobs to Fill our New Low Income Housing. To Help Sustain our High Income City Employess Sustain their High Pension Benefits.

    Nothing Says Growth like a 300 – 500 new Target part time employees knocking down 12 – 15 an hour that love to take the bus. BTW that never take the Bus.

    LAMBRA Tax Incentives
    Similar to the State’s Enterprise Zone program, the Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area (LAMBRA) provides numerous tax incentives for companies that locate at Alameda Point, the former Naval Air Base

    We know how well these enterprise zones are working.

    Strip club receiving Enterprise Zone credits stokes criticism of tax-incentive program

    The embattled state program was created 30 years ago to help create jobs in economically depressed regions. Gold Club Centerfolds gets $37,000 tax break for each server and clerk it employs.

    The club’s CEO, Mark Boyles conceded, “I’m loving this deal, but I don’t see where it necessarily makes sense for the taxpayers.” The controversy comes at a time when Governor Jerry Brown is trying to revamp the program entirely, describing EZ credits as old tools for the old economy. Even though big businesses such as Costco and Federal Express are beneficiaries, supporters of EZ credits, say it’s irrelevant which companies get the credits, what matters is creating jobs for folks who would otherwise be unemployed

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  28. State tax credit beneficiaries in Sacramento County include Fortune 500 firms, casino

    A rare glimpse into an embattled California tax credit program shows that Fortune 500 companies – and one casino – are its biggest beneficiaries in Sacramento County.
    The state enterprise zone program offers businesses up to $37,440 in tax credits per employee as an incentive to hire workers in economically depressed areas.

    Sandwiched between Fortune 500 companies in Sacramento’s top five was Capitol Casino, a North 16th Street card room that claimed 148 vouchers. A sampling of vouchers issued this year went toward a cook, servers and card dealers whose incomes were listed at between $8 and $10.50 an hour.

    A worker must meet one of 13 criteria, such as residency in a targeted employment area, to qualify the company for the tax voucher. Though some of the targeted areas are impoverished neighborhoods, others are drawn broadly to include middle-class and wealthy blocks. Disabled workers and veterans also qualify for the program.

    Aside from new hires, the enterprise zone program allows employers to retroactively claim credits for former and current employees. Critics contend that has given rise to a cottage industry of tax consultants who solicit businesses, promising to unearth unused tax credits from the past.

    Read more here:

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

  29. Jack lets open up the Largest Casino and Strip Club on the Base.

    Pay the Girls 15.00 an Hour and help some pole manufacture get back on it’s feet sort of speak.

    We can recoup all the wages through tax incentives and Really Give Back to the City. I do mean Back.

    We can really be Progressive and Set another one for those of the Progressive Ilk.

    Look at all the flags we could fly.

    Win Win Win

    Gets our low housing filled – Think of all the Home Business that might be created.

    Gets the people back to work – We Recoup all the Wages and Salaries

    Gives the transportation and environmentalist something to do besides thinking up more ways to drain the public

    We can Put Our City Manager in a Pimp Suit and he wont have to pretend anymore. We will just call him “Hollerin Back Mama Russo”

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

  30. “We need More Low Income Jobs to Fill our New Low Income Housing. To Help Sustain our High Income City Employess Sustain their High Pension Benefits.”

    Truer words have never been spoken!

    Comment by jsanders128 — June 4, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

  31. So the 500,000 Jobs Created were given to Companies Like Target and Walmart and Small Business at a Cost of 37,500 per employee to the tax payer for mostly minimum wage part time employees if you read through all the fuzz.

    “We’ve seen successes of the program in some of the most economically distressed areas of the state,” he said.
    About 500,000 tax vouchers have been issued since 2009, according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the agency that oversees the program.

    Read more here:

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

  32. How could I forget …I”m sure McDonalds must be McLoving it also.

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

  33. Were are a Magnet to Opportunity

    Dollar General Sees California as Big Opportunity

    Dollar General anticipates tremendous growth from its entry into California, Dreiling added. “California for us will be as large as Texas someday, and we have over 1,000 stores in Texas.”

    Dreiling said Dollar General has hired new directors to oversee produce and meat.
    He also said Dollar General’s perishables business has grown — from 12.3% of all baskets in 2008 to 17.8% in the first quarter of this year.
    According to Dreiling, the inclusion of consumables boosts the chain’s average basket size from $10.89 to $17.13.

    Read More:

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

  34. No strip clubs at the Point, John, City’s already given its permission to raise cocks in backyards.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 4, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

  35. By the Time the City finishes…..They will only allow Cornish Game Cocks.

    I’m looking forward to the Fourth of July Parade this Year. This is only Rumor Though. Alameda Lampoon sometimes gets it wrong.

    The Grand Marshall is Going to be Our City Manager ” Hollerin Back Russo”

    He will be riding in JKW Bicycle Basket Wearing His Fireman’s Helmet and Wearing a Historic Liberace Cape with with the Transformers theme of Please Ride our Ferry carried by the League.

    Get your Seats Early.

    Comment by I’m loving this deal — June 4, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

  36. The sarcastic and silly proposals for the Point discussed above don’t really help. In fact they hurt because they make critics of the plan to build thousands of housing units out there appear not to be serious.

    Of all the reasons why the current housing-heavy plan is a reckless gamble, the most troubling seems to be the fact that, unless the regional governments want to pony up for a new crossing under the estuary, all those new Alameda residents would have to leave the island through a tube that merges down to one lane to reach a freeway. Additional bus lines going all across Alameda to Fruitvale might help a little bit, but that won’t come close to offsetting the impact on half of the island (or maybe the whole island when the tube traffic isn’t moving and everyone heads across town on surface streets and jams up the Park and Fruitvale bridges).

    Barbara K asks: “If the tube accommodated all those jobs before 1997, why can’t it accommodate it now?” Well, for one thing a large number of those former jobs were held by people who lived out there there, since it was a Naval Air Station. The number living and working there for private entities at Alameda Point would be much lower than in the old days. Also, most of the commuters in the old days were “reverse commute” folks. That wouldn’t be the case under the new plan unless the plans shifts dramatically towards much more commercial and industrial and recreational and open space and much less residential.

    Getting the land back from the Navy doesn’t mean it has to be used immediately in any particular way. Not using it, using it very slowly and using it much more for jobs than housing are all realistic possibilities.

    What is a realistic answer to the huge problem of one tube as the only way on and off the western half of the island? I still haven’t heard one.

    Comment by Loyal Opposition — June 5, 2013 @ 8:48 am

  37. 36
    I’ve said this before.
    They’re all over Asia too
    This ones in Singapore

    Nha Trang Vietnam

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 5, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  38. Jack, they once proposed building one of these at Alameda Point and people ridiculed the idea. The only things Alamedans tend to think make sense are paying public safety like medical doctors and low income housing up the wazoo.

    Comment by jsanders128 — June 5, 2013 @ 9:34 am

  39. As this Alameda Point process continues, I hope everyone remembers that the last time all of Alameda was able to speak about the future of Alameda Point, the response to a housing-heavy plan there was overwhelmingly “no thanks.”

    In February 2010, 85.4% of Alameda voted no to the plan to build thousands of housing units out there. Only 14.6% voted yes. Of course, some of the 85.4% of no voters were voting no specifically on slimy SunCal, but the Suncal factor was just one piece of that landslide vote against overbuilding on an island in a way that would be a reckless gamble with Alameda’s quality of life risking gridlock and many other negatives.

    In case anyone has forgotten (as some surely want us to), here are the results of that Measure B vote:

    There have been a couple of other recent blog postings about these issues. Here is one from today:

    Comment by Loyal Opposition — June 18, 2013 @ 7:20 am

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