Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 24, 2014

Alphabet city: EOC, TDM

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Public Resources, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Tonight the Planning Board will have two big things on its agenda.   The first is the EOC, which I am just kind of meh about.   My big issue about the EOC is that I feel like the project has been sprung on the community rather quickly.   I guess I feel like there is something missing in the process about the EOC, not about the design or the general purpose of an EOC, that I understand.   My issue with is the larger discussion about why there and why not, say closer to City Hall or out at Alameda Point.   I don’t know if this is supposed to be some building that only gets used in case of an emergency or if it has a larger public purpose in addition to its emergency capacity.  Anyway, it’s all just chugging ahead now so this musing is pretty pointless, but even after all the discussion about it at the Planning Board and at the City Council I’m still a little confused about how we got to this place without a serious discussion on what purpose the EOC will serve the larger community.

Anyway, that’s on the agenda, remember some of the concerns from the Planning Board had to do with the aesthetics of the building, particularly since its being placed in a largely residential neighborhood.  It’s looking very, um, municipal.

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.20.12 PM

Although I will say what I do like is the public plaza next to the proposed Fire Station, that is all kinds of cute:

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.22.21 PM

Next on the Planning Board’s agenda will be about the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan for Alameda Point, this will be Alameda first real TDM plan if and when the City Council adopts it.   Despite reports to the contrary, while Alameda did complete a draft plan, it was in fact never adopted by the City Council having been placed in limbo sometime in 2012 since it was supposed to go to the City Council and return back to the Planning Board for additional corrections after that.   Apparently it never made its way to the City Council and never returned back to the Planning Board for further study as this was the last official action taken on that TDM plan according to April 2012 minutes from the Planning Board:

Board member Knox White made the motion to send a report with Board member comments to City Council for acceptance, that the report come back to Planning Board for further refinement to develop policies that can be adopted as a plan for moving forward with TDM.

Board member Ezzy Ashcraft seconds the motion, Motion carries 6-0; no abstentions

I did confirm with Public Works that it still needed to hit those steps before being considered “in place.”   Anyway, I just wanted to point that out since a few months ago people were pointing to this report as proof that TDMs in Alameda wouldn’t hit the goals the City had for reduction in auto usage because this report said it could not.   Of course in that news story that quoted this particular draft plan there was some random factoid that kicked out the news that more people had cars than they had bikes, which I remember being a very weird point to make.   I thought maybe it had been in the conclusion of the draft plan which would then make it notable, I suppose, but it wasn’t there either.   It was in fact buried deep in the actual draft itself as part of a table that stated that 75% of respondents to some questionnaire said they had a bicycle at home.   The next line was that 93% said they had a car at home.   Now it’s true that 93% is greater than 75%, but 75% of households having a bicycle is nothing to sneeze at either.  Plus alternative modes of transportation does not automatically mean “bicycle” it can mean a bus or walking or telecommuting, whatever.   I think that when reporters immediately set up narratives such as that essentially pitting bicycles as the immediate alternative to cars it speaks to a bias that may not be overt, but should certainly be recognized.  Which just goes back to my periodic rantings of how no reporters or journalists are truly unbiased, as consumers of media we simply have to determine how much bias we are willing to accept and — I guess — some of us can fall into the trap of assuming that those news reports we agree with must be unbiased.  But I digress.

Anywho, this Alameda Point TDM tries to take everything that works about TDM programs elsewhere and incorporate it into this new neighborhood where essentially folks who come in to the neighborhood will have already bought in to the idea of TDM because it will have pre-existed their occupation of Alameda Point.


  1. The 1974 bicycle plan says that bicycle hownership was about 35% in 1974, apparently ownership has over doubled in the last 40 years.

    Comment by jkw — March 24, 2014 @ 7:51 am

  2. My question is who will pay for all this? I read in the Sun about the land swap…and the school district taking over the BOQ…it will cost more money to change the building then it is worth. My brother lived there for awhile they are like small dorm rooms and if I remember right they had shared bathrooms. Even if I was low income or a senor I would never want to live there. They should give people a tour of the inside before they make decisions…maybe they can jackhammer some of the cement wall out…re-plum the building…rewire it put in new windows…put in some elevators ect…kitchens…sewer lines…but the question I pose is would you move into that building…and again who is going to pay for it? ASD has no money. No developer will do it…they can make more money somewhere else. I am not willing to pay any more parcel taxes. The only thing historical about the building is the huge lawn and eagles placed it front…other than that it is just a box filled with dorm rooms.

    Comment by Joe — March 24, 2014 @ 7:55 am

  3. jkw, we have 2 bikes which we haven’t rode in 2 years. People have bikes that doesn’t mean they will use them. I paid $2,000 for these bikes and used them less then 20 times. They have flat tires and no one sells patches anymore. I am sure Alameda Bikes where I bought them does, but we really don’t shop on park st. Walmart, Target, CVS doesn’t have them.

    Comment by Joe — March 24, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  4. Sell the bikes, dine out at Spaghetti Factory with the proceeds.

    Comment by dave — March 24, 2014 @ 9:01 am

  5. The TDC reads like it was written by a troika of 1920’s Bolshevik commissars..

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  6. Make that TDM.

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  7. As a long time home owner and resident of Central Alameda, I support the construction of the new EOC and fire station on Grand Street and Buena Vista Avenue. This will be a welcome addition to this burgeoning neighborhood.

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 24, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  8. Dave why would we sell the bikes. We can eat at Spaghetti Factory without the proceeds…how about you?

    Comment by Joe — March 24, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  9. ” I guess I feel like there is something missing in the process about the EOC”. What is missing from the EOC discussion is its impact on the constitutional rights of local citizens. The Video Surveillance Monitors [for the cameras on Park, Webster, & to-be-installed Shoreline CycleTrack-its on the very last page 190 of the bidding document “Notice to Contractors”] will be housed there. But, other than Jack R & me, few people in Alameda seem to care about the over-reach of government.

    Bernice Wong, et al with blind faith in the beneficence of our government, I provide for your edification & viewing pleasure, this recent lecture at the Berkeley Forum:

    Comment by vigi — March 24, 2014 @ 10:34 am

  10. Vigi, I understand your concerns, but I am not a raving, paranoid, anti-government fanatic. Since, 9/11, U.S. citizens have agreed to sacrifice certain levels of privacy for the safety and security of the greater society. This is why we are screened before boarding a plane, videotaped when we shop at Target, and background checked before we work in an elementary school. It is not “blind faith in the beneficence of our government” that leads many of us to support the EOC and, by extension, the idea of video surveillance and license plate readers. It is the reality of the times. There are people in this world, and in our community, who intend to cause harm to persons and property. Our government has the tools to investigate, and possible prevent or mitigate, the harm to persons and property. Trust them to continue to ethically use these tools in a judicious manner and we’ll all sleep a little better at night.

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 24, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

  11. Possibly = possible

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 24, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  12. 10)
    ‘Trust them [Government] to continue to ethically use these tools in a judicious manner and we’ll all sleep a little better at night.”

    Translation: Trust the government at any level to pass laws and let bureaucrats write regulations that regulate every action and track every move each citizen takes from dawn to dawn and store that information in perpetuity just in case.

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

  13. Jack, that is a stretch and not a very accurate spin on my statement. I wish I had more time today to debate the merits of security surveillance. If you have an opportunity, please watch the 60 Minutes interview from yesterday evening on the Boston Marathon bombings and think about how that investigation would have progressed without the thousands of digital images from private and government cameras in place that tragic day. .


    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 24, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

  14. There’s nothing wrong with having an EOC as long there is a real need and not just another exercise in empire building. An EOC is just a central location where public safety, public works and other local officials can ride herd during a major emergency. It allows for efficient and effective communication, information gathering and dissemination and dispatch coordination between the various public work groups, other regional officials and any private contractors pressed into service. The EOC can also provide timely and coordinated information to the press and public.

    The EOC should be more or less centrally located, relatively easy to get to and visible to the public. It should be well designed, stocked and have the ability to sustain personnel for lengthy periods. That includes kitchen facilities, sleeping areas, storage areas and easy vehicle access as well as a modicum of security. Obviously it needs complex communications gear to perform its functions.

    A well designed EOC is a costly proposition but can be a real boon in an emergency if used properly. Consider that under present conditions, these functions are scattered all over to hell and gone making for a very potentially confused response to any major emergency. As long as it doesn’t become the repository of hidden agendas and ridiculous wish lists it can be a good asset to the city.

    The building itself can be used for a number of other functions including meetings, conferences, storage, etc. I’ve never heard of one being used to spy on the public but who knows?

    Comment by Lavage10 — March 24, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

  15. Bernice, well said!

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 24, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  16. I hate that everyone uses abbreviations on this site I have no idea what EOC or TMD is. I don’t log into this site everyday like some of you.

    Comment by Joe — March 24, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  17. EOC = Emergency Operations Center, TDM = Transportation Demand Management

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 24, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  18. While the interior use might seem to be strictly for the Incident Command, those tiny little streets around the EOC will be lined with Satellite Trucks and News Reporters – reporting live with the building in the background. The media has a right to be there, and cannot be kept away.

    Comment by Bart — March 24, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

  19. From “Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse [Heritage Foundation]:
    “No one knows how many regulations are subject to criminal enforcement. One expert, Professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School, has estimated that there are more than 300,000 separate federal regulations that might be the basis for a criminal prosecution.[10]

    It is, if anything, even more difficult to count all the state laws and regulations. There are 50 state jurisdictions, with thousands of laws and tens of thousands of regulations. On top of that are untold thousands of city and county ordinances, many of which impose jail time for violations.

    With the proliferation of criminal law, no American citizen can reasonably be expected to know all of the statutes that may apply. It may be that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but for virtually 100 percent of Americans, ignorance is the reality. As a result, according to Harvey Silverglate, a well-respected attorney and author, the average American may commit three felonies a day without even knowing it.[11]”

    So, Bernice & Karen, which felonies do you suppose you committed today?

    Comment by vigi — March 24, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

  20. LOL
    @Vigi, I am sure whatever “felonies” I committed on my short bicycle ride home to my little Island house will not be prosecuted by Nancy O’Malley or Melinda Haag. They have much bigger fish to fry. Also, haven’t you heard? Jerry Brown has no room in the freezer to store any more fish.

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 24, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

  21. Bernice Wong @13)
    I’m not talking about keeping track of some slimy Chechen jihadists who should have never been in the country in the first place. I’m talking about the arbitrary collection of video and audio by government officials, without probable cause, of regular law abiding citizens. You, like everybody else, has personal data intercepted by the data vacuum cleaners at NSA (and many other agencies) and then stored. That means every call you make, every mile you drive, every transaction you make is recorded and warehoused.

    The word put out by officials that the personal info will not be kept for over one year is pure baloney because all raw data is be stored and will be shared by federal regulation to any bureaucrat who decides to take action against you for any one of the three felonies you committed without even knowing you committed the day before yesterday.

    Back during the cold war we collected data surreptitiously from our potential enemies and foreign countries now the potential enemy is we-the-people.

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  22. I kept the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule today but I don’t know which are felonies or where.

    Comment by lavage10 — March 24, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

  23. Well, that all depends what you had your neighbor do to you.

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

  24. My neighbor minded his own business and I minded mine. The way it should be

    Comment by lavage10 — March 24, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

  25. for those of you who wear the famous “tin” hats, all I can say is Canada beckons.

    Comment by John.P ( the very trusting liberal) — March 24, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

  26. Tin Foil Hats Actually Make it Easier for the Government to Track Your Thoughts

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

  27. …..should they occur.

    Comment by Martin Mull — March 24, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

  28. Not you again

    Comment by Jack R — March 24, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  29. Dear Lauren,
    I wanted to thank you for using the term “largely residential neighborhood” in your blog to describe this area of Grand Street. I watched both of the Planning Board meetings on the topic of the new EOC. Dania Alvarez-Morroni referred to the neighborhood as “mixed use” several times as if it is a second class neighborhood. Last night, Board member Alvarez-Morroni described the characteristics of the neighborhood by drawing attention to the decaying auto repair shop on the corner of Grand and Buena Vista, the AMP building on the corner of Grand and Eagle, and the Pennzoil containers in the 1900 block of Grand. I agree with Board member Morroni that these locations on Grand Street are eyesores, but this neighborhood also takes pride in places like the Grand Marina and the adjacent playground / dog walk, the Grand Marina houses, and the Grand Market on Grand and Lincoln. I understand Board member Alvarez-Morroni was attempting to express her support for the second round design of the EOC. I have to commend her for her support. I think she was explaining to Board member Knox that no design is going to perfectly fit the landscape of upper Grand Street. I just wish she could find a better phrase than “mixed use.” It has a negative connotation and as a former real estate agent, she should understand the power of words. I see the 1800 block of Grand Street in a different way. It is coming to the end of an ugly transition into a pretty nice residential neighborhood. Let’s hope it continues to blossom with the support of the Planning Board and Zoning Administrator. New attractions such as the development of the Del Monte warehouse site, the relocation and development of the Chipman truck site, the relocation of the U-Haul truck site, and the removal of the rusty Pennzoil containers should attract more developers and businesses into the neighborhood.

    I also disagree with another statement made by a Board member last night. Pedestrians will not cross the street to walk on the other side of Grand to avoid the new EOC. We do now to avoid the U-Haul trucks and cracked sidewalk associated with the trucks!

    The current design of the new EOC will attract pedestrians and bicyclists, especially if a bike lane is extended further down Grand Street. It is not a pretty building, but an EOC does not need to be pretty.

    The speaker that made the presentation on solar panels made a very compelling argument and although I can’t afford them for my home, I thought it made good dollars and cents (sense) for the EOC (and most future city buildings).

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 25, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  30. Bernice,

    Just to clarify “Mixed Use” is not a bad word. It is used to describe land uses within a specific zone. If you look at that specific zone on Grand, there are a number of different land uses (Substation, Auto Body Shop, Residential, Industrial), thus the term mixed use.

    Also if you look at various land planning documents, you will see the term mixed use used often. For example, Alameda Point is a mixed use development

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 25, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  31. Thanks Karen for explaining. Just a bit sensitive about what I view as a history of neglect that has resulted in some very serious issues in the neighborhood. It looks like things are turning around now.

    Comment by Bernice Wong — March 25, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

  32. The speaker on the solar panels [plus battery], Jamie Fine, made excellent points & i don’t understand why he was blown off so fast by the Planning Board President. If any building should have an auxiliary solar power source available in case the grid goes down, it is only logical that it should be the Emergency Center on which the rest of the city will depend.

    Comment by vigi — March 25, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  33. Forget the solar panels. What an Emergency Operations Center needs is a big honkin’ diesel generator capable of powering all the considerable electrical needs of the building and equipment plus a 20% power reserve. It needs a robust Uninterruptable Power Supply system capable of powering the communications equipment for at least 48 hours in case the generator fails. It needs an underground fuel storage tank with at least 500 gallons minimum in it at all times.

    The standby power system needs to be adequately maintained and tested to insure it will work as needed when needed.

    An EOC is designed to be the nerve center for effective response by those responsible for public safety and recovery during a major catastrophe. It’s function isn’t to promote green energy, promote neighborhood renewal or promote alternate means of transportation. An EOC is costly enough without adding a bunch of useless expenses.

    Comment by Lavage10 — March 25, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

  34. Lavage10, how dare you use common sense on this blog.

    Comment by John P. — March 26, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  35. LOL! Maybe yes, maybe no. This town is plagued by amateur dabblers. However, on the other hand, it may be a total waste of public money to build an EOC for Alameda. I don’t really know that there is a level of competency by public officials required to actually honcho a major emergency. It boils down to this: Is there a meritocracy in this town regarding management level public employment or is the game to get Peter Principled up the ladder? Are the public safety, public works and elected officials who will be responsible for major emergency response good leaders with a solid grasp of the technical issues or are they a bunch of arm waivers prone to showboating?

    Alameda is an island and as such is more likely to suffer from a regional disaster. Alameda could be isolated and cutoff, dependent on outside sources for almost everything. An emergency response that devolves into a stupid turf war is gonna be bad news.

    On the bright side, I’m guessing that Alameda, like most other sizable towns in CA, has an extensive Emergency Response Master Plan in place that covers all the conceivable disaster scenarios, analyses the effects and sets out courses of action to be followed to aid suppression and recovery. If we have that and the local officials are trained and the plan is periodically reviewed and refreshed, then there’s a good chance, if they can work together without butting heads, that a solid EOC will be a good asset for the residents.

    Comment by Lavage10 — March 26, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

  36. I’m trying to remember all the emergencies Alameda has suffered through in the last fifty years that would have been mitigated had we had a solid EOC. But first, is this politically correctly built building going to be permanently staffed by a group of emergency experts or are all the emergency experts (fire, police, hospital, gadflies) going to leave their disaster proofed edifices and converge in the new EOC?

    Now let’s look at the history of disasters in this city that would warrant centralized guidance from above. Frankly there are a whole host of disasters that have historically caused mischief in this city. Let’s see, in no particular order, I can think of quite a few. Loud music from a concert at the coliseum, airplane dropping out of the sky, PGE gas surge, flooding at grand and shoreline, Republicans, Base closure, watermelon rinds and chicken bones at crown beach, Suncal, global warming, loss of Victorians, automobiles, the west end, racism in the east, stinky lagoon, Mt. Trashmore, to name a few. It’s high time we build.

    Comment by Jack R — March 26, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  37. The City of Alameda does in fact have an Emergency Response Master Plan located here:

    A section of the plan details the functions of the EOC, under what circumstances it will be activated, how it is to be staffed and what the responsibilities are.

    Alameda also has an earthquake vulnerability index of 36.08 compared to the CA average of 21.80. In the event of the Big One, Alameda is right up there in the destruction sweepstakes.

    Comment by Lavage10 — March 26, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

  38. Gosh Jack, you didn’t even mention Loma Prieta, which did crack up the NAS tarmac [& my house]. We got thru that quake without any help [or interest for that matter] from Alameda’s “First Responders”. They didn’t help during the PGE gasleak either, I recall chasing the PGE tech down Grand Street at midnight to make sure he didn’t forget to turn the gas back on at my house.
    Instead of a new building, which is only as helpful as the personnel in it, Alameda should require that ALL of its Fire & Police officers actually live in the city they protect & serve, so they would have more of a vested interest in doing so. I am tired of Alameda police who say they don’t know what’s going on in Alameda because they live in Brentwood. Or Danville. Or San Ramon. Or Pleasant Hill….

    Comment by vigi — March 27, 2014 @ 9:50 am

  39. That’s a good point, vigi, what good are 1st responders if they’re last on the freeway trying to get here. Does anybody know if this building will be continually (wo)maned by someone with a staff and a degree in disasters? Or will it just be an adjunct storage (and party) building for the new fire station adjacent to it?

    Re. previous disasters, I know I left out the pissy little temblors plus a lot of other big disasters like police chatting extemporaneously on their squad car radios and of course, Zack but there’s been so many disasters for such a small town so building this new disaster center is long overdue.

    Comment by Jack R — March 27, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  40. Wonder if this qualifies as a disaster in S F. Or is it SOP.

    Re: Yee’s political advisor: “In 1997, The Chronicle revealed that Jackson owed more than $5,000 in child-support payments and that the courts were garnisheeing his wages. In an odd twist, Jackson blamed his child-support troubles on being fired from a job he’d held for just four days – as an investigator tracking down deadbeat dads for the San Francisco district attorney.”

    Comment by Jack R — March 27, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

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