Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 25, 2014

Blame Canada

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I think that the idea that providing parking for residential developments somehow decrease the affordability of housing is difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.  After all we’ve been so conditioned to believe that parking is free because it’s always come subsidized by housing developers, the city or businesses we frequent.   I’ve been tracking discussion about the Del Monte project because the whole thing is really interesting to me.  The vitriol that was misdirected at proponents of the project was simply breathtaking and a long admired community member was ripped to pieces for speaking out in favor of the project.

It’s that reason why most people simply don’t even want to bother to be “in support” of anything that could be remotely controversial, since they might end up being on the receiving end of some nasty comments.

But anyway, back to why parking requirements affect affordability.  Even though some opponents believe that these developers and supporters are experimenting untried and untested programs on Alameda, everything proposed for the Transportation Demand Management plan has proven results.   Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute released a paper in June of this year on this very topic.

From the paper:

Requiring one off-street parking space adds about 6% to the unit cost, two spaces add about 16%, and 3 spaces adds about 34% compared with no parking. These percentages vary depending on construction and land costs.

This shows that generous minimum parking requirements significantly increase housing costs, especially when land prices are high and housing construction costs are relatively low, such as affordable, urban infill housing. Based on typical affordable urban housing development costs, one parking space per unit increases total development costs by about 12.5%, and two parking spaces increase costs by about 25%.

Parking requirements reduce developers’ profits per acre, as illustrated in Figure 12. In this case, a developer is equally rewarded for producing 10 high priced housing units with 3 parking spaces per unit or 20 affordable housing units with no parking spaces, but has 30% less profit for lower priced housing with 3 parking spaces. Parking requirements reduce developers’ incentive to produce affordable housing.


Who is disadvantaged most by generous parking requirements? Since they are based on average parking demand they represent approximately what middle income, able-bodied households would choose. Various groups tend to own fewer than average automobiles, value the potential savings that result from reduced parking requirements, and live in higher-density, multi-family housing, including low-income households, young adults, single parents, first time home buyers, older people, and people with disabilities.

Lower income households are directly harmed by generous off-street parking requirements, since they tend to own fewer vehicles and pay more for parking as a percentage of housing costs. For example, the $100 per month direct cost of two parking spaces represents only
5% of a $2,000 per month luxury condominium rent, but 20% of the $500 per month rent
of a basic apartment. Poor households also spend a greater share of their income on
housing than wealthier households

Dense development has a bad reputation, so some reductions in density caused by increased parking requirements could be considered an benefit to poor households. But an amenity that consumers only buy due to an external requirement is seldom a true benefit. In practice, paved surfaces, such as parking lots, provide few of the amenities that make lower densities desirable, such as privacy, noise reduction, aesthetics and access to greenspace. Thus, increased parking results in the worst of all worlds: lower density, automobile oriented communities with degraded environments.

What solutions are proposed to deal with lower affordability due to parking requirements?

  1. More accurate and flexible minimum parking requirements (Del Monte is doing this)
  2. Shared parking (Del Monte is doing this)
  3. Unbundling (Del Monte is doing this)
  4. Location efficient development (while the Del Monte project and Alameda in general is not necessarily served by world class transit, it’s a lot easier to get places using alternate modes of transportation in Alameda than it is in say, Pleasanton)
  5. Carsharing (Del Monte is doing this)
  6. Carfree planning
  7. Overflow parking (unsure if developers are doing this, but has been suggested for occasional parking demand spikes like parties)
  8. Transportation Management Associations (Del Monte is doing this)

Overall it’s a great report for anyone interested or especially skeptical about how parking affects housing affordability.


  1. Lauren, you live in a considerably less dense dense neighborhood than the one that Del Monte project will create, a neighborhood with 2-3 contemporary sized garage spaces per house. Walls and other borders offer significant protection for the street parking in your neighborhood, such that you, and Bayport in general, will likely NEVER be faced with the wholesale change that is planned for the Del Monte area.

    There’s a word for people who preach others to do live a certain way, while not doing so themselves. You’ll find it in the dictionary towards the back of the H section.

    Comment by dave — September 25, 2014 @ 6:55 am

  2. Change is always difficult in the beginning, but my guess is that once the $100 million dollar investment in the historical Del Monte landmark, and the construction of the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, the Cross Alameda Trail, and the Clement Extention is complete we will all look back and see what a great asset this development is to the West End.

    The Northern Waterfront is coming alive, thanks to this project!

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 25, 2014 @ 7:51 am

  3. dave: I think I’ve answered this rhetorical question you have posed many many times. I believe in allowing people to make a choice. I don’t ask anyone to live the way that I do. I believe in giving families and individuals options to choose the type of housing they want to live in. Right now, we only build housing one way, unfortunately, one size does not fit all.

    There’s also a word for people who expect people to act and live exactly the way that they do and expect people to conform their lives to meet other people’s expectations.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 25, 2014 @ 8:25 am

  4. Something to make light about parking These 24 people parked like jerks, but got a swift dose of beautiful karma

    And what SF is doing Maybe the should have more car share spaces. My friend who posted this doesn’t have a car and uses car share all the time.

    Comment by Joseph — September 25, 2014 @ 8:28 am

  5. Gridlock for blocks in West End on everything heading into the tube this morning.

    Comment by Coming Soon to a Theater Near You — September 25, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  6. Yes, because there was an accident right near the freeway on ramp because people apparently can’t drive in the rain.

    But of course, we should only have enough housing to make sure that in the worst case scenarios: natural disasters, traffic accidents, bad weather people can drive on and off the island at top speeds.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 25, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  7. 3
    Your “pro-choice” stance might have some merit, if it respected other choices as well. You blithely ignore the effects of said choice on existing residents’ quality of life. Their choice to live how they see fit is apparently less important than your choice to advocate density (for others, not yourself).

    Comment by dave — September 25, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  8. Or alternately nothing could happen at Del Monte and it could continue to be a warehouse for trucks to drive by daily for drop-offs. Either way, nothing that happens at Del Monte affects me personally.

    As I’ve written about multiple times, all of the ideas of low impact, no impact developments have been floated before for Del Monte and none have been successful. This one project is offering to rehabilitate a beloved historic resource and are trying to mitigate potential traffic issues through various best practices that have worked successfully in many other communities. And yes, they want to make money while doing it, I don’t see that as a bad thing, they aren’t a charitable enterprise. People can choose to say, “I don’t think this will work” but what posts like these are offering is the data that shows why these things work and how they support people’s arguments who say things like “unbundling of parking helps affordability of housing.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 25, 2014 @ 9:12 am

  9. O.K. my simple mind works like this, I’m with Nick, Karen, Lauren, and the majority of people in Alameda who want the city to move forward. Dave I remember arguing with you about the Alameda Theater. There it stands today and again the majority of people love it. You can go on and on about what a terrible deal it is for us, but its what we want. The Del Monte project will be built and some people will hate it. However just like always the majority will prevail. so on and on we go.

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  10. Did we actually “argue” about the theater, John? I recall stating, and proving, what a financial disaster it was/is for taxpayers. I don’t recall you ever arguing that point. (Probably because it’s not arguable.)

    Comment by dave — September 25, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  11. Kind of interesting if not funny , Lauren how would you feel if every neighbor in your semi gated walled in community
    {wonder what the developers were afraid off , most of us feel pretty safe without a fence in the entire City …..Oh but we have Cops that enforce the laws }
    How about should every one in Bayport was adding a second residence to their house ? aka double the density be interesting wouldn’t it …..then you might have an entire different feeling toward similar project at Del Monte.
    I do not understand why they did not build affordable housing there ? what’s wrong not in my neighborhood !…….
    Instead we are going to park them in a warehouse , by the way since it has been used for industrial purpose did anyone check for contamination in the floor ,ground , in the wall , Forget it it’s affordable housing…….we have the Alameda Hospital to keep afloat .

    As neighbor I would be so mad I would make sure that none of the so called leader get out of office.
    I find interesting your association of being a home owner and being selfish and entitled to , as for example your total lack of reasoning when Trish Spencer was asking the hard question with an out of control the school district ,
    yet endorse without a second thought Chen which has been convicted of defrauding the entire State for personal profit , {it does not take a degree in law to know when you plead guilty this mean you agree with the charges}
    the same one said in his campaign we must not over built , working together for a better City ..

    The Del Monte plant is an industrial area , Then why not using it for this purpose , No instead we are going to built on the former navy base at cost .?? Why when you already have a structure.
    Never mind what the residents think of it we are developers we know how to make money , screw their quality of life , it is pretty much what is happening ….
    Most of peoples in favor of imposing this project are from San Francisco , Hey may I ask ?why did you leave ? lack of parking space , expensive parking tickets , buses which sometimes stop an erratic J line , if the San Francisco model is so good , you need to go back there I left it 30 years ago and miss absolutely nothing , all but my Dentist which has now open an office in the East Bay {which He found to be more lucrative}

    Kind a fed up here with the so call affordable housing and various measure in which the tenants pay little or no rent , sometimes in multiples places sub renting to other ….One of these Bird was driving , Mercedes SUV , Bmw had an 80″ flat screen TV ,”His Landlord {the criminal} always said I wish I could enjoy this lifestyle , I simply can’t.
    I worked to own my house , I did not steal; it , I did not impose it on my neighbors ,I do not have cars all over the place

    Comment by joel rambaud — September 25, 2014 @ 10:10 am

  12. #9. “Majority”? How do you know what the majority wants? The majority of people living in Alameda have no idea what’s going on until it’s done. They sometimes show up at a city meeting complaining after the fact. At this week’s Planning Board meeting, there was yet another person getting up to say this was the first she had heard of the DelMonte project details. This is partly due to the City’s idiotic policy of limiting “Public Notice” to 300 feet from whatever is happening next. According to my Google search, 300 feet is about half a city block [in LA]. Alamedans affected by the Del Monte project will asked to walk much farther than that between their house and cars.

    Furthermore, the $350 mandatory TDM surcharge, which will rise annually, is greater than the now-largest line item on my property tax bill [the Keep-Alameda-Hospital-Open-Even-Though-It’s-Part-of-Highland-Now Fee]. I don’t think the “majority” is even aware of that yet.

    Karen, Lauren, & John P. do not live anywhere near the Del Monte. I live on Grand before the first light. Every day, a bumper to bumper stream of traffic parades past my door, patiently waiting out the lights at Encinal, Central, Santa Clara, Lincoln, Buena Vista; until turning left onto one-lane-in-each-direction BV, past the Del Monte to Sherman to exit the island. I take this route myself and have since I commuted to Berkeley in the 1970’s. I have rarely been stuck behind a semi-truck. but I shudder to think of this route, with busses thruout the day, after the Del Monte is built, with its questionable TDM.

    The problem with imposing what has “worked in other communities” on Alameda is just that: Those are “other communities”. The people who already live in a community like Alameda are the best judge of what will work there. And they have by no means weighed in yet.

    Comment by vigi — September 25, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  13. Vigi, in the seventies, Matson terminals was still operating, also there was container storage on that site. How did you get down B.V. without seeing trucks.?? My friend Nick lives right there and he loves this project. Oh I think they have weighed in you just happen to disagree with them.

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  14. I really like your analysis and writing Lauren, though I think you might be misusing the expression “proven results”.

    Also as someone born and raised in Victoria, BC, Canada. The layout and scale are not comparable.

    I do think the solutions you present seem appropriate here.

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — September 25, 2014 @ 11:22 am

  15. Joel R. post #11 the developer had no choice in the matter of the sound wall, it was required. Bayport was built with affordable housing integrated into the neighborhoods. Joel,, spell check.

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 11:26 am

  16. Lloyd: The Litman paper was not based solely on data from Canada, rather it reference projects from Canada and from the US to compile all the findings.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 25, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  17. The paper is does interpret the data and the possible in the context of Victoria.

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — September 25, 2014 @ 11:34 am

  18. How do you justify calling these “proven results”? Are there specific solutions that you feel are better proven then others? I really like the paper and your presentation as it helps me understand the *problems*, but the elephant in the room is access to and from the island.

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — September 25, 2014 @ 11:37 am

  19. Unbundling parking, carsharing requirements, TMAs…these are all tools that have worked in many other locations to do two primary things (1) reduce overall affordability of units and/or (2) reduce the number of vehicles per household. Number one is good for obvious reasons. It would be a benefit for Alameda to have units, not necessarily subsidized units, that are affordable for wider net of individuals and families. Lots of studies, some from downtown LA of all places, that show how that has happened.

    Number two is the idea that if families have less cars they drive less or use alternate methods for trips that people would traditionally take a car for. The census tract for the Del Monte neighborhood has a car ownership rate of only 1.6 vehicles per household, which is the average for Alameda as an island. Our rates of public transportation usage are fairly high considering that public transportation on the Island is not optimal. Access on and off the island will always be at the mercy of the City of Oakland or the whims of whatever freeway we are trying to get to. Even with zero development, traffic will increase. The question is, do we want housing developments — because housing development will happen whether people agree or disagree — that use best practices to reduce the traffic impact or do we want to dictate the number of units and the number of parking spaces required simply because it “feels” right?

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 25, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  20. #1

    Comment by ajryan — September 25, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  21. Joel you must not have been here long. The wall along Bayport is a sound wall so that people can drive down Appezzato at 45mph, otherwise it most likely would be 25mph. BTW Summer House Apartments is a gated community. There is Affordable housing all through Bayport the huge ones on most of the corners are actually multi affordable housing. I support Marie Gilmore and not Chen. I use to go by Joe, and then Joel, but now by Joseph because for the most part I don’t want people to think you are me. Oh I just read Johns comments which is basically the same as the first part of mine.

    Virgi, I noticed the parcel tax on our tax bill for the hospital and I would be all for it closing. What is sad it Doctors hospital will probably close because the will run out of money the 1st quarter of next year and it serves a poor community. Read the article in the SF Business Times.

    Lloyd I lived in Seattle when Hong Kong was going to be turned over to China, and I remember all the new high rise condos being built in Vancouver because of the mass exit from Hong Kong…I don’t know if it affected Victoria, BC, Canada as well. I just remember it took forever to get from one area to another because the streets were not built for the influx at that time, but this is something they are planning for in Alameda.

    Comment by Joseph — September 25, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

  22. John P. : I didn’t say I didn’t SEE trucks. They just don’t block traffic on BV very often. On the other hand, I once had the right side of my car bashed in by an Eagle St. resident swinging wide right to make a left turn from Sherman onto Eagle without signaling [and texting while driving].

    People who like this project are entitled to their opinion. BTW, I have never understood why Nick Cabral calls himself the “Mayor of the West End”, when he doesn’t live there. When some jerk realtor approaches me about selling my home, I sometimes call myself the “Mayor of Grand Street”, , but at least I live on it.

    Comment by vigi — September 25, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

  23. Nick Cabral dose not call himself the “Mayor of the West End”, some one started calling him that and it stuck.
    who made you the Mayor of Grand st.??

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  24. [sigh] I think you need new glasses, JP.

    Comment by vigi — September 25, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

  25. and a new life.

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

  26. vigi, as a pedantic know-it-all whose family has been here since 1066, you should realize it’s Eagle Avenue, not Street.

    Comment by BC — September 25, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

  27. John P. I think this blog attracts a lot of us who could use a new life, or aspects there of. I have time this afternoon because semi-gloss enamel is so unforgiving and my eyes are so bad that I will have to spackle plaster defects between top coats of paint. So while the first coat dries I can pontificate. Maybe Lauren is totally full of B.S. but what would the people who want to impose all these rules of who is qualified to opine on a given topic do if she didn’t have this blog in the first place? Hey Lauren, you live in a gated community, shut the F up! Personally, I think it is great for her to do the real work of providing research ( selective or not) so there can be substantive discussion. Otherwise we would be swapping nothing but personal anecdotes which is still what dominates comments. People who don’t like it can do their own damn homework. I got a kick out of timing my drive down Encinal yesterday. Especially since it vindicated my gut impressions.

    Comment by MI — September 25, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

  28. Mark, you and I are old snarky liberals, Lauren will someday become one when she can no longer blog. however at this point she is the “bomb”. Dave, Jack, Vigi, and all of the Joe’s, Joel s, and Josephs, Denise’s,Karens,”not a Daves”, and on and on will always want to debate argue or just call each other out on this site because we can do it and still come back the next day to do it again. Lauren what would we do without you.

    I guess just go out on the corner and scream at each other.

    Mark, I’m still waiting for Dave to give me instructions on timing my drive from East to West.

    Comment by John P. — September 25, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

  29. Use a clock.

    Comment by dave — September 25, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  30. #28 I had a get together for people on here once at my house and about 5 or 6 showed up. It was sort of fun to meet a few of the people. I don’t remember the guy who co-hosted the thing with me but he was good at the blender. BTW I once was very snaky conservative republican when I was young and then I ask myself why and now tend to be just the opposite.

    Comment by Joseph — September 25, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

  31. John sorry no spell chech here nor grammar either ,straight shooter , no pompous political statement either .

    Ajryan , only been in Alameda for 30 years , huuowever an old relative was here in the 1800…..look it over at the comfy archives.
    Quite frankly being a newbie or oldie has no relevance , I am talking on what will have. a permanent irreversible effect on the City
    As far as the 45 mph , once all the de opera have finished , you are looking at a conservative 5000 new building ,there will no need for speed limit ,simply don’t forget to pack your lunch ……they camped on Webster and the freeway when the base was open , you will grow root in your car or bus

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — September 25, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

  32. Since the “vitriol” link goes straight to my post, I am copying the salient part of it below. But first, let me add some, um.. what do you call them? Facts! Right. PLAN! Alameda is asking for 1:1 parking space:housing unit. 309 parking spaces are being built inside Del Monte; enough for 1 for each resident. More spaces are being built outside, on-site. Each unit will have the right to “control” (buy 1, lease 1 more under current plan) 2 spaces, max. If a home owner wants to add a legal rental unit to their property, they must provide spaces (2 or 3, per unit; can’t remember). So, a small, would-be landlord can only provide a housing unit if they undertake the cost of adding the required spaces. Yes – that would drive up the housing cost. But – with Del Monte- the spaces are being built anyway. So there is no money to be saved. In fact, the business model counts on each housing unit buying a space. If the “car-free” vision comes true, the developer loses almost $800,000.00 in building costs for those spaces (not that I think the $25k/space for building is necessarily true. It’s an average that most likely doesn’t apply here). But I digress…

    The “things change” mantra has popped up 3 times this week; all from people who think that the neighbors are a bunch of anachronistic idiots. Someone is doing a good job with the messaging. Asking that the 1 space which the developer is building anyway be rolled into the cost of the unit, knowing that the current Alameda code calls for much more parking for any other landlord/developer is, I dunno, accepting change? As for the “vitriol” and disrespect, a handful of us have spent the last several months meeting with the TLC project manager (Mike) and Andrew (City Planning). Affordable housing? You are welcome. TLC’s original development obligation for Clement was limited to the boundaries of their property. There was still going to be that annoying little dingleberry of Wind River property keeping Clement from going thru to Atlantic. TLC is now going to build Clement through to Atlantic, give the resulting street back to the City in exchange for access to the small parcel of land at the corner of BV & Sherman, which will allow space for the required 55 units of low income housing to be built. As for “evidence that this sort of TDM works? Nope. None for a city like Alameda. All the example cited have direct access to mass transit, without needing to take a shuttle (which runs only during commuting hours) to get to that mass transit. Everyone agrees that residents of Del Monte are going to have one car. The idea is to incentivize them to not get that second car. And that whopping $350/year annual pass? Grab your calculator & Google some transit costs & let me know how you think that deficit will be covered.

    Good Lord. Why is it that anyone who supports a project but has the nerve to want to see modifications suddenly get labeled “opposition?” As for disrespect & the kindly old pillar of the community? His Honor was sitting behind the developer reps, sneering, rolling his eyes & making stage-whispered remarks about the people who were not in 100% agreement with the project as-is.

    ******************** The “vitriol” from the PLAN! Alameda Facebook group page (for your convenience)***********

    I’m not particularly interested in the politics of the Del Monte development: I’m concerned about the very real impact that this immediate neighborhood will suffer if we don’t put some basic mitigation measures in place. Most of the neighbors feel this way (and we’ve been out & about talking & compiling opinions so we are pretty confident when we say this).
    I’ve grown a lot more cynical in my old age – sometimes you can wage war, sometimes you target a particular battle and other times you go straight to negotiation when there is a specific objective and opportunity for a resolution.
    Del Monte is that last one. Do we want fewer units? Sure we do. Does everyone in PLAN! agree on how hard a line to take on that? No. What is the issue (re: Del Monte) that everyone in the neighborhood (who doesn’t see this as a zero-sum game) agrees on? Parking and traffic. So guess what we’ve been working on with the City & TLC all summer?
    For those folks who showed up & made comments (at the podium or from their seats) that seemed to reflect disregard for the neighbors (and for some, their neighbors) or our right to have any disagreement with elements of the plan at all, shame on them.
    The strong current swirling around development & density in this city is not going to go away. Even the most ardent supporters of development have expressed concerns about some of the less-clear components (securing the right transportation & paying for it). The rational scientist in me looks at some of the problem areas/unknowns and asks “why is a back-up plan so controversial?” If there is any chance for the City & developer to influence public opinion on how the community can be involved in dialogues about development, this is it. / credentials can be used.

    Comment by Alison Greene — September 25, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  33. #32 – I’m glad to hear that you are working with the developer and Andrew Thomas to make some of the changes you would like to see – but when I read the many negative comments on Facebook about Mr. Cabral I immediately lost interest in the posts.

    Mr. Cabral is a respected citizen of this City that has lived in Alameda for over 40 years. He like many of us is passionate about his views and he has the right to be excited about the development of this project. His sneering (if this is true) is no different than the cheering and sneering I heard at the planning board meeting – but I understand that people are passionate about their views.

    My comment about change had much to do about remembering when the “Baby Boomers” term was created and well – now look at us. Food, fashion, retirement programs and housing developments were all developed for the Baby Boomers. And now I believe it time we embrace the next generation who obviously have different practices than we do, including transit. The more we can learn about this group, the better we will understand new development trends.

    And finally, if there was a $100 million dollar landmark restoration project happening in my neighborhood, and the construction of the Jean Sweeney Open Space and the Cross Alameda Trail – all which will directly affect the value of my property, my neighborhood, and the entire West End – I would cheer the developer on!

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 25, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

  34. Allison: The link to your original post — which as you noted had been modified per the advice of other Alameda Peeps members — was for ease to cover the comments below yours. I know that you recognize that those comments were not overly complimentary of Nick Cabral.

    Additionally, I know you’ve touched on affordable housing and the need for it. Unbundling parking is a tool to help lower the cost of individual units to the buyer because there is no need to pass on the construction/land cost to the resident without a wholesale subsidization that we see with projects like Shinsei Garden or Breakers at Bayport. So your insistence on removing that tool for affordability and traffic mitigation without a reason why other than “they’ll park in our neighborhood” puzzles me.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 26, 2014 @ 5:45 am

  35. 11, 15: The sound wall along Ralph Appezzato Parkway west of the College of Alameda was ONLY required because of the higher 35 MPH speed limit on Appezzato: had the speed limit remained at 25 MPH, no should wall would have been required because the traffic noise at 25 MPH is so much less.

    As to the rest of these anti-development comments–jeez, how NIMBY and self-centered can we be?

    Many Alamedans own 2-3 cars per household or more, just like many Americans. Owning–and driving–so many cars produces about half of the USA’s carbon emissions, locally and nationally. If we want the weather on our one and only planet to remain relatively close to what we have now–including the much-loved climate here in Alameda–we all need to stop driving so much in such big gas hogs. (Many people living on Sherman Avenue own 2-3 cars per household and park their cars on the streets, taking up publicly-funded space. But these residents are complaining about other people who will do LESS to clog up the streets and parking than these “natives” already do.)

    OUR lazy insistence on driving single-occupancy vehicles all the time is what clogs up the streets, freeways, and the tubes: “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    The DelMonte development is moving incrementally–in a very small way–in the direction we all need to go. Climate change is here, now. If you believe it is human-causesd–which is a matter of scientific fact, not faith or choice–then you should support enlightened developments like the Del Monte–and stop driving so much. Sell your extra cars. Ride a bike, walk, and take the bus instead.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 26, 2014 @ 8:22 am

  36. I think the NIMBY term gets misused here a lot. What it was originally coined for was projects that people support in general, but which they want in their general vicinity, like prisons and sewage treatment plants. One who opposes high-density housing on a island because the geography may simply be unable to support it, doesn’t seem to warrant that label.

    Many Alamedans feel that the island should be exempt from the density requirements that seem to be driving some of these projects because they don’t believe its access limitations cannot be overcome in any practical way for the foreseeable future.

    Are the steps that are being taken at Del Monte going to improve the outlook for traffic impact? Absolutely. The question is, how well will they work? There is quite a spectrum between “okay” and “awful” to work with here. Isn’t it reasonable to do what we can to get as close to “okay” as we can?

    Once again, I’m not saying it’s impossible that they will work out to most folks’ satisfaction, but rubber stamping whatever the developer wants to do would be irresponsible. If you don’t believe me, I’ll be happy to share photos of what happens when nobody says, “Now, wait a minute…” There is ample evidence of in places that mushroomed prior to the expansion of building restrictions by local governments, and it ain’t pretty.

    The Del Monte project is a great solution for a site that has been a problem for so long. That said, everything that can reasonably be done to ensure its success, including tweeks to the developer’s parking plan, is a win/win for everybody. Nobody’s waving “Ban the Del Monte Project” signs as far as I can tell. It looks to me as if most of the supposed “opposition” is just asking for an alteration to the plan, not its elimination. Why all the push back on what is really just an attempt to make a good idea better for everybody?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 26, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  37. Sorry… “but which they DON’T want in their general vicinity.”

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 26, 2014 @ 10:33 am

  38. Allison, you also called people with different views shills. Did you delete that?f

    Comment by BC — September 26, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  39. Lauren – there is no money to be saved & passed along to Del Monte residents because the parking spots are going to be built anyway. In this scenario, a complex buy/lease/buy-back scheme will add to the developer’s administrative costs & be passed along. If a spot (priced at $25k to build) isn’t sold, then the developer is going to “eat” that cost (which we know won’t happen). And, all parking spots are priced equally. Even tho the $30k can be rolled into the cost of a mortgage, that extra $30k comes out to a couple of dollars extra a month (if you approach affordability from a payment perspective rather than a cost perspective). One could assume that an extra $30k for a 2- or 3-bedroom unit is not such a big deal. OTOH, someone buying a studio is probably counting dollars (otherwise might want a 1-bedroom) and that $30k is a big deal. And, for $30k, a resident who buys an indoor spot is going to want it as near to their unit as possible. Which means creating sections (Del Monte is a big building). If the closest available parking spot for purchase is near, say, the equivalent of BV & Benton and the buyer is looking at a larger unit near the corner of Entrance & Clement, it’s going to be closer for them to park on Clement. Without reserving certain parking spot section inside the building for certain housing units, the odds of street parking go up. The spots are being built. The studio units will likely have a reduced price & the larger units are going to be raised to make up for it. Much simpler to face reality, uncomplicated things and include the indoor spaces with the units. There are more than 100 others on-site, outside that can be leased. Those are what should dissuade people from that second car.

    The most important thing to remember is that, looking at the scope of the project, demographics & number of years it will take for a “full” car-free existence to be a reality for the Northern Waterfront (and this is the thinking from City, developer and the City’s own transportation expert – who calls the TDM a good foundation but not a silver bullet- not just us). Going down to 1:1 is a big, interim step. The whole “complete unbundling” design was done for Alameda Point (which theoretically has the capacity to include all the elements necessary for a full TOD and could have residents without cars). It can’t reasonably be slapped onto the Northern Waterfront, which will never have the TOD elements critical to forgo cars for the majority of residents.

    Jon – one might argue that imposing one’s own physical capacity & lifestyle onto others and calling them “NIMBY” for it is rather self-centered.

    One of the arguments for Del Monte (and, indeed, embedded into the design) is the age-in-place feature of the units. All older people who are limited to how far they can walk/bike/carry are not “car free.” Even if they are, they have people who come to help them, take them shopping, etc. Anyone who has ever been the caregiver to a parent, for example, can imagine the extra joy of driving around, looking for parking, walking to their parent’s home, helping that parent get to the elevator & down to the door, trudging back to their car, picking up the parent, going off on the errand & returning home, doing the same thing in reverse, but having added in the 6 bags of groceries that need to get to the condo. “Accessible units” extends to more than just curb cuts, grab rails and wide doorways.

    Comment by Alison Greene — September 26, 2014 @ 10:41 am

  40. 32. I’ve made the point a time or two that “transit corridor” can not be applied to Alameda because BART doesn’t run here, thought a half hour bus trip will get you to Fruitvale. We ARE unique, but the insistence that no models are valid unless they precisely correlate to Alameda is also an exercise in futility. But people do it constantly.

    Comment by MI — September 26, 2014 @ 11:06 am

  41. I drafted a long winded comment last night which I scrapped, but here are two edits on Lauren’s 9/25 post.
    1)I would tend to not go speak pro or con on a project which does not directly effect me unless the impacts were really epic in some way, but I don’t think one needs to have direct stake to have a position or talk about it.
    2)I’m anxious that the cumulative impact of traffic from 4 new developments on North side plus the Point could reach some sort of tipping point, but not this project alone and not parking.

    as an after thought, when our son was in AA Little League over a decade ago, Little John was regularly mobbed with cars for our games and practices. I believe it is now girls soft ball. Curious how long Alison has lived near there and if she has any comments on that.

    Comment by MI — September 26, 2014 @ 11:17 am

  42. It’s not so much that NO model can work, it’s more that the models typically presented here are not credible given our constraints. This skepticism is magnified by the condescension directed at people who are concerned about upheaval in their neighborhoods.

    Comment by dave — September 26, 2014 @ 11:18 am

  43. Allison: the report I posted to contradicts your statements, do you have a report to point to that supports your theories?

    The unbundling of parking is to allow residents who choose to live there to make a choice whether they want to lease/purchase(whichever model is being used for the development) parking. A hypothetical unit studio that may be priced at $100,000 (yes I know that is low) could be then priced at $130,000 if the parking is “bundled” in. There is no choice for that resident to say “hey I don’t want that parking space because I don’t have a car/will take a risk with street parking/know how to fly.” The theory around unbundling is to allow people to make the decision without being forced to accept a space and then saying, well I pay for it anyway so I might as well use it.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 26, 2014 @ 11:37 am

  44. #35 Jon you posted a few months back how you drive and pickup your wife each day at Amtrak Station in JLS. That is four unnecessary trips through the Tube each day,

    Comment by frank M — September 26, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  45. Hear, Hear, Alison! Thanks for blogging here. So many of us who will be affected by this project are not on Facebook.

    Public transit also tends to go on strike and disrupt service far more often than my car breaks down. [isn’t the GG Ferry on strike today?].

    As a legitimately physically disabled person, I am annoyed that Jon Spangler just stood up in a Transportation Commission meeting and purported to speak for the disabled regarding the CrossAlameda Trail…then he makes a statement like the one above. You can’t have it both ways, Jon.

    The concepts of “aging in place” and “forcing people out of their cars” are at loggerheads. The ADA is Federal law. If this project is built as it is now designed, it may be a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Comment by vigi — September 26, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

  46. my mother-in-law passed away last year at age 85. She had arthritis and had both knees and hips replaced and had shoulder pain which when she fell out of bed meant she had a hell of a time getting up, if she fell in the water she would sink like a rock for all the metal in body. But for most of last ten years and all the way to the end she roared around like a bat out of hell on her electric scooter, which by the way because of ADA airlines have to ship for free, so I had to pick it up a time or two in my truck when she visited. She lived in a building with an elevator and the walls of the hallway on her floor were scuffed from her scooter, but she was indomitable. She lived in Center City Philadelphia which has cub cuts but also a lot of hazards for small wheel scooters like cobble stones around where she lived. She had a range of a mile or so and until she stopped driving a couple years ago she had a used van with rattle trap lift gate. Not all disability is the same nor people’s will to cope. These remarks are in response to last paragraph of 39 and also 45.

    Comment by MI — September 26, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  47. #45 – Vigi, the housing portion of this project, which isn’t a public accommodation and doesn’t receive state or federal funding, is not subject to the ADA. It is, however, subject to Chapter 11a of the California Building Code (state accessibility code) and it will have to be in compliance with that code in order to receive a building permit. The commercial portions of the project, being public accommodations, are subject to the ADA and will need to be in compliance.

    Comment by david burton — September 26, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

  48. As an aside, I posted about affordable housing and the aging population today with a link to a study from Harvard about what can and should be done for this population. One of the recommendations was to promote alternatives to automobile travel.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 26, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  49. Alison, you continue to try and claim that what is being built is a car-free environment, or that the goal of the project is “car-free living” and yet that’s not something that anyone is proposing. Building straw men arguments like that, so that you can then try and turn the comments of the transportation consultants around is disingenuous at best, especially when despite what you write, the consultant said the opposite of what you wrote; that there are many examples of TDM programs in a variety of locations that show that developments that provide less than 2 car spaces per unit and increase the transportation options have been shown to work, even in places with little or no parking. You can continue to attempt to diminish the points of people who disagree with you by writing “but the reality is…” except that what you write doesn’t line up with reality. It lines up with your opinion. Sarcastically dismissing studies that show how humans behave when provided different choices doesn’t remove the fact that the studies help us understand the “reality” that you propose to explain to us. It’s not a black/white roadmap, but it does buttress the proposed plan’s assumptions.

    Building the parking and charging for it is the risk that the developer takes in proposing that much parking. To ignore market forces and pretend that a home buyer isn’t going to pay less for a home with no parking, or that some people aren’t going to consider reducing their car ownership from 3 to 2 or 2 to 1 or possibly even 1 to 0 if they have a chance to save money is your right, but it doesn’t mean that studies showing that it happens in a variety of different types of cities and suburbs are wrong. Moving to a new home is a time of major change, that’s exactly the point when people make these types of decisions. Allow the costs of the parking to be externalized allows individuals to determine whether or not they need or want parking with their unit.

    Unbundling the parking allows people to choose whether or not they want to save money on parking (and car ownership) as they go through their lives. By being able to choose to reduce their monthly bills by selling a car and getting rid of the parking, some, obviously not all, will do so.

    In the end, the parking amount proposed for Del Monte is closely aligned with the actual car ownership of the surrounding single-family neighborhood. People who choose to own cars, even multiple cars, will have parking. And those who choose to save money and reduce their number will also be able to do so.

    Comment by jkw — September 27, 2014 @ 10:29 am

  50. Answers to questions/comments for me:

    #38 – A little overly-broad description of my original post, but, yes, I deleted some immature comments. I’m not particularly proud of my initial response to the meeting. No excuse- but I was really caught off guard by the feeling of “us v. them.” And there were people who seemed to have an external motivation, i.e, representatives of organizations (rather than neighbors & others to be directly impacted) who praised the complete master & TDM as perfect – not even PB thought it was perfect “as is'” they requested revisions to TDM & the “affordable housing loophole” to be closed.

    #41 – I’ve lived next to Littlejohn Park for 3 & change years. It is *packed* & a very vibrant, well-used park. I created a photo doc of parking & park activity over the course of the summer that documents this. It sounds like more kids’ leagues than ever use the park, and there are some programs for kids with alternative needs (apologies that I am not educated on the real terms to describe) who rely on that park to host. Every weekend is packed with family activities (& the guy with what has to be one of the most lucrative businesses in the East Bay, the Bouncy House Rental dude). My wife was part of the community group that advocated for the city to take action to get rid of the drug activity & bring the park back to the community about 10 years ago. That is one of the reasons there is so much sensitivity to keeping Littlejohn accessible & a place where families want to come.

    #43 – Lauren, your question is a bit more complex (re: report for my “theories”). I am approaching it from a business model perspective and, in this case, the paradigm does not make sense for this particular project.

    The study you linked to, stating that available space enables vehicle ownership, may or may not be true. I am not arguing about that & I recall being in my early 30s, in the NYC Metro area, when my need for a car tipped from 50/50 to 80/20: I had an opportunity for a good job, but needed a car to commute. When I moved from my apartment with street-only parking, I made “on site parking” a criterion for my next apartment. So, I don’t doubt that there are situations where parking availability can influence a decision on car ownership.

    However, in the case of Del Monte & bundled/unbundled parking, the question is not about parking paradigms & theories. It is basic Business 101. No method will work if applied inappropriately. In this case, we have an existing design plan, which includes elements (indoor parking spaces). Building all the elements (parking spaces, bike kitchen, patios, common areas, # of kitchens in the building, etc.) have a cost attached. The developer is going to pay for those elements & those costs are going to be passed along to the buyers plus the profit margin. If they weren’t, the builder wouldn’t build. Businesses that don’t meet a certain profit margin over cost fail (the question of how much profit for which businesses is not the issue here). Since those spaces are being built, the cost of them will be rolled in one way or the other. Unbundling adds a layer of complexity & administration cost to be passed along to someone. Bundling simplifies.

    The studies & TOD principles I’ve researched are largely focused on the savings achieved by NOT building parking. But this parking is being built so it needs to be paid for. If Del Monte were located closer to Park or Webster (where the available space for retail would revitalize the areas & allow for truly car-free living, we would be arguing over whether we needed a 1:1 parking space at all). Given the location, (the majority if not all) Del Monte residents are going to have a car, which is why the parking is being built.

    #46 – Enabling independent, age-in-place living doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptions to every rule. I also cared for a parent & grandparent with aging issues. As a caregiver for a parent & grandparent with aging/disease-related mobility issues, I did not mean that residents of Del Monte would be “home bound.” Mobility assistance comes in all forms. Whether an electric scooter or just having someone to drive you to the store & carry the groceries, we need to do everything possible to enable that independence for as long as possible.

    Comment by Alison Greene — September 27, 2014 @ 11:07 am

  51. what does “age in place” supposed to mean? that people who live there can expect to die there? pardon my crankiness, but we all age in whatever place we are and don’t get to choose how we check out.

    the shopping selection at Marina Village seems a bit motley, but I can’t believe some folks don’t acknowledge that as walkable for those who can walk. It is certainly scooterable. It is about the distance I used to walk as a five year old with my grandmother to grocery shop. She had the folding cart with wheels. Target is across a nasty piece of road but not THAT much further. If you buy a lawn mower at Target I guess you wouldn’t bike there or go by scooter, but Del Monte units won’t have lawn. People who have physical limitations are probably more likely to be retired and therefore not commuters, right?

    Comment by MI — September 27, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  52. #51 = in Lauren’s link to Harvard article [p4/6], the CDC defines aging in place = the ability to live in one’s own home & community safely, independently, & comfortably, regardless of age, income , or ability level.

    Sounds like your mother-in-law needed her housing to provide a van-accessible space. On the other hand, having a scooter allows you to park farther away than if you are just using a manual wheelchair, walker, or cane.

    Comment by vigi — September 27, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

  53. 52 actually, her housing had underground parking, but it was tight and actually had cars blocking each other in line requiring shuffling. Tenants paid for it but were not guaranteed spaces. Surly there were some couples in a single apartment with two spaces and my mother in law stopped paying for hers when she gave up her van. The place was built in the 1960s. As for scooter parking, I’m not sure what you are saying. A scooter is like a bike. But some can even be driven through a store like Safeway or big box The electric shopping carts with seating you see in some retail venues like Safeway are actually bigger and more cumbersome than hers. She would drag her walker on the back of the thing and switch when she got to a venue where the scooter was not allowed, but never walked far. It seems like driving and parking in handicapped space and switching to manual wheelchair is parking further away. but I’m not sure what point you mean to make on that one. Being disabled is by definition restrictive and there is no amount of compensatory infrastructure which can fully compensate. How people have lived for years with an iron lung is beyond what I can comprehend. Just thinking about Stephen Hawking’s long road is daunting.

    Comment by MI — September 27, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  54. Marina Village is .9 miles from the Atlantic side of Del Monte. I suppose that someone could have one of those wheeled carts & limit their shopping to the weight that the cart and they can both handle. And, optimist that I am, it will rain again some day, so appropriate weather gear can be purchased. Of course it *can* be done. It seems that this conversation has veered into a theoretical debate on the maximum physical capacity of human beings and their fortitude in reaching and maintaining that capacity, regardless of age, changes in physical ability or maybe even having a kid or two. There are always role models and examples of people who thrived, maintained independence, etc. “despite….” That is not the issue here.

    Comment by Alison Greene — September 27, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

  55. The thing is you can’t make things perfect for everyone…there will always be an exception to everything, but we what we do is our best. The Del Monte project isn’t an assisted living facility although they may have some handicap residence and they have addressed that by making some handicap compatible residences for people who can function on there own. And they will have some handicap parking most likely close to these units. I don’t know if they plan on having an elevator in the 2 buildings but they will probably cluster the handicap units close to the elevators and the handicap parking as well.

    For the residences around the project who become handicap later in life, I have seen were the city will paint the curb in front of their house blue and put up a sign. I don’t know the process of doing this so I won’t speculate.

    The parking issue is sort of over. What I would be interested in is the construction quality: will the inside structure be built with concrete between each floor or wood and also the sound insulation between units. I have lived in places where you can hear your neighbors next to you or those who live above or under you. I would hate to spend a ton of money on a place and have to listen to your neighbors. That seems to be the biggest complaint at Summer House Apt…is that they cleaned it up and made it look nice but all the problems are still there. They still have mice and rats, you can still hear your neighbors, maintenance problems ect. This project they could make it look great on the outside but are they addressing internal problems. BTW are they going to have a community room, fitness center, a barbeque area, and swimming pool?

    Bayport has an excellent Community Relations Team which have book clubs, potlucks, Ice Cream Socials, Halloween and Easter things for kids, new parents groups, ect…which brings the neighbors together…with that many new residence with the Del Monte project they should start thinking about things such as that in order to build a neighborhood…which includes the current neighbors.

    Comment by Joseph — September 28, 2014 @ 11:49 am

  56. vigi- no tangents or side conversations here. N\ew decree of new sergeant in arms at Lauren Do. But if you want triple speaker time at planning board, go ask Alison, I think she’ll know. (When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead, and the White Knight is talking backwards and the Red Queen’s off with her head…..etc.)

    Comment by MI — September 28, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  57. It will be interesting to see as the Arson Case progresses against the Alameda Resident. He seems to have an alibi (working at Rooster’s) for the early fires. He was arrested before the later fires. There is at least some possibility that he was a young Millennial without a car walking home from work at 2:30 AM.

    Comment by frank M — October 1, 2014 @ 10:05 am

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