Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 16, 2015

Butts out

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

You know, it’s not just the City Council meetings that get all the action.  Nope, last Monday’s Planning Board was very entertaining and probably contained one of the funniest moments that I have ever watched at a city meeting.

This was on the agenda item about the City Ventures project at Clement and Oak.  I posted my “meh” reaction to it earlier but the Planning Board was a lot less ambivalent that my “meh” reaction.  Let’s just say the TL;dr wrap up to that discussion was: it needs work.

Now, it appears that City Ventures has made all the right moves by engaging the community before designing their designs.  I’m not sure what the feedback was initially and whether they modified some of their first few plans to be more in line with what the community wanted but –if they did — this might be the danger of designing by committee, because the Planning Board was largely not happy with the plans at all.

My overall sense of the City Ventures submittal was that they listened to the community then did whatever they wanted and tried to maximize parking so the neighbors wouldn’t complain and they stuck a bunch of solar panels on the roofs and called it “environmentally friendly.”

Some of the concerns from the Planning Board included stuff that I mentioned before like the lack of homes fronting Clement Street (a few Board members referred to this as having the “butts” of the buildings facing Clement) and the faux Victorian not really being very Victorian in nature.

Some of the additional concerns included the sea of asphalt that was created in order to circulate cars internally and the fact that the developer included all of the “open space” including private balcony space into their open space calculation, which seems a little shady.  There were some solid suggestions like creating a new street running north to south in the middle of the project to connect Clement to whatever the street is that runs parallel to it.  I don’t know off the top of my head and am too lazy to Google it.  Which would have lessened the need for so many additional internet roads for circulation.  Plus it wasn’t even clear if some of the internal circulation would have been wide enough for emergency vehicle access.

Oh, as an aside though, Planning Board member Stanley Tang decided to finish his remarks about the project worrying that the price point of the units were too high and therefore the people who purchased those units would never ride the bus because apparently only the poors ride the bus.  Well the poors and the mysterious “no one” people refer to when speaking of buses in Alameda as in “No one rides the bus.”

Member David Burton respectfully disagreed and pointed out that he lived on the outskirts of one of the tonier neighborhoods in Alameda but yet there exists a substantial portion of transit riders aka “no one.”

Of course, given some of Stanley Tang’s comments about transit during the Planning Board/Transportation Commission meeting a couple of weeks ago, you really have to sort of dismiss most of what Stanley Tang says about transit as completely uninformed.  For example during the PB/TC meeting he decided to school the rest of the combined boards members on what is currently missing from the Bay Area’s transit infrastructure saying that other jurisdictions have this crazy system of allowing payment across multiple transit agencies with one single card.   Imagine that!  And that if people could use this system from the ferry to buses to Bart it would be so much easier for people.  Why yes, yes it would, wouldn’t it?

Then Stanley Tang offered this brilliant suggestion to the PB/TC that there should be some way that people could figure out how to get from point A to point B on transit and that it would also make it easier for people to take transit if such a service was offered.  Yeah, he’s on to something…  Quick, someone get Google on it.

Anyway, back to the drawing board for this one.



  1. Lauren. Whose appointment was Mr. Tang and what are his qualifications supposed to be? Haven’t been overly impressed with some of Marie’s appointments. I’m not talking about Burton and JKW but I’m sure my last comment will probably invite some snarky clucking from Spencer’s minions. Has new mayor had a shot at PB appointment ?

    Comment by MI — March 16, 2015 @ 7:00 am

    • Stanley Tang was appointed by Marie Gilmore. I think he was supposed to be representative if “business”. Some of Marie Gilmore’s appointees have been real fails.

      No shot yet for the PB for Trish Spencer. There are a few coming up for renewal soon. I think maybe Dania A-M. Also a Gilmore appointee that was appointed to represent business interests.

      Comment by Lauren Do — March 16, 2015 @ 8:50 am

  2. The problem with the O or W line is by the time they get to Webster St the seats are full. A lot of people don’t want to stand going across the bridge, especially if it is backed up or there is some other delay on the bridge. I image most of the people going to the City from Alameda Landing will take the shuttle from Target if it ever became consistent. I have taken it serveral time and if they are early they leave without you so you are stuck there for the next one. The O and W bus lines as well as the ferry are actually fairly consistent in there departure times…and people from some of the tonier neighborhoods do take public transit for work, just not for internal city driving.

    Lauren, did call it on sticking your butt out first and the faux Victorian. Nothing looks worse then overdoing a new house to make it look like something it is not or changing a Victorian to something it is not. Some of the ugliest remodels were of Victorian gone wrong.

    Comment by Jake. — March 16, 2015 @ 7:38 am

  3. From the city’s website:

    Members First Appointment Current Term Expires
    Dania Alvarez 04/02/2013 06/30/2015
    Stanley Tang 04/02/2013 06/30/2015
    David Burton 06/07/2011 06/30/2018
    Mike Henneberry 06/07/2011 06/30/2016
    John Knox White 02/07/2012 06/30/2017
    Kristoffer Köster 02/07/2012 06/30/2018
    Lorre Zuppan 08/03/2009 06/30/2017

    Comment by A Neighbor — March 16, 2015 @ 8:59 am

  4. I don’t recall seeing Tang at any of the Del Monte-specific PB meeting from April ’14 until the voting meeting in October.* At the time, I was surprised that he asked questions about the basic issues that had been discussed & revised ad nauseam (parking), but ultimately voted in favor. OTOH, Alvarez was present almost all the time, listened carefully to public opion (PLAN!, individuals, reps from other organizations) and seemed to be very thoughtful about her decisions. I didn’t agree with all her conclusions, but appreciated that she was actively supportive of a compromise that worked for most stakeholders. She isn’t the only PB member to do so, but one of the 2 whose term needs renewal this year. I hope that her approach and commitment is appreciated and that she is renewed.

    *Obligatory caveat for anyone who wants to school me: my experience w/ PB is limited to DM, and I don’t really know the history of the members, etc. So I’m quite sure there are subtleties I’m missing.

    Comment by Alison — March 16, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  5. The project is at 2100 Clement, at Willow. Not the project at Oak & Clement by the same people. Looking at those PB terms, 2017 & 2018 should be really interesting times at Planning Board, once it is all of Trish’s folks.

    Comment by BMac — March 16, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  6. Trish makes the nomination, the council has to vote on it.

    Comment by John P. — March 16, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  7. I agree with you Alison. I think Alvarez is a great asset to the PB. She listens, is responsive and works to find common ground. I hope she is renewed as well.

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 16, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  8. People apply for board and commission seats. It’s helpful to know who applied for a seat when someone is chosen. Very often there is only one application. How long can the mayor and council stall if that one application isn’t suitable for the position? It’s detrimental to the community to hold out too long. There was a period where several positions were open with no applications too.
    Glad I don’t have to do this stuff.

    Comment by Li_ — March 16, 2015 @ 10:24 am

  9. if anyone would like to see who is applying for any boards and commissions, just go to the city clerks office and ask to see the binder which is supposed to have all of the applications in it. It is public.

    Comment by John P. — March 16, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

  10. 9, 10: As John Piziali mentioned, the applications for all boards and commissions are public records.

    I looked at the pool of applicants during Beverly Johnson’s “I don’t think the Transportation Commission is important so I’m not going to appoint anyone to it” phase, and some very talented and skilled applicants were being ignored. (The 3-5 vacant positions on the TC were not filled until after mayor Gilmore was sworn in in December 2010: the TC had been unable to even approve its own minutes or take official actions for about a year because they lacked a quorum from so many unfilled vacancies.)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 16, 2015 @ 8:36 pm

  11. We have been using Clipper Cards since they were “Translink” cards–before they adopted their “new” name years ago. You can set Clipper Cards up any way you need to–for students, disabled travelers, seniors, etc. And you can use them almost everywhere, every time, in the Bay Area. I look forward to the day that Clipper Cards can be used on electronic bike lockers and at bike stations, too.

    BTW, I recommend keeping one or two spare Clipper cards around in case you have guests from out of town or want to travel with friends via transit. Set them up for auto-refill from your bank account and you never have to worry about carrying change for the bus or BART again.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 16, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Create a free website or blog at