Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 25, 2015

Parked outside

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Tonight there is a hot agenda item at the Transportation Commission which involved parking around the Harbor Bay Ferry.

Let me lay down a few obvious things, increased ferry ridership is a great thing.  One more rider on the ferry means one less person crossing a bridge.  I assume that person is crossing a bridge because if they lived near the tube they’d be using the other ferry terminal.  The ferry is an amazing way to commute because it’s probably one of the least stressful ways to commute.  There’s almost always a seat and it feels incredibly civilized.

Anyway, there is currently spillover parking into the residential neighborhood which I am both sympathetic but also apathetic to and wonder if that’s even possible.  On one hand, it must suck because apparently the mail people on Harbor Bay are quite aggressive and do not play around if cars block mail boxes, on the other hand, if they are public streets they really are no different than the residential neighborhoods that surround major commercial districts like Park and Webster Streets.

So typically I’d post what the recommendations are, but apparently all of the interim solutions suggested by staff have been roundly shot down by the homeowner associations on Bay Farm by a large majority of its memberships.

There were some good ideas in the suggestions that were mailed in such as creating motorcycle and scooter parking to maximize space use, right now motorcycle or scooter parking options only include taking over one whole car space.  Other suggestions were to add bike racks as those are always full — maybe secured boxes might be better.  Perhaps moving overnight or long term ferry parking to a site farther away to not take up day to day parking.   And a suggestion not from any of the public comments but was added to the list of thing staff was considering in the long term: paid parking lot.

Why a pay parking lot?  Well, similar to popular Bart stations like West Oakland, Lake Merritt and Fruitvale, parking is a commodity and should be treated as such.   Keep the two hour parking limits in the residential neighborhood so that ferry riders won’t try to park there while at work and then charge a fee for parking at the ferry parking lot.  Then, much like what happened around the West Oakland Bart station, even empty lots can become a way of making money for the land owner by quickly throwing up a pay to park lot for a shade less than what the ferry parking lot is charging.

Whatever is decided tonight will probably make someone unhappy so I imagine that the City Council will eventually be determining the possible fate of parking around the Harbor Bay Ferry.


  1. They have the similar problem at the Main St ferry terminal as to not having enough parking, but not to the extent they are parking in a residential neighborhood. Currently after the parking lots are full they park on Main St from Stargell to the Main St gate. This should be a consideration if they move the terminal from Main St to Seaplane Lagoon. From Bayport you can walk to either location. I walk fast and from my house it is currently .75 miles and I can walk it 12 minutes.

    I heard there is currently plans to move the Main St. dog park to provide more parking. I know they added a ton of bike racks there and they are full. I also noticed that a lot of employees from Bay Ship park in the ferry parking lot.

    I know some people actually carpool there. The nice thing about riding the ferry you get to know your neighbors if they ride the ferry and so carpooling can save on the number of cars. The other nice thing about riding the ferry is it is more consistent then AC Transit which can fluctuate according to the Bridge traffic and it costs about the same. If you start charging for parking ridership will probably go down.

    I don’t no Bay Farm that well, so I don’t know what sort of solutions I could offer. If they are public streets there is not much they can do about it except make it 2/4 hour parking limit during the hours of 8am – 5pm. Maybe the residences around there can do an airbnb thing with their driveways and make some money.

    Comment by Jake. — March 25, 2015 @ 8:18 am

  2. Yes we want more people to ride the ferry.
    One fact that is not addressed by adding more parking is that about 75% of riders live wihin 1.5 miles of the ferry.
    Walking and biking distance for sure. In the latest information only 40% of the ferry riders are biking or walking.
    One long term solution is to address that discrepancy.

    Comment by Lucy gigli — March 25, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  3. Lucy’s comment is extremely pertinent. I’d hate to see the city bend over backward and create another parking lot if the majority of those living within 1.5 miles are too lazy to walk or bike. (And of course, I’m not talking about those who may drive due to a physical impairment.)
    Also, I don’t get the sense of entitlement from people who live out there– if it’s a public street, it’s a public street. Why get your knickers in a twist about who parks there? Isn’t enough of Bay Farm privatized as it is?

    Comment by Kristen — March 25, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

  4. A 1.5 mile walk would be adding about 1/2 hour to each end of a commute. While it’s enjoyable and healthy, it doesn’t work for most people.

    But I fail to see what the problem with street parking is. The homes near the ferry have space for 2 cars in the driveway as well as 2 car garages — and a fair number have 3 car garages. It is highly doubtful any residents are unable to park their own cars.

    Comment by dave — March 25, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

  5. First there is AC Transit Service to the BFI Ferry Terminal. I think the City currently has Posted Parking signs in place but since the BART strike chosen has not enforced them. So it is not as the Residents are asking the City to ban ‘parking on Public Streets’ but rather enforce the Parking Regulations that the City has in place. There are additional problems concerning blocking Fire Hydrants and mail box banks but I’ve have just seen them in passing on the Next Door Site.

    Comment by frank m — March 25, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

  6. I believe that most of the residential streets on bay farm are actually private. They are maintained with the hoa fees from the homeowners.

    Comment by growingmonkeyflower — March 25, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

  7. Perhaps Bay Farmers might want to try Monkey Parking!

    Comment by bayporter — March 26, 2015 @ 6:48 am

  8. Don’t forget the importance of public transit service to the ferry terminals – something that is currently inadequate. That would go a long way to relieving parking congestion.

    Comment by alexstar — March 26, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

  9. There is already a timed bus to the Harbor Bay Ferry terminal, even with a free bus transfer, few use it.

    Comment by jkw — March 27, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  10. 6. Are you sure about that? I live on Bay Farm and have never seen a private contractor pave or clean the streets. We do have our own landscapers who maintain and improve the medians and sidewalk strips, but that’s just for flowers, not pavement.

    Comment by Larry Witte — March 27, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

    • it may not be every neighborhood but as a former hoa board member I know that our area (which is quite near the ferry) had a line item for saving towards things like repairing the roads, replacing street lights, etc that came from our dues.

      Comment by growingmonkeyflower — March 27, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

  11. 2, 3: Walking or bicycling to the ferry may add some time to one’s commute, but not very much. Besides, if you walk or bike you don’t need to go to the gym as often, so you actually can save some time overall from your schedule by taking the extra 10-15 minutes it might take to walk or bike to the ferries instead of driving a car.

    The lack of transit service to the Main Street terminal is appalling, but AC Transit can only afford to run so much service when they are chronically underfunded–like every transit system in the country compared to the billions we spend on subsidizing autos. A paid parking system–combined with bans or other limits on parking on adjacent streets–might encourage more people to carpool, walk, or bike to the ferries.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 28, 2015 @ 8:17 am

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