Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 26, 2016

Central Avenue Meeting, in tweets

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

I know it seems really silly but I totally enjoy the camaraderie that is the alamtg hashtag on twitter (#alamtg) during public meetings.  It makes the slow portions bearable and the moments when you have OMG thoughts you can get instant feedback that you were not the only crazy person to think that the statement was completely insane.  Without much further ado, some of the Central Avenue Meeting tweets, in chronological order:


  1. Two key questions- What is the position of the Alameda police department on the installation of bike lanes on Central? How much will it cost the taxpayers? The default position is that bike lanes should be around all Alameda schools. The rest of it should be a cost- benefit analysis.

    Comment by Captain Obvious — February 26, 2016 @ 6:51 am

  2. 1. Whose costs? Whose benefits? Cost-benefit analysis, in practice, is rather difficult. The conclusions depend on the assumptions, and the assumptions are inherently subjective. How do do you weigh probabilities of lives lost and injuries versus commute times?

    Re. Steven T’s comment about idiots speaking: The interesting thing about public discussion in the era of Spencer and Trump is that there’s no longer any shame in expressing views that would have been considered barbaric before. Maybe it’s good to know what these people truly think.

    Comment by BC — February 26, 2016 @ 7:54 am

  3. what if benefits are not clear in dollar terms, but costs are in dollar terms plus other forms of loss, like injury ? You seem to be implying that the cost benefit analysis should clarify this debate, maybe make decision straight forward and I’m questioning that.

    I’m certain the price tag for this may seem shocking ( hundreds of thousands?), but it comes down to repainting streets. There is little in the world of infrastructure which could be cheaper, or simpler, right?

    Comment by MI — February 26, 2016 @ 8:08 am

  4. 1. Obvious Caption: “Cost/Benefit”? Okay, if that’s the most important thing to you: The cost to taxpayers is much less than one good lawsuit when someone’s kid is crippled by poor design and bad enforcement of traffic laws.

    Comment by Jack Mingo — February 26, 2016 @ 9:03 am

  5. That’s for the hashtag heads-up, Loren. I wish I’d known about that this meeting — it might’ve made this meeting more bearable to join in the mockery.

    Comment by Jack Mingo — February 26, 2016 @ 9:07 am

  6. Dealing with situations where costs and benefits aren’t clearly defined, is exactly where we need leaders to “lead” and make decisions based on their best judgement. Unfortunately, the ones we have seem to be more versed in the “management by covering-your-ass (CYA)” approach. Which is also the reason they need endless multiple meetings, public comment, and studies to come to a simple decision.

    I can kind of see why in the past, many effective politicians came from the military, where you have to make lots of immediate decisions with imperfect information at hand. Of course, if your decision goes bad, you then have to take the blame. Our local “leaders” are unwilling to accept that risk of eventual consequences for being wrong.

    @3 – MI – I’m for the project, but we might as well use real cost projections…the estimated cost is ~$9,000,000. ( ). However, even that can’t be easily broken down as a straightforward “cost” because much of it is expected to come from outside of Alameda funding, in the form of State and Fed money.

    Comment by brock — February 26, 2016 @ 9:45 am

  7. Most of that costs would go to things like realigning Central Ave w/ Main st on the West End of the project.

    the main aspects of contention, going from four lanes to three, is indeed mostly about paint and would be a six figure expense if done on the cheap.

    Comment by BMac — February 26, 2016 @ 10:51 am

  8. I read vigi’s letter in Sun this week about narrowing the parking on Central from 8′ to 7′ and how that makes them less accessible to those w/ mobility devices. I have a question for you if you are reading the blog today.

    I get that the Shoreline narrowing made the parking less accessible in this regard. You went from an 8′ parking lane w/ a lane of traffic right there to a 7′ lane w/ more consistent traffic. But, do you realize that the situation proposed for Central is quite different?

    Sure the 8′ parking lane will be theoretically reduced to 7′. But now, instead of a lane of traffic whipping by you, there will be a 5′ buffer in the form of a Class II bike lane before vehicle traffic is present.

    Right now when you drive down Central or Encinal in the right lane, you are right on top of the people entering and exiting parked cars. It is no fun for either parker or diver. To me, having a bike lane as a buffer would be more preferable, even if technically the parking lane is a foot narrower. It is much easier for a biker to scoot over to avoid people parking, in fact, they should be hugging the left side of the bike lane anyway to avoid the door zone. And if there is an incident, the consequences should be much less severe.

    Not all redesigns are the same.

    Comment by BMac — February 26, 2016 @ 11:24 am

  9. #1 – what is obvious is that “bike lanes…around all Alameda schools”, if not combined with contiguous routes connecting the schools with the neighborhoods served by those schools, would be a pointless exercise. If children don’t have a well defined, and connected, bike route from home to school, then few parents are going to feel comfortable sending kids off to school on their bikes (and then factor in whether the kids will feel comfortable). The default should be a continuous, consistent bike route to all schools, and the rest is cost-benefit and/or negotiation with all stake holders. That’s how we arrived at the current plan. It’s not perfect, but it’s a tremendous improvement.

    Comment by david burton — February 26, 2016 @ 11:52 am

  10. Anyone know what bike lanes are planned for in the future, after Central? In particular are there any North/South lanes planned? Right now we only have Grand and Broadway (or am I missing nay others?)

    Comment by dave — February 26, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

  11. 6. I’m confused. The tables with $2.3 million total improvements includes a whole laundry list. Not sure where your $9 million comes from, but it seems like a lot for re-striping.

    Comment by MI — February 26, 2016 @ 12:18 pm

  12. 11 – MI, you each page has a subtotal for the different sections/blocks. You have to go to the very last page for the $9 million grand total. I made the same mistake at first.

    As far as the project being a laundry list of other improvements, I agree, but I think the cost “is what it is”. Unless someone is going to come forward and say “we are going to do this without all the extra laundry list items”, $9million seems to be the real cost.

    If we don’t openly deal with the real $ number, then all the car-first crowd will come out of the woodwork, and say that people are “lying” about the number.

    For example, someone wants to kill the project because at one point she saw a stat showing 85 injuries, and another time she saw a stat showing 65 injuries. Doesn’t matter that 65 injures is clearly enough to justify the improvements. Someone is lying!

    Comment by brock — February 26, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

  13. #8, vigi overstates the courts ruling. ADA requirements require that blue painted, accessible spaces be 8 feet wide in order to be painted blue. They do not require that all spaces be 8 feet wide.

    Here’s what the court said in the case she cites:
    “Under the regulation, however, public entities have some flexibility in handling existing inaccessible facilities. For instance, they are not required to make structural changes to all existing on- street parking facilities if they can make public on-street parking accessible by other means, such as by providing accessible on-street parking at other nearby sites.”

    This proposal builds blue spaces in locations that don’t have them. I’m supportive of it building more. It will be interesting to watch Carol argue to remove parking from in front of other people’s homes for spaces that will not be used. Interesting because it will require making the same greater good argument that bicycle and pedestrian advocates make that designing our system to meet the needs of all users sometimes requires current privileged users to accept changes in their current personal travel expectations.

    Comment by jkw — February 26, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

  14. 10. I agree with your concern about north/south. Much trickier on a bike. Problem seems to be with how absurdly narrow N/S streets are compared to E/W, notably Willow, one of the few lagoon-traversing streets. Oak, isn’t much fun either. I guess this is because the old train lines never ran N/S. It is a problem.

    Comment by BC — February 26, 2016 @ 2:30 pm

  15. #13. Carol didn’t overstate the court’s ruling, Mr. Non-disabled Psychology-Major-who-once-advocated-that-people-with-DP-placards-should-have-to-pay-for-them. You either haven’t read the ruling or didn’t understand what you read. Links to the actual 9th Circuit & US Supreme Court documents are provided in the Alameda Sun.

    Like the op-ed letter said, paint doesn’t make a space accessible. Painting a 7 foot wide space blue won’t make it accessible. Leaving spaces 8 foot wide preserves accessibility. Carol Gottstein’s Sun op-ed letter did not mention bicycles, nor did it advocate for more blue painted spaces.

    It is fascinating to hear JKW argue against disability rights. That makes him no less than a modern-day bigot. Disability rights are Civil rights. Disabled persons are a Protected class, not a privileged class. The analogy is not between mobility-impaired and bicyclists, but between mobility-impaired persons and ethnic minorities. No one chooses to have a disability, any more than one chooses the color of one’s skin.

    In every fight for civil rights, the state has had to champion minority rights to protect them from being trampled by the vocal mob.

    Cities maintain public streets, including in front of private homes. Cities are not allowed to eliminate the civil rights of the disabled, anymore than they can designate restrooms as “white” or “colored”. I have no doubt that, if we were living in an earlier era, Mr. [Knox] White would be arguing that separate-but-equal facilities are necessary “for the greater good”.

    Comment by vigi — February 27, 2016 @ 1:19 pm

  16. FYI: “The flexibility Title II of the ADA provides cities with respect to existing facilities, including the provision of accessible parking at other nearby sites, does not apply to newly constructed facilities. See Fortyune, 766 F.3d at 1102-03.”

    The reworking of Shoreline Drive was so extensive that the entire project may be seen as constituting a “newly constructed facility”= i.e. a new “Complete Street”..

    Comment by vigi — February 27, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  17. Carol,

    Try rereading what I wrote. I agree and support the creation of more official spaces. As bmac’s post identifies, the entirety of the project provides the appropriate space for access by anyone, but when you cite the requirements for a specific thing (recognized accessible parking spaces) then you should be careful claiming that they apply to all instances that are not those things. In the end. The central project provides the space and access needed for people with disabilities, including multiple accessible-only spaces. My point was that your piece in the paper mistated requirements in order to suggest that the city was out of compliance with a specific court case.

    Comment by jkw — February 27, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

  18. I think people with placards should be required to pay for parking in metered spaces. Does that make me a bigot?

    Comment by BMac — February 27, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

  19. vigi, You’ve told us your disability is from being hit by a vehicle. You sure is it not from bearing the enormous weight of that giant chip on your shoulder ? That would cripple most of us.

    Comment by MI — February 28, 2016 @ 10:34 am

  20. #17 You are entitled to your opinion, jkw. But you are not an attorney. And disability attorneys disagree with you.

    Comment by vigi — February 28, 2016 @ 4:17 pm

  21. John Knox White: You might want to consult ACTION ALAMEDA News, for an opinion about Alameda by the attorney who won the case:

    Comment by vigi — February 28, 2016 @ 4:25 pm

  22. John Knox White is making the same mistake the City staff makes in their staff reports; sloppy terminology and belief that blue paint makes a space accessible = WRONG. Every time a City staff reports says that “there is/was no accessible parking on Central/Shoreline before the projects”, City staff is wrong, wrong, wrong! Just because there are no BLUE spaces doesn’t mean there are no accessible spaces. But when you paint in a bike lane, hemming the parking lane in, or worse–put physical bumpers in the asphalt between the bike lane and parking lane [Shoreline], that does eliminate accessibility.
    Just trying to keep the City from having to rip something out after spending money to build it, MI. No chip.

    Comment by vigi — February 28, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

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