Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 16, 2017

Wish I was a baller

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

I totally forgot that I didn’t write about this one particular issue until I went back to rewatch the Planning Board agenda item about the St Charles Street addition.  It got lost after the post about James Edison and everything else that happened.

Anyway, in a discussion about the neighborhood parks at Site A, this was one of the things that came up:

The further explanation involved mentioning loud adults, but that reasoning felt a little, well, weak when the subtext felt a lot ickier.

So, I asked the City about whether there was a formal policy for not putting in full basketball court and this was the response from the ADRP Director Amy Wooldridge:

There is not a written city policy governing park design, such as the basketball courts. The design is determined through staff experience and public input. Other than that, we do have park standards for specific components such as benches, tree species, drinking fountains, irrigation, etc

We have two parks with full court basketball in Alameda – at Washington and Leydecker Parks. We used to have a full court at Little John Park, a number of years ago. There was often poor behavior from adults playing on those courts and complaints from neighbors. The department chose to split the court into two half courts. The bad behaviors haven’t been seen at that basketball court since then. We have also found that younger kids have more opportunity to play when it is a half court.

This experience, plus the limited space available in the Alameda Point Neighborhood Park and the need for other amenities like playgrounds and picnic areas, both played a role in the staff recommendation for a half basketball court. The Recreation and Parks Commission also reviewed and recommended the park design that went before the Planning Board.

Personally I’m not in love with the rationale.  Nearly all of the schools in Alameda have full basketball courts that are in neighborhoods and don’t have the same issues that were cited above as to why ARPD has recommended only half basketball courts. I should  probably ask for the complaints that were lodged but am being lazy and I’m not thrilled with seeing what type of complaints were actually filed that lead to ARPD splitting the existing full courts and then having this very informal not-policy, policy.

To be honest if this is going to be a recommendation moving forward from the City for all neighborhood parks, I think it deserves a public airing as to what data and factors inform this decision and makes it more than a decision predicated on anecdotal stories and neighbor complaints colored with human perceptions.



  1. There is generally a security presence near school courts so I imagine that might put a damper on bad behavior. Alameda has only one passive use park. The others vary in types of activities. Those who live adjacent to a park should have a bigger say in what activities are sanctioned because they have to live with any problems that crop up night and day. Having worked with Amy Wooldridge in the past, I know her to be committed to making Alameda’s parks the best they can be for everybody. She is not one to make decisions based on vague hearsay. I know for a fact that she checks up on complaints and cross checks reported incidents with the Alameda police. Alameda is lucky to have such a competent, intelligent, and committed person at the helm of its parks department.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 16, 2017 @ 7:19 am

    • What is a “passive use park?” I have never heard that term before.

      Comment by dave — February 16, 2017 @ 7:31 am

      • just grass, e.g. Jackson Park at Park Ave?

        Comment by MP — February 16, 2017 @ 8:01 am

      • Not programmed for activities. Like Crown Beach, Shoreline Beach, half of Lincoln park, Jackson Park, Shoreline park on Bay Farm, towata park, and main street linear park.

        Comment by JKW — February 16, 2017 @ 10:32 am

  2. Are you sure you want to call yourself “a baller” ? It has a distinctively sexual meaning.

    Comment by A Neighbor — February 16, 2017 @ 8:24 am

    • You must spend a lot of time deep diving the murky sexual shadows of the internet to leave a comment like that,…to most folks, it immediately conjures sportsball. I’d advise you to limit your porn intake.

      Comment by baby mama — February 16, 2017 @ 12:10 pm

      • Good golly Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
        Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
        When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’ can’t hear your momma call.
        From the early, early mornin’ till the early, early night
        You can see miss Molly rockin’ at the house of blue light.
        Good golly, miss Molly, sure like to ball.
        When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’ can’t hear your momma call.
        (Little Richard. Played on AM Radio Stations in the olden days…)

        Comment by vigi — February 18, 2017 @ 1:39 pm

        • Baller. Pay attention old Alameda. Stay focused.

          Comment by baby mama — February 19, 2017 @ 8:55 am

        • I wouldn’t call anyone over 50 a “baller”, unless I was prepared to be slapped in the face.

          Comment by vigi — February 19, 2017 @ 3:59 pm

    • Someone clearly never enjoyed the song stylings of Skee Lo

      Comment by Lauren Do — February 16, 2017 @ 3:59 pm

  3. I grew up playing ‘half-court’ and it is fine. Even places where there were full courts we played two halves for exactly the reasons stated. First it allowed more people to participate and second it allowed the little kids to pair off and actually play together (and learn) while the big kids had their own game.

    Comment by frank — February 16, 2017 @ 8:24 am

    • half court is for lazy and out of shape people like me who don’t want to run

      Comment by MP — February 16, 2017 @ 9:00 am

  4. and don’t forget, half court is far better than no court.

    Comment by JohnP.Trump is not my President. — February 16, 2017 @ 9:55 am

  5. I hate to say it Lauren, but you are on to something. It smells fishy to me. Basketball nets and courts always get examined well in Alameda with many veiled comments about certain people being the ones to congregate where they exist. I seem to recall a prohibition in Bay Farm Island around having basketball nets placed in driveways.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — February 16, 2017 @ 10:51 am

    • We still have the prohibition against free standing or driveway basketball nets in HOA homes on Bay Farm. Happily, I’ve never seen the ban enforced in 18 years. I don’t play myself, but it’s one of the most unifying pursuits for kids and adult alike in my neighborhood.

      Comment by Larry.Witte — February 19, 2017 @ 3:19 pm

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