Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 21, 2022

Isn’t that grand

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

The big item for tonight’s City Council is probably going to be the Grand Street Improvement Project. This received a unanimous vote to proceed from the Transportation Commission (even though it was not looking like it would have it) and the Disability Commission voted to recommend the City Council approve this. Apparently though even though one of the members of the Disability Commission signed a petition against this project she did not feel as though she needed to recuse herself from the vote. This is the petition which, I mean, there’s a lot worthy of side-eyeing here in general:

I think the bit about encouraging “students biking to school to use sidewalks” in order to preserve 90% of the street for car use only is the most appalling and galling alternative being offered by the Grand Neighbors but, honestly, not surprising. It’s the sort of ridiculousness we see everywhere these days. We use children as shields for why we shouldn’t do things like teach that LGBTQ people and families exist in the world but when it comes to actually protecting children from the dangers that do exist out there like guns or reckless and heedless drivers our convenience is paramount to their safety.

As mentioned by a lot of other people this is going to be the only north-south protected bike lane option if it moves forward. And, also as mentioned by a lot of other people tracking this issue, the concerns brought up by the Grand (and adjacent) Street neighbors as to why this project should not move forward (parking, parking for construction vehicles, inability to back out of their driveways) does not outweigh the benefits for the larger community and certainly are not concerns and conditions unique to Grand Street.

Here’s where the political calculus gets tricky for the Councilmembers who don’t like the bike lane project but have complained about deferred maintenance for infrastructure. The vote tonight will be to move forward with the repaving project for Grand Street in addition to the improvements for pedestrian and bicycle safety. If there are not three votes for the repaving and improvement project then Grand Street doesn’t get repaved.

The majority of the money comes not from Alameda General Funds but from federal and state monies. What the Councilmembers who vote against funding this is doing is (1) throwing away non General fund monies and (2) depriving Grand Street of infrastructure maintenance. I know there’s not a lot of political consistency for some members of the City Council and they commonly and habitually contradict themselves both through their votes and their remarks but, at some point, one would think that their shame button will activate and they’ll be somewhat embarrassed by their lack of principles.

But what will happen if this project gets tanked is that, once again, proximity to the levers of power is what is most important. The people who have always had political power in our world and in this City will continue to get their needs met while everyone else is left to literally fight for their survival on the streets.

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