Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 12, 2015

Rising to the challenge

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Last year New York City lowered the speed limit in the city to 25 mph.  Recently Mayor Bill DeBlasio credited that effort, along with the larger “Vision Zero” campaign, for the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1910 which is huge considering it was 1910 and the vehicles produced back them probably topped out at like 25 mph anyway.

San Francisco is now considering one upping (or one lowering) New York City and lowering the speed limit to 20 mph in some areas.  From The SF Examiner:

The report stated that in 2011, there were 3,111 collisions in The City that resulted in injury. Of those, 844 were between vehicles and pedestrians and 630 were between vehicles and bicyclists, or 27 and 21 percent of total collisions with injuries, respectively.

Of the 28 fatal collisions that occurred in 2011, 17 were between vehicles and pedestrians and four were between vehicles and bicyclists.

A study of 20 mph zones in the London metropolitan area saw a 40 percent decrease in collisions, the budget analyst report said. The report found that “the combination of reducing speed limits in the City through advocating for a change in State law, enhancing speed limit enforcement and installation of traffic calming measures would be most effective at reducing vehicle speed and collisions.”


December 19, 2014

In your Transportation Element

During the second reading of Tuesday’s night’s meeting, Tony Daysog had, yet another, head scratching comment:

I can’t wait for our community to have this traffic/transit discussion because now we’re doing these TDMs as these projects here and there arise.  Alameda Point has its TDM, Alameda Landing has its TDM.  Northern Waterfront, Del Monte project has its TDM. And I do think that we have to be a lot more strategic in terms of planning.

Tony Daysog makes it sound as though Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plans are some bandage solution that is done in lieu of long term strategic planning.   It’s not.  Two years after Tony Daysog departed the City Council, the City started the process of updating the Transportation Element of the General Plan to talk about long term strategies, there’s a good overview about the Transportation Element EIR here.   The Transportation Element is the roadmap of sorts on how we tackle dealing with the inevitability of traffic in our City.  Maybe this is a part of the “discussion” that Tony Daysog wants to have, maybe it’s not, but it’s not clear that he understands the distinction.


October 15, 2014

Kids these days

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

A lot of folks are super suspicious of the whole “unbundled parking” idea, probably because it goes against everything that we have ever known and believed about parking being “free.” I think that most people’s objections to unbundled parking comes from a lack of understanding about the whole concept and the belief that there is no “proof” that unbundled parking actually works.

Here’s a paper on the impacts of car sharing and unbundled parking on car ownership and mode choice. Sexy!  By the way, in an older post which someone commented that we don’t have reports on what people do after they buy housing units.  This is a study on what people do with their cars after they occupy units in which there are on site car sharing options and/or if parking is unbundled from the housing cost.

There’s a whole section on how car share membership lowers overall car ownership. Which totally makes sense logically. Then there is the part about unbundled parking, which I’ve excepted parts here:

October 14, 2014

Men (and women) at work

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Alameda Planning Board member John Knox White has started up his blog again for those interested.  One of the interesting items he posted was a piece from Streetsblog that was enticingly entitled:  It’s OK to Build Transit-Oriented Development Before Transit

This is particularly relevant since a lot of the critiques about the Del Monte project is that all the transportation mitigations should be put in place prior to any one moving into any new units.  Of course this goes against how public transit actually works, but when you’re throwing the kitchen sink at an issue, you’re going to try to get anything to stick.   So, it’s as good of a time as any to pull out these slides I posted in June of this year which compared Alameda’s transit share to surround neighborhoods.  Instead of trying to retype what I wrote, I’m just going to cut and paste portions of it here:

Anyway, since BART is sort of the be all end all for some people as the most desirable method of public transportation, I thought I would pull out from the census documents the most recent data of the number of people in certain cities that took public transportation and those that drove solo.  I selected Alameda County cities with BART stations (or BART stations for those with multiples) and threw in Berkeley as well just for kicks because Berkeley always comes up as some bastion of liberalism that we should either try to be like or not try to be like depending on the topic or who is bring up Berkeley. I added in some extra Contra Costa cities as well that are along the incredibly congested 80 corridor.


October 13, 2014

Round round get around

This comment is a really good one about the sad state of Alameda’s transit planning:

That said, and turning to serious objections, the transit planning could be a lot more ambitious and thought of at the city level. Emeryville set up its shuttle system. The aim should be to get existing residents, not just new ones, out of their cars and onto buses, bikes and ferries. It’s very doable. And you don’t need to get too many to have a big effect of traffic at peak times: the effect of the marginal driver is greater than that of the earlier one.

Right now, we are relying, heavily, on grants and new developments to fund alternatives to AC Transit to get folks in select areas on the West End through the tube to get to Bart.  Perhaps, if residents would like an Emery-Go-Around type public transportation option we should encourage existing retail corridors and shopping centers to put money into a pool along with these sub areas to create a Alameda-Go-Round that would be free (or have a small surcharge) for Alameda residents in general.


September 25, 2014

Blame Canada

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I think that the idea that providing parking for residential developments somehow decrease the affordability of housing is difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.  After all we’ve been so conditioned to believe that parking is free because it’s always come subsidized by housing developers, the city or businesses we frequent.   I’ve been tracking discussion about the Del Monte project because the whole thing is really interesting to me.  The vitriol that was misdirected at proponents of the project was simply breathtaking and a long admired community member was ripped to pieces for speaking out in favor of the project.

It’s that reason why most people simply don’t even want to bother to be “in support” of anything that could be remotely controversial, since they might end up being on the receiving end of some nasty comments.

But anyway, back to why parking requirements affect affordability.  Even though some opponents believe that these developers and supporters are experimenting untried and untested programs on Alameda, everything proposed for the Transportation Demand Management plan has proven results.   Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute released a paper in June of this year on this very topic.


September 23, 2014

In demand management

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

As I mentioned in the comment section yesterday, the Transportation Demand Management plan for the Del Monte project is available for comment and the Transportation Commission is going to get a crack at it on Wednesday night after the Planning Board naturally.   Since the PB is bogged down with lots of other stuff regarding the Del Monte project, the TC is an excellent place to get solid comments from the board about the viability of the TDM.

One thing I will note is that while the project itself will be providing enough parking for the units itself, enough to have — from the staff report —

every household in a one bedroom or studio unit owns one car (126 cars), every household in a three bedroom unit owns two cars (40 cars), and about half the households in the two bedroom units own one car (81 cars) and the other half own two cars (162 cars), there will be a need for 409 parking spaces for the 308 units. The project is providing 415 spaces.

The project, because it will be forced to make infrastructure improvements to Buena Vista and Clement, will also be introducing 80 new parking spaces into the neighborhood.  While — as noted by Planning Board president David Burton — these are not to be counted toward the parking requirements for the project, it is additional supply that is up for grabs, even for the existing residents of the neighborhood.

See here:


September 22, 2014

Two car Del Monte

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Measure A, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tonight the Del Monte project will come before the Planning Board and the Planning Board will vote to adopt five distinct parts crucial to the Del Monte project moving forward:

A.) Adopt the draft Resolution recommending that the City Council adopt the Subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration.
B.) Adopt the draft Resolution recommending that the City Council approve the Del Monte Master Plan and Density Bonus Application.
C.) Approve by motion a recommendation that the City Council approve the Development Agreement.
D.) Adopt the Draft Resolution approving the Del Monte Transportation Demand Management Program.
E.) Adopt the draft Resolution approving Del Monte Development Plan and Design Review for the Del Monte Plan.

Right now the developer still hasn’t decided on whether they want to put up the units for sale or for rent, but they will be subdividing the building in anticipation that they condos will be for sale.   Given the state of the current housing market, if everything still holds the way it is now, they can probably sell for a nice chunk of change given the low supply of housing for sale in Alameda.  The affordable units will not be for sale and will be for rent.  The affordable housing units will be spread within the Del Monte building and another site will house the remainder of the units in a Shinsei Garden and Breakers at Bayport model.   This allows for a skilled non profit developer to come in who has an understanding of cobbling together tax credits to successfully build affordable housing in the most cost effective way with necessary supportive services on-site.


September 12, 2014

I can’t drive 25

Filed under: Alameda, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Very recently New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill which allows New York City to have a default speed limit of 25 mph for the whole city.  This was done in order to reduce the number of traffic related fatalities to zero in a campaign called, wait for it, “Vision Zero.”

Of course Alameda is well known for our almost island-wide 25 mph speed limit (with several notable exceptions like Appezzato and that one road into Bay Farm whose name I always forget) but it’s a number that people both like and is often not obeyed because some people don’t see the point of it.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has crossed the center line to pass me because I was going “too slow” at the posted speed limit.

This opinion in the New York Times about the speed limit reduction suggests that we need to go beyond just lowering the speed limit, but create visual cues for drivers to place their speed in context, from the piece:


June 24, 2014

Ferry tales

Filed under: Alameda, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Short post today, wanted to let you all know that WETA (Water Emergency Transportation Authority) will be having two meeting, one tonight and one tomorrow night to talk about future ferry expansion/improvement plans.

The details:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Bay Farm Elementary (near Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal)
200 Aughinbaugh Way, Multi-Purpose Room
5:15 – 7:00 p.m.

— OR —

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
NEW LOCATION: Maya Lin Elementary (near Main St. Ferry Terminal)
825 Taylor Ave, Multipurpose Room
5:15 – 8:00 p.m.

The West End meeting was going to be at the Academy of Alameda, but the location changed so make a note!


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