Tag Archives: Alameda City Council

Point traffic figures flawed

Guest Opinion: Eugenie Thomson
In his June 11 commentary in the Alameda Sun, John Knox White, a city Planning Board member, attempts to defend that the analysis for the environmental impact report for Alameda Point’s 1,425 homes and 9,000 jobs will result in net-one-car-off-Island during the morning commute.
Alameda Point

His long-overdue admission that the report did rely on one net car off-Island during the morning commute is followed by a preposterous attempt to explain why concluding that a massive project like Alameda Point would produce only “one (additional) car off the island” and “isn’t as crazy as it sounds.” His belief is that Alameda residents who leave the Island will no longer do so because they will instead go to the new jobs created at Alameda Point.

It is every bit as crazy as it sounds.

“One-net-car” is the canary in the coal mine, but there is much more wrong with this environmental impact report. Its calculations are based on assumptions that are pure fantasy. And using them produced these erroneous results. The most surprising of all was the report concludes there will be no congestion at the West End now or after all is built. That’s right, vitally important and totally unbelievable.

To wit: The environmental impact report’s traffic analysis assumed a total of 5,400 new homes on the Island, including 1,200 new homes at Alameda Point, and 20,000 new jobs citywide, including 8,000 new jobs at Alameda Point.

To believe Alameda will generate 20,000 new jobs over the next 20 years, one must put blind faith in a whopping 66 percent increase in jobs, from 30,000 today to 50,000 in 2035. That kind of job growth just isn’t going to happen! An increase of 8,000 citywide over the next 20 years is unrealistic for an Island city like Alameda. But an increase of 20,000 more jobs is delusional.

This high job assumption skewed the calculations significantly and reduced the estimated traffic leaving the Island from both the Alameda Point project and the 4,200 other homes planned outside the Point. These errors were compounded by a non-professional like White to take it one step further. He adds his layman’s opinion to back into the report’s conclusions of one net car off-Island due to Alameda Point project during the morning commute and no change in traffic delay at the West End now or after all is built.

The people of Alameda are not anti-development, and neither am I. We just want development to be reasonable, well-considered, and based in reality. The Alameda Point environmental impact report’s citywide traffic results including White’s commentary are not reality-based; they are a trip down the rabbit hole.

Yes, the homes will be built. There is high demand for housing. Site A, the first project at Alameda Point, is primarily housing, with 800 units. And it is possible 5,400 homes can be built citywide as staff claims. The new zoning approved by the previous City Council allows for it.

We want to say yes to developers, too, but only when realistic data such as realistic commercial and housing development goals have been obtained and only if it will lead to good planning, reliable engineering, and fiscal neutrality (i.e. the base infrastructure not costing taxpayers in general).

Where Alameda Point and all the other projects are concerned, the people just want to know: How bad will the traffic be? How long it will take to get off the Island? Instead of the simple truth, we’re getting ridiculous claims of 8,000 jobs on the base and 20,000 citywide jobs, and city zoning allowing 5,400 more homes – ignoring the voice of the people when they voted down the SunCal plan.

Alamedans are being asked to believe the projection of zero morning outbound traffic at the Island gateways due to the Alameda Point project; no traffic congestion at the West End, now or after all is built; and the vast majority of us living encapsulated lives where we never leave the Island.

It is not just crazy, it is insulting.

I urge Alamedans to speak up. The council must carefully scrutinize staff reports to ensure the veracity and reasonableness of all information they contain. Doing less may result in far worse repercussions.

This environmental impact report’s citywide traffic study is flawed and should not be reused repeatedly to approve rezoning and new housing applications, as it has been.

Eugenie P. Thomson

Eugenie P. Thomson, P.E., is a retired licensed civil and traffic engineer and a longtime resident of Alameda and has volunteered on community projects.

 


TUE + WED CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS: BE THERE

GUEST BLOG from: SpeakUpAlameda@gmail.com

ATTEND THIS WEEK’S MEETINGS   •   SPEAK OUT   •   PROTECT OUR CITY’S FUTURE!!

CITY of ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS THIS WEEK

TUESDAY, APRIL 28, 6:30 PM SPEAK BEFORE CLOSED SESSION

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 5:00 PM SPEAK BEFORE VOTE / AGENDA IS HERE.

Where’s the fire?

Why the rush to approve Mr. Russo’s proposal???

THE ISSUE YOU WANT TO SPEAK OUT ON                                                         

  • Fire and Police Contracts expire December 2017 (in 2.5 years)
  • City Manager Russo recently negotiated 5-year contract extensions of our fire and police unions, and put it on the April 29th City Council Meeting for approval
  • Russo did not include our elected City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy and City Auditor Kevin Kearney (“The Kevins”) in the negotiation process
  • Russo gave The Kevins and our city council exactly 2 weeks (!)–during tax season—to assess the contract extension.
  • City Council Member Oddie and the Alameda Fire Union and Firefighters are pulling out the stops to get this approved: promoting it in newspapers and online in social media.
  • Despite Mr. Oddie’s credentials (B.A. Finance, MBA) and in his recent op-ed, he got the numbers all wrong: Russo’s extension doesn’t reduce our OPEB liability “by $47 million over the next 30 years”.
  • In fact, after 30 years of implementing this proposal, the city will still have $252.6 million in unfunded OPEB* liability that we cannot afford

*OPEB: Other Post Employment Benefits

OVER THE NEXT 2 YEARS, WE NEED TO:
1)   CAREFULLY ASSESS OUR BUDGET
2)   CAREFULLY CRAFT PUBLIC SAFETY CONTRACTS  IN CONTEXT OF OUR BUDGET FORECASTS (See graphics below)
WHY?  Read on.
THE CITY BUDGET PROJECTIONS SHOW THAT DEFICITS BEGIN BY THIS SAME TIME NEXT YEAR.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.47.00 AM

SOMETHING’S VERY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE.
80% (!!) OF OUR BUDGET IS SPENT ON PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES!

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.51.07 AM

 

 . . . AND SOMETHING IS VERY, VERY  WRONG
IN OUR CITY FIRE AGENCY.

Some firefighters earning $90K/year, earn another 40%  ($36K) in overtime pay per year!

 Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.11.37 AM

Our city leadership and management should WANT to know what’s wrong before approving any extensions to the existing contract!

ATTEND WEDNESDAY’S CITY COUNCIL MEETING!

SPEAK OUT!!!

PROTECT OUR CITY’S FUTURE!!

MORE INFORMATION: SpeakUpAlameda@gmail.com


Do something.

This is what our Lame Duck City Council sees fit to have placed on the 11/18/2014 city council meeting agenda for a vote:

   6-D 2014-1024 Recommendation to Approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners for Development of Site A at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

   Meeting Agenda is here (click on AGENDA for 11/18 city council meeting meeting)

The recent election that unseated Gilmore & Co. was specifically related to wrong-headed development.  That’s why Gilmore was voted out of office.

Gilmore should be deferring this important vote to the newly elected city council members and mayor and vice mayor. But she is not …  res ipsa loquitur (if you really need to know why Gilmore was voted out of office, this fact alone explains it). We absolutely 100% need to shut this down.

WE NEED TO PUT the city council and the Alameda Point Partners ON NOTICE that they should not be proceeding with this vote until after the new council is seated.

DO SOMETHING.


CALL ALL PARTIES RELATED TO THIS

City Manager Russo: 510.747.7400

City Attorney Kern: 510.747.4750

Mayor Gilmore: 510-747-4701

Alameda Point Partners: 

Brookfield Residential: Adrian Foley, President & COO, California, 714.200.1509

Joe Ernst, Principal, SRM Ernst Development Partners: 510-219-5376

Bruce Dorfman, Principal, Thompson Dorfman Partners: 415-381-3001

Pam White, Madison Marquette: 415-277-6828

Gary Berman, COO, Tricon Capital Group, Inc.: 416-925-7228

J. Scheetz, Vice President, Tricon Capital Group, Inc.: 415-848-5936


EMAIL

CITY MANAGEMENT: jrusso@ci.alameda.ca.us, jkern@alamedacityattorney.org

CITY LEADERSHIP: mgilmore@alamedaca.gov, mezzyashcraft@alamedaca.gov,

ltam@alamedaca.gov, schen@alamedaca.gov, tdaysog@alamedaca.gov

DEVELOPERS & CAPITAL PARTNERS: Adrian.Foley@brookfieldrp.com, jernst@srmernst.com,

bd@thompsondorfmancom, pam.white@madisonmarquette.com,

qberman@triconcapitaLcom,  jscheetz@triconcapital.com

HERE’S A COPY/PASTE TO MAKE IT EASY TO HEAD YOUR EMAIL:

TO: ALAMEDA CITY MANAGEMENT  & LEADERSHIP

CC: ALAMEDA POINT DEVELOPERS & CAPITAL PARTNERS

RE: NOVEMBER 28, 2014 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 6-D Recommendation to Approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners for Development of Site A at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

(Then give ’em hell. Raising Hell for Good!)

This is what I wrote; feel free to copy, adapt, and/or write your own:

MESSAGE:

The recent election that unseated Mayor Gilmore, unseated Councilmember Chen, placed Frank Mataresse as the next Vice Mayor (and failed to place Tam onto the BART board), was specifically related to the wrong-headed development we’ve seen time and time again under Mayor Gilmore.  It was a loud resounding vote of no-confidence, a clear message sent by a citizens’ grassroots groundswell in under 3 months.

I urge you, City Manager Russo, Mayor Gilmore and City Council members, to immediately remove agenda item 6-D from the Tuesday, November 18th Alameda City Council meeting agenda.

I urge you, Lame Duck City Council, to do the right thing and defer this discussion and vote so that it may take place after Mayor-Elect Spencer and Vice-Mayor Elect Mataresse are sworn in.



NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION

GUEST WRITER EUGENIE THOMSON

If serious action isn’t taken—soon—Alameda residents will find themselves stuck in hour-long traffic jams when leaving the island.

Alameda will have its moment of truth—a day when there won’t be enough money to mitigate all the traffic congestion spawned by out-of-control growth and permit parking costing homeowners over a $400 per year. Residents will only find buses that are also stuck in traffic. When that day comes, there will be no turning back. Our fragile quality of life will be gone forever.

Plain talk is where truth resides. Yet, the City overwhelms taxpayers with reams of complex documents that stymie the average voters. Why has City Hall refused to consider how much longer it will take residents to leave the island via car or bus? Why hasn’t the City been able to explain the effects of all this growth?

Could it be that the City Council, staff and consultants don’t want the residents to know the true effects of the projects? They do mention mitigations (e.g. TDM), but those mitigations are only likely to address a tiny percentage of the traffic and parking impacts.

How is it the Del Monte project’s traffic report states there are a) No parking problems even though the parking supply is only 1.25 cars per unit and the average car ownership is 2.2 cars per unit in Alameda as per the 2000 Census? and b) When all the developments on the island are built, conclude there will only be 19 more cars than today going through the Posey Tube during the AM peak hour by year 2035 and then concluding in no added congestion due to Del Monte and all the development projects combined at the west end?

And it should not take someone like me with a civil engineering license to opine that the City’s idea to lower the parking supply at future development projects is simply not workable in Alameda where sufficient parking supply exist around the development sites. The new residents will park in the surrounding neighborhood streets instead. Traffic will not be reduced like City Hall keeps on saying with reduced parking supply. What will be reduced is the cost for not building the larger garages under the condominium complexes and greatly increasing the developers’ profits.

The Del Monte project at 414 residential units along with all the other mega projects planned by Council is a bad idea for our island. Why all these risks with irreversible harm and without the consideration that Alameda is an island?

Alamedans need to speak up to cap the growth at a reasonable level and require developers to supply parking comparable to actual car ownership patterns, not to the new city standards set by the wishful anti car folks. These unproven and unsustainable standards will result in irreversible harm to our neighborhoods.

The island and its connections to the East Bay need to work for all users, its residents and businesses, pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks and buses.

Ignoring the problems and then creating nightmarish congestion and parking problems will ruin what is so great about Alameda. This has been going on continuously since the environmental document process regarding Alameda Point Project started, through proposed projects like Neptune Point and today with the Del Monte and other northern waterfront projects.

Now is the time to take action. Let us move forward and use our taxpayers’ dollars to build a community, we can be proud of. That I believe starts with voting for Frank Mataresse for council who supports a cap on residential development and for Trish Spencer for Mayor who comes with a fresh approach.

And secondly, I urge residents to speak up and let Council know they must define the traffic and financial risks and challenges clearly and accurately.

So many have tried, have volunteered many hours, provided written and oral constructive comments, but Council ignores them. Sadly, I too have lost total trust in any professional report from City Hall.

I urge all Alamedans to vote for Frank and Trish for more government transparency, an open debate of the traffic and financial challenges and for capping development to a level that is reasonable for our island. As of now, I will not vote for the other council seat, neither candidate is concerned about the extremely risky financial and development decisions being made by current Council.

Act today, tomorrow it will be too late.

Reference:
The Del Monte Traffic Impact Analysis March 25, 2014 for the above traffic facts can be found on the City website: Planning Board Agenda item #7B, June 23, 2014, click on File # 2014-652, then click on Draft Supplemental Negative Declaration (Exhibit 3) and download the PDF pages 214 and 233. By doing the simple math calculation one can obtain the difference between the volumes for northbound coming out of the Posey tube (this is the volume approaching the 7th and Harrison intersection # 20: AM Existing is 902 thru and 1686 turning => total 2588 vehicles per hour; and AM Cumulative year 2035: 869 thru and 1738 turning => total 2607 vph). This calculates to only 19 more cars per hour above the report’s today’s AM peak hour volume into the Posey tube after all the developments are built including Alameda Point for the Cumulative condition without Del Monte, the cumulative condition upon which Del Monte was tested for its future traffic impacts. And then concluding neither Del Monte nor all the other projects combined would produce zero traffic impacts at the west end.

And the last paragraph on page 253 provides the consultant’s parking conclusion (TR-9) of no parking problems.
Unfortunately, Council is not questioning these reports with the hidden incorrect data and unbelievable results even after the residents raise these concerns. Instead, Council is ignoring the future traffic problems, does not perform the effort to find financially feasible infrastructure solutions nor assess how much development is feasible for the island. Sad but true.


Alameda City Leaders “LISTEN” (only) when we vote.

Alameda Sun LETTERS

Fool the Incumbents Before They Fool Us

Have you driven the main thoroughfares of Alameda lately: Park and Webster streets, Island Drive, Buena Vista, Lincoln and Central avenues? Have you driven through the tubes or crossed the bridges any time around the morning or evening commute?

Recently, thanks to a non-fatal accident in the tube, it took my wife 90 minutes to get from the Webster Tube (which the accident closed) to Marina Village via Interstate 880, the Embarcadero and the Park Street Bridge — a distance of less than five miles.

Does any of this make you wonder about what’s coming: worst-case, a Napa-like 6.1 event that destroys the island’s infrastructure; best case, already approved and planned development that leads to more congestion and gridlock. And if you think you’re safe because you don’t live on one of the main thoroughfares or near the tubes or bridges, think again. If the main thoroughfares are jammed, drivers will be looking for alternate routes, and those routes are your quiet neighborhood streets. Given what is coming, none of us (except maybe the developers) will emerge unscathed.

Mayor Marie Gilmore and the City Council have planned (construction has already begun on some) 1,100-plus housing units to be built between the Posey and Webster tubes and the Park Street Bridge, all of them along Buena Vista and Clement avenues. Another 1,425 housing units are planned for Alameda Point (all using the tubes for ingress and egress) with the first 800 units to begin construction as soon as possible.

Given that each unit averages two cars, that’s 5,000-plus vehicles added to Alameda’s roadways, entering and exiting through the tubes or over the Park Street Bridge. That doesn’t include the 8,000 to 10,000 additional cars to be added by new housing construction on the Oakland side at Brooklyn Basin and Jack London Square — all of it backing up in Chinatown, Broadway, Jackson Street, Fifth 23rd and 29th avenues, as well as Interstate 880. That’s 13,000 cars — 15,000 more when all of the building is done!

These changes are already in the works. Additionally, Gilmore and the City Council have approved another 1,540 “housing opportunity sites,” which would add 3,000 more cars into the mix. These units have not yet been contracted out, though given the values and priorities of the current “leadership” of Alameda there can be no doubt about the outcome: more development and more congestion and a worsening of the quality of our lives.

What makes these plans and approvals even more dubious is that the mayor and City Council justify them by saying they are “required.” According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and its “Regional Housing Needs Allocation” report, Alameda only needs to add 1,723 new housing units through 2022. In other words, Alameda Point (1,425 units) and Alameda Landing (284 units) alone fulfill Alameda’s housing obligations through the year 2022. Nothing more is “required.” That’s the good news.

The better news is it is election time, the only time that “leaders” listen.

Recently more than 6,000 Alamedans signed a petition opposing the sale of Crown Beach area properties to a private developer for housing. Gilmore and the City Council, against all of its greediest and short-sighted desires, demurred and voted — as the petitions demanded — to maintain the area as open space and to stop its active pursuit of the sale. Why? Because two of the sale’s most vocal and active supporters — Gilmore and Chen — are up for re-election and they don’t want those 6,000 people voting against them. Gilmore and the City Council voted to stop the sale of land at Crown Beach, hoping to remove that item from the election agenda. I’m writing this letter in the hope of keeping it on.

Remember, the mayor and City Council tried to give away the Chuck Corica Golf Course. They are still dickering with Ron Cowan over the Harbor Bay Club. These are the same people who ignored the public vote and City Charter regarding multiple family housing and Measure WW regarding the use of Crown Beach and public land. Gilmore and the City Council seem to have not met a construction project they haven’t gleefully embraced, regardless of its impact on the existing community and the concomitant reduction of the quality of life. Elect them and expect — and we’ll get — more of the same.

Luckily, though, we have choices.

Frank Matarrese, former councilman, has written several public letters arguing for fewer housing units and more light industry, adding jobs and reducing congestion. He’s also argued for more open space and more public input in land-use decisions before those decisions are made… It’s true, he has a spotty history

and he originally supported the 5,000 housing SunCal plan. However, he seems to have re-thought those issues and he has been publicly counseling less housing and slower growth. He has also publicly recognized transportation and congestion — this is an island after all — as matters to be addressed before development takes place, not after. Ask him where he stands on these issues today, and if his positions haven’t changed, vote for him.

Trish Herrera Spencer, current school board member, is running for mayor. She worked to get signatures on the Crown Beach petition. We know how she feels about Crown Beach. We also know she is not pleased with the secret, back-door, land swap deal recently made by the Alameda Unified School District. She was the only member of the school board to vote “no” on the new $176 million school bond. If she has the same concern and caution about lack of public input in general, and she believes traffic issues must be addressed before development takes place, vote for her.

Jim Oddie is a staff person for Rob Bonta, which is not good news, as Bonta, too, never seemed to see a construction and housing project he didn’t love. Bonta is one of those who voted to override the City Charter and rezone single family properties into multi-story, multi-family complexes before he was elected to the state legislature and got out of town.

Still, Oddie is not necessarily Bonta, and perhaps he is his own man with his own thoughts; though it’s impossible to tell. His campaign website skillfully manages to say nothing. Ask him about public input and land use and transportation plans and gridlock at the many community meetings he will attend, and see what he publicly says — and writes. If his answers are correct, vote for him.

Gilmore seems incapable of doing anything other than opening the new Walgreens. Chen has past legal problems and a reputation for easy-going, do-nothing, going along with the crowd.

Remember, three votes change everything. It’s a working majority of the City Council.

If you don’t like the direction Alameda is racing toward, vote the incumbents out. They are counting on low voter turnout, despair, fatigue and short memories. Fool them before they fool us.

“Anyone but the incumbents” should be the mantra for the 2014 election for City Council and Mayor. Say it: “Anyone but the incumbents.” It feels as good as it sounds, and the city you save is your own.

Mark Greenside is an Alameda resident and retired professor of political science, history, and English.


MAXIMUM CAPACITY

A LETTER from Heather Little

To the members of the Alameda City Council and Planning Board,

As members of our city leadership, I would like to ask if the concept of “maximum capacity” is a part of your decision making process when considering the numerous, high density development projects that are either underway or close to being underway all across our island? I recognize the need to allow for incremental growth and “do our part” to address the ever increasing population of the Bay Area, but the current rate of growth currently planned for our island far exceeds what is required by the Association of Bay Area Governments. In their current projected plan to address population increases over the next 8 years, the City of Alameda is only required to increase our population by a total of 1, 723 persons which you can see very clearly in Appendix C of their Regional Housing Need Plan for the San Francisco Bay Area: 2014‐2022. Yet we are potentially going to be meeting this increase requirement with just one of the projected planned projects!

With this in mind, I know we have room for development, but unlike most other bay area cities, our unique geographic circumstances lead me to believe that we have already exceeded safe levels of maximum capacity that is a required safety measure for all confined spaces.   Particularly for central and western Alameda, where all residents primarily use an aging tube to vacate, this is of extreme concern. I would request that we start remembering that we live on an island, a confined space, which requires some measure of discussion about what our ultimate limits and abilities to accommodate truly are. The argument that we “already don’t have enough egress off of the island to safely address the needs of the current population in the event of a major catastrophic event, so why should it matter if we add more?” doesn’t sit well with me.

If ABAG recognizes that incremental growth, 1,723 additional persons over 8 years, is sufficient to the needs of the bay area, why the hurry to build, build build? How are you prepared to address the traffic and parking congestion that is taking place across our city now, let alone after these multiple density housing projects are finished? You say you want to encourage a “green” city by reducing the ability (or desire) to have a single occupancy vehicle (car) yet I, as an avid cyclist, walker, scooter-er don’t see this city doing anything tangible to reduce car dependence. Where are our 0 pollution days? Our commute to work days? Our bike to the grocery days? Come on city leaders, we need more action and less talk.

Heather Little

Home owner

Plan! Alameda supporter


TRISH FOR MAYOR!

Yesterday, Trish Herrera Spencer, current school board member, pulled papers to run for Mayor!  WOOT!

Some quotes from Trish’s facebook page where she announced her run:

“You are everywhere in Alameda I’ve never seen anyone so active with the people. Trish for mayor! For the people and
by the people! Let’s do this!”

Congratulations for throwing in your hat!!!  You can make a difference!!!! You have a lot of people who support you in Alameda – yeah!!!”

“OMG! (we) were just saying that you should totally run for mayor! Congrats!!!”

“You got MY vote sweetie! Let me know if you need help with the campaign, Madam Almost Mayor.”

“Oh my goodness I am so excited! Couldn’t think of a better candidate!”

“Thank you, Trish!!!! What can i do to help?”

“Trish. I’m so excited for you and happy for Alameda!”

“Please post your ACTBLUE fundraising page ASAP so we can get behind you now!”

“Go Trish!! You have my support and my vote!”