Tag Archives: Alameda

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.

 


It’s on: Council of repeal

Tuesday, January 6, City Council Meeting Agenda is here. Time to start attending meetings, think what we think, and share it at the podium. This mayor respects and wishes to hear our ideas questions, and concerns. This mayor wants to optimize our future for we-the-residents. We can all now participate in our city democracy because, well, it’s no longer a waste of time. We can be co-creative (vs. the past decade where we were ignored and had to fight with laws and petitions to be heard). As Madam Mayor Spencer would say: LET’S DO THIS!

Alameda Merry-Go-Round

As one of her first official acts, Mayor Trish Spencer has placed on the January 6 Council agenda an item seeking repeal of the ordinances approving the Del Monte development project that were passed by the former Council as they headed for the exits.

Del Monte from Fortmann corner 3

The Merry-Go-Round suspects that those who backed the losers in the last election will characterize this move as a spiteful effort to undo the good works of the defeated and termed-out incumbents.  As such, it confirms the Inner Ringers’ caricature of Ms. Spencer as the candidate of “No.”

But our mission is not to incite ad hominem attacks on the new Mayor.  (There’s already a daily blog dedicated to that purpose).  Instead, we want to explore what kind of case Ms. Spencer and her supporters can make – on the merits – for reversing the prior Council’s action.

View original post 2,868 more words


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


THE POWER

REMEMBER FOLKS:

THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER.

VOTE TRISH FOR MAYOR!!!!

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2014


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!”


Want LBNL?

Think move AFD (Alameda Fire Department) to ACFD (Alameda County Fire Department). Seriously.

One cannot but think that the recent extreme and unnecessary failures of our AFD (FISC, Crude Oil, Zack) will impact the lab’s decision to locate in Alameda.

One cannot but think the substandard management at the AFD would be an issue for the LBNL. It seems to me that the fact that Mayor Gilmore replaced a qualified chief with an unqualified one would be a red flag for the LBNL team looking at Alameda. Our AFD Interim Fire Chief D’Orazi lacks the qualifications to be a chief officer: see for yourself: the qualifying documents for the AFD management are here.  And doesn’t that mean D’Orazi’s title should be Acting Interim Fire Chief?

And worse:  the two qualified assistant chiefs at AFD recently departed: Fisher and Vogelsang. … Continue reading