Letters to the Editor
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the city’s Transportation Commission endorsed the concept for redesigning an important section of California State Route 61 along Central Avenue.
The concept in certain sections includes reducing vehicle lane widths from 11 feet to 10.5 feet, as well as removing one vehicle lane from each direction and providing a center left-turn lane. It also places a cycletrack in front of some homes and businesses, reduces the width for parking in front of many residences and businesses to seven feet and removes at least one business loading zone.
With a center left-turn lane, you may only travel in the center lane for a maximum of 200 feet, you may only enter it for the purpose of turning and you may not pass a stopped vehicle in a vehicle travel lane. Broadway and Fernside Boulevard are not highways, there are few if any businesses on these streets, but there are many businesses on Central Avenue.
With the center left-turn lane and fewer loading zones, if a truck driver double parks in order to make a pick up or delivery, traffic must stop and not pass that truck until it leaves.
Here’s where “Takesgiving” comes in. The design takes away one or more business loading zones and gives the street space to bicyclists only. It also takes away the existing wider parking spaces in front of many residences and businesses and gives the street space for only bicyclists to use.
I do not think that the city should be discriminating against residents and businesses who work and live along Central Avenue just to give more street access to bicyclists.
Remember, bicyclists already may ride practically everywhere in officially designated “Bike Friendly Alameda.” Such city action should only be necessary in a city that is not bicycle friendly.
We want to thank all of you who have attended the Alameda Holiday Boutique in the past. This annual event of original fine art and crafts was held the first weekend in November at the Veterans Memorial Building. The boutique has had to close for lack of new volunteers.
Some 37 years ago, a few ladies and gentlemen combined their talents and energy to create this Alameda tradition of original homemade items. Sponsored by the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department (ARPD), the boutique supported many community groups.
We would like to thank Boy Scouts of America Troop 78 for setting up and taking down tables, Troop 11 for selling Christmas tree pick-up tickets and Girl Scouts of America Troop 30508 for serving desserts and refreshments.
Meals on Wheels and Friendly Visitors received exceptional donations from the public. Various schools raised funds with bake sales and BACK (Bay Area Crochet & Knit) raised money from their sales for donation purposes.
Also in the line of donations, every year the vendor fees, after expenses were met, were given to ARPD earmarked for the special needs program: Leisure Club.
If you attended this fun two-day event in the past, thank you.
As I was driving past Alameda Landing the other day, I heard the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. You know, the one where she sings “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
I have to say it reminded me a lot of what’s been happening in Alameda. Here we are living in paradise, but a few greedy developers keep trying to pave it over. Sure, it’s convenient to have Target and Safeway on the West End, but I’m not sure the other 30 or so stores in the complex were necessary given the retail space that already exists on Webster Street.
Booms happen. But while this one does, I beg our city planners to keep an eye on the grander vision of what our town will be in 10 or 20 years. Do we want Alameda to be a strip mall destination or a cohesive community? Condos where your neighbors are six feet away, cheap airport hotels, and big box retailers will guarantee the former.
Supporting our small business neighbors — and attracting new ones — by not allowing any more big boxes (with their corporate marketing budgets) will go a long way toward making sure our little island paradise keeps the one-of-a-kind environment developed over the years. We all should recognize that’s what makes it great.
So come ye bed-and-breakfast dreamers, quirky mom and pops and upstart chefs who want to open restaurants! Alameda is ripe for the picking. But only if the City Council isn’t set on paving our paradise over for yet another big box parking lot.