Letters to the Editor
We treasure Alameda, and we love the Harbor Bay community with its community-oriented design, its lagoons and walking paths and the location creating the finest, most livable community we have experienced anywhere in the U.S. We own a home near the current Harbor Bay Club (HBC) and easily walk there along the Bay Trail.
Ever since we moved to Alameda nearly 20 years ago we have been puzzled by the inflammatory opposition to most every new public project proposed to enhance our city. For instance the new library was opposed because it disregarded the history of the old library, yet the new one is loved and appreciated for its ease of use (I volunteer there).
The renovation of the Alameda Theater was opposed as something which would fail, would increase traffic and would cause long-term construction disruption, yet none of these has proven true and our thriving theater is a regional asset which brings customers to many other local businesses as well.
Now, in a shift which is attacking private business, the opposition is targeting the desire of HBC’s owner to move and build a new club. While it may be less convenient for us personally, we support the enhanced community value that a new club would foster and the new potential the redevelopment of the old club location presents.
From a business perspective it is clear that the old HBC is both physically and fiscally obsolete. It needs extensive, costly renovation and has valuable land with unused tennis courts. Most importantly it is no longer in an operationally viable location since competing clubs have grown up all around town in more visible and accessible locations.
Any responsible investor would look askance at pouring money into its current, remote, residential location. As a plus for everyone on Harbor Bay, a new, state-of-the-art club would enhance both the livability of our community and the value of our homes.
Finally, we feel that our community has many other needs which could be addressed in creatively using the current club location. One option that is especially needed is housing options for middle-income seniors who want independent living with a range of supportive services on site to enable us to live in place as we age.
Thus we would urge the exploration of development of such a continuing-care retirement community that could meet the needs of many Alamedans. Such a facility could also possibly offer some exercise options for nearby residents, and would certainly present a better traffic profile than even does the current club.
Alameda is a truly special town and we would hope its citizens would think openly about what is best for improving livability for the entire community by encouraging development which meets the needs of many. We encourage others who support this position to speak up.
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.