Developing Del Monte a Real Blessing

We have a significant traffic congestion problem associated with the former Del Monte that will be greatly alleviated with the proposed conversion of the warehouse to condominiums, retail and open space.

As a resident living across from the Sherman Street entrance of the warehouse we contend daily with tractor-trailer congestion, noise and diesel fumes.

The warehouse currently houses DAMCO, a commercial shipping enterprise. With the upcoming post-Thanksgiving shopping push, tractor trailers are moving in and out of the warehouse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The truck congestion is so significant that two or more Alameda police officers are posted at the entrances of the warehouse to help move trucks safely in and out of our residential neighborhood. Once we return to "normal" trucks will run from 4 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.

The Planning Board recommended that the City Council approve the proposed project to convert the warehouse to condos and retail space. As someone directly affected by the current tractor-trailer traffic at the site, I want to echo that endorsement.

The conversion to condos and its proposed alternative transportation plan (e.g. a water shuttle, bus shuttle, bus passes, bike storage and car share spots, not to mention the Clement Avenue and Sweeney Park developments) would make significant improvements to a neighborhood much in need.

Among the concerns for the families living near the warehouse is the associated air pollution from the trucking operation. Despite running an air filter and cleaning our home regularly we find our window sills and shades covered in black soot weekly.

Exposure to diesel fumes, especially for young children of whom there are many on our block, increases the risk of asthma, other respiratory illnesses and cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Other risks include premature births, heart illnesses and more.

By converting the commercial shipping center to condos we trade tractor trailers for homes with a mix of people using cars, bikes, buses and feet to get to work and school.

The conversion of the Del Monte Warehouse to homes and away from commercial trucking is a net positive for our community. It is a more appropriate use of the space.

I urge the City Council to approve the Del Monte Warehouse conversion proposal and put our neighborhood on a course for being a healthier, more walkable and attractive community for all.

Jeanne Merrill lives in Alameda.