Most Alamedans, I believe, would agree that the brick façade of the historic Del Monte warehouse is gorgeous and should be protected and preserved. They also likely welcome increased access to the Oakland Estuary and more open space and agree that we need affordable housing.
The development of the 11-acre Del Monte site is a good way to accomplish these goals. This would all work if development is done right, which, unfortunately for all of us, it is not.
I attended the Alameda Planning board meeting on Monday Sept. 22. I watched the Planning Board recommend the adoption of plans to convert the Del Monte into 400 new housing units and 30,000 feet of retail and commercial space.
The board gave the builder an hour to make his presentation (which was basically the same sales pitch he’s made many times before), then limited the audience participation to three minutes (down from five minutes they are typically allotted).
I can count the number of friends that I have in Alameda on one hand. This is especially astonishing given the fact that I was born in Alameda and have lived there for 18 years. I went home to Marina Village every day, but something was missing. I frequented Park Street, played soccer at Alameda Point, and attended the Fourth of July parade annually, yet I never felt like part of the community. I felt this way because of my education.
It’s no wonder City Council and mayoral candidates are focusing on parks this campaign season.
Residents have been up in arms over several park issues in recent years and have had to sponsor three ballot initiatives to keep open space from being developed, most recently at Crab Cove. Just months ago, the city council removed the 18-year-old "regional park" designations from Alameda Point planning maps.
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.