Ferry Parking Reaches Overflow Status

The city of Alameda Public Works Department held a community meeting to discuss staff recommended parking improvements on Adelphian Way and Mecartney Road Tuesday at Bay Farm Elementary School’s multipurpose room.

The city and the Water Emergency and Transportation Agency (WETA), the agency that runs the ferry service, have been working together to come up with a solution to provide more parking for ferry riders near the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal. 

The city and WETA propose to remove the two-hour parking restriction and provide 24 unrestricted parking spaces on the landward side of Adelphian Way, between Mecartney Road and the crosswalk by the lagoon, according to a letter from the city to Alameda residents in the area. The letter is dated Feb. 5. The proposed plan also would shift the roadway markings to provide 32 unrestricted parking spaces along the south side of the street; the side closer to the ferry terminal. 

The plan has concerned some residents living along Adelphian and Mecartney.

“The city’s solution is to further burden the residential neighborhoods,” wrote an Alameda resident who lives near the terminal in a letter obtained by the Alameda Sun. “Mecartney and Adelphian are neighborhood streets, not parking lots. The city proposes unrestricted parking along Adelphian. In the long term, this will only encourage overnight parking of vehicles — not something we want at our entryway. The city may say that these proposals are intended to ease the burden directly in the neighborhoods, but it is only a short term band aid, ineffective, and may ultimately have a greater negative impact.”

The resident stated that when the terminal was opened, the design was for it to be closed off from the community.

“Our master plan clearly intended to separate the residential neighborhoods from the business park, of which the ferry terminal is a part,” said the resident whose name is being withheld. “If you recall, when the ferry terminal first opened, there was an entry gate that prohibited business traffic from coming into the neighborhoods. In fact, unless you lived in the neighborhood, you had to access the terminal from the Business Park direction. Ferry commuters are now parking throughout the neighborhoods. Neighborhoods should not serve as a commercial parking lot.” 

The letter asks the city to use all possibilities before they burden residents.

“I believe that before the City allows and, in fact, promotes parking in the residential neighborhoods on a permanent basis, they should exhaust all remedies to find ferry commuter parking in the business park and adjacent vacant land. The city has not done this.”

Whether the parking options increase along Adelphian or somewhere else, the problem does not seem it will be going away anytime soon. Ridership at the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal has nearly doubled since before the BART strike back in 2013.

“I’d say right now were at about 600 riders a day at that site,” said Kevin Connolly, planning and development manager for WETA. “Before the strike there were about 350 riders a day.”

Connolly said WETA has tried other motives to curb the number of riders who need to park. WETA has added bike lockers and bike racks at the terminal and has worked with AC Transit to improve its on-time performance at the terminal bus stop. 

If you were unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting, submit written comments to Alameda Assistant Engineer Alan Ta, at City Hall West, 950 West Mall Sq., Room 110, Alameda, CA 94501 or email ata@alamedaca.gov. The final recommendation will be presented to the Transportation Commission on Wednesday, March 25.

Contact Ekene Ikeme at eikeme@alamedasun.com.