Amblin’ Alameda: Strolling Central Avenue

Amblin’ Alameda: Strolling Central Avenue

Morton Chalfy

Yesterday I had occasion to run an errand on Santa Clara Avenue just east of Park Street while my sweetie had an appointment on Central Avenue near Eighth Street. We’re a one-car family and I need as much exercise as I can get, so I decided to walk to meet her when my errand was completed.

Central Avenue from Park Street to my destination is a good indicator of the make-up of Alameda and the state of its health. Marching along, I couldn’t help noticing the extensive re-construction of the avenue. Some company called Ranger Pipelines is engaged in a sort of stealth repair and replacement of blocks of piping which requires digging up the street, replacing presumably aging pipes and resurfacing the roadway. Their No Parking signs dominate the scene and many cross streets are closed off while the work continues. The fact that reports about this project have been under the radar, (under mine at least) makes me feel rather good about the workings of the city. Media reports aside, the city continues to function.

The distribution of building types along the avenue is varied and eclectic: Many churches, many substantial single family homes, many more modest homes and very many apartment-type houses. Marching along as I do there isn’t enough time to do more than glance at buildings and gardens and plantings and note with delight the canopy that arches over the road. What is also noticeable is the amount of construction in the form of painting, house repair and upgrading that is taking place.

The overall impression given by this length of Alameda is of a wealthy city where maintenance and reconstruction is alive and well. For the moment the work on the pipelines has reduced the traffic on Central to a fraction of what's usual and closed it off to traffic completely for several blocks. This unnatural quiet leads to a greater appreciation of the area. Personally I would wish for more pedestrian usage of the sidewalks, but then I’m prejudiced in favor of walking. At least while I still can.