Amblin' Alameda: Alameda Point

Amblin' Alameda: Alameda Point

Morton Chalfy

The City Council is preparing to approve a slew of planning documents that will ease future development at Alameda Point, and I'd like to toss my few pennies into the ring.

The basis of most of the suggestions from our friends and neighbors, city staff, our politicians and SunCal with its doomed plan has been, 'How can we benefit from this windfall of a property?' And benefit has been defined as making money for the city.

With money as a basis, our choices are narrowed to what kind and how much development will we allow? The battles over development have been fought and re-fought in this NIMBY-minded area. How many houses? How many businesses? How much can be set aside for low-income residences?

Money makes us think in certain ways and they are not always the best ways to think. Certainly not for a city. A city should be civic-minded and focused on its youth. It should consider quality of life issues for all its citizens, wealthy as well as not-so-wealthy, and a city should, as much as it can in a free society, put the needs and wants of its current citizenry ahead of anything else.

To that end I would like to see the maximum acreage on Alameda Point devoted to parks and recreation with an emphasis on waterfront access. Just imagine if half the area was devoted to recreation of all types and if any new development utilized as much existing infrastructure as possible. I believe it would have an effect on the city analogous to the effect Central Park has on New York. That large tract of greensward in the center of the country's premier city raises the quality of life for all its inhabitants and, by being taken out of the “develop every inch of available land,” raises the value of every other property in Manhattan.

The same would be true for Alameda. A large park would maintain and increase land values throughout the rest of the city and would increase the quality of life for its residents. Adding any large number of homes to the area would do neither of those things. Development doesn't enrich anyone but the developers and a large development on the Point would have several negative impacts, increased traffic being one and a big lawsuit from the City of Oakland over all the traffic through the tube for two.

I'm not against all development at the Point. I'd like to see an assisted living complex for one thing, and I'd like to see more of the infrastructure there used to incubate new businesses. What I fear is the squandering of a quality of life opportunity in pursuit of profit and a traffic backup at Posey Tube that starts at Lincoln Avenue

Lincoln. Wasn't he the one who said, “Of the people, by the people and for the people?” Not “Of the bureaucracy, by the developers for the profit of a few.”


Submitted by P Wilson (not verified) on Tue, Feb 4, 2014

I couldn't agree more with this perspective. I hear it often around town. But I wonder why we don't hear it from our elected officials. It's hard to know what current residents get from more development.

Submitted by Carol Fairweather (not verified) on Tue, Feb 4, 2014

You are so right, Mort! Once this opportunity to make the base a special place and not just another huge development is gone, it's gone forever. Adding marshes that can help absorb rising water could benefit many in Alameda. Climate change is here.