For ferry riders, easing of Harbor Bay parking restrictions proposed

For ferry riders, easing of Harbor Bay parking restrictions proposed

Michele Ellson

Harbor Bay ferry riders who are struggling to find someplace to park may soon have new legal, on-street options. But some homeowners who live near the ferry terminal say they want better parking enforcement, not relaxed restrictions.

The Transportation Commission is set to consider relaxing parking restrictions temporarily on a section of Adelphian Way and permanently on a portion of Harbor Bay Parkway, opening dozens of spots for ferry riders. The commission is slated to take up the matter on Wednesday night.

Ferry riders are supporting the parking proposals, saying they are having a hard time finding legal parking ahead of their morning ferry commute.

“I have been a resident of Alameda for over nine years and have used the ferry as my primary mode of transportation to commute to work. The increase in ferry riders and thus, the lack of parking has made my commute significantly more challenging,” resident and commuter Tracy Holmes wrote in one of dozens of e-mails the city received on the topic.

But some residents say they don’t want the additional cars clogging up their streets, and they want the city, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority - and managers of the Harbor Bay Business Park - to come up with other solutions to their parking problem.

“The proposed plan for parking on Adelphian and Mecartney will only be a temporary fix … which is why we need additional parking in the business park away from the neighborhoods,” Myra Lim wrote in an e-mail to the city. “Neighborhoods should not be used as a parking lot.”

Ferry ridership increased after a series of BART strikes in 2013, and that has meant a shortage of parking at both of Alameda’s ferry terminals. City and ferry authority staffers have been looking for solutions to address the flow of parked cars spilling out of lots and, in the case of the Harbor Bay ferry, into residential neighborhoods.

Already, the city painted a series of red curbs along Adelphian Way to stop riders from parking too close to corners and crosswalks and in front of fire hydrants. The city also installed street sweeping signs restricting parking on that street.

City staffers originally proposed temporarily removing the two-hour parking restriction on one side of Adelphian Way between Mecartney Road and Creedon Circle and also, opening more than two dozen spaces along Mecartney Road. The Mecartney proposal caused an outcry among residents who were concerned that additional parking there could create a safety hazard for cyclists using the bike lane there and pedestrians.

Residents offered mixed opinions about the Adelphian Way parking proposal, with some opposing the move and others saying that ferry commuters already park on the street without being ticketed. The Community of Harbor Bay Isle Owners Association signaled its opposition to the original parking proposals, and they said they want the city to conduct better parking enforcement.

“Our overriding goal as a master association is to ensure that a high quality of life exists for our members and to ensure real estate values remain high. We do not believe the proposed changes support either of those goals,” George Kay, the association’s executive director, wrote in a letter to the city dated March 3.

Taking a cue from residents, city staffers nixed the proposed parking on Mecartney Road and are offering parking on Adelphian as a temporary fix while more permanent solutions are sought. If approved, the changes would open 24 spots on Adelphian between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and leave seven more as two-hour spots for people who stop by to enjoy the shoreline.

City staffers are also proposing to open 25 spots on Harbor Bay Parkway permanently, with the same restrictions on overnight parking. Parking changes on both streets will require approval from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which holds the permits restricting parking on both streets.

The parking would be put in place while the city and ferry authority consider longer term options that include the purchase and development of an adjacent lot into more parking and better connections via enhanced shuttle or AC Transit service. Residents also proposed improved bike and motorcycle parking at the existing ferry lot. Other suggestions the city is following up on include charging for parking in the ferry lot and setting up a permit parking program for residents.

The temporary loosening of parking restrictions on Adelphian could be undone if it’s determined the parking is no longer needed by ferry patrons. A review of the changes could be undertaken as early as 12 months from when they’re put in place.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The meeting will also be broadcast live on Comcast cable channel 15 and AT&T cable channel 99 and webcast live on the city’s website.

The staff report and additional materials on the parking proposals are here.