Planning Board to consider Del Monte parking plan

Planning Board to consider Del Monte parking plan

Michele Ellson
Del Monte

The Planning Board is set on Monday to consider signing off on a parking plan for the proposed redevelopment of the Del Monte warehouse.

The parking plan and changes intended to make the streets that surround the Del Monte more bicycle and pedestrian friendly are all that remain subject to the Planning Board’s okay. The City Council is expected to consider final approvals for the development proposal on December 2.

Homebuilder Tim Lewis Communities is asking for permission to build up to 414 new dwellings on the Del Monte property, including 308 inside the building itself. The Planning Board offered most of its approvals in September, but members asked for more information on the parking and street configurations.

The city has sought to limit the amount of parking on the site and to require residents to pay for it separately as part of a strategy for reducing car use. But neighbors have balked at the parking proposal, saying the site needs more space for cars and that the developer and the city need to provide assurances residents and visitors to the new development won’t further strain the existing parking supply, which they said is already overburdened.

City staffers said they asked Tim Lewis to limit parking on the site to allow slightly less parking than what’s already in the neighborhood, in order to discourage car use. They said less parking will be needed because more than half of the units to be built in the warehouse will be studios or one-bedroom apartments.

A study of other transit-oriented East Bay developments – those that are designed in an effort to draw people who don’t own cars – showed that they offered less parking per unit than what’s proposed for the Del Monte. Car trips are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda, according to a staff report.

The parking program is one element of a traffic management plan that purports to reduce the amount of traffic the development is expected to create by more than a third.

Under the proposed plan, the Del Monte’s property manager would set to-be-determined lease and sale prices for parking spaces, which will be sold and leased separately from the Del Monte dwellings. Renters will be permitted to lease up to two parking spaces, while buyers will be allowed to purchase one space and lease a second, as long as parking supplies last.

City staffers project that the 415 parking spaces to be offered to residents of the 308 dwellings will be enough to satisfy those needs. And the plan offers to reduce the cost of the parking from its original price until 90 percent of it is in use, in an effort to prevent residents from ditching on-site parking in favor of street parking. Additional spaces, if there are any, could be leased to nonresidents of the building.

In a letter, Alison Greene of PLAN! Alameda asked the city to consider requiring a to-be-established transportation management authority – which would oversee traffic control efforts along the Northern Waterfront neighborhood where the Del Monte sits – to create parking permit and traffic monitoring plans for the neighborhood. Greene has also asked the city to survey parking on adjacent streets after the project is approved and to conduct annual parking and car use surveys at the Del Monte.

In their report, city staffers agreed to most of the recommendations, though they said the idea of a parking permit program was “poorly received.”

Greene said she thinks parking should be included with the purchase or lease of a dwelling at the Del Monte instead of being sold separately, and that Tim Lewis should have some responsibility for addressing neighborhood parking impacts its development may cause. She said details and caveats from her group’s recommendation are missing from the staff report.

“As always, the devil is in the details,” Greene said.

Other items the board will consider include narrowing parking stalls on Clement Avenue and Entrance Road to better accommodate bicycles and replacing some streetlights proposed for the roads surrounding the project with stop signs.

The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. An agenda and materials are on the city’s website.

Comments

Submitted by elliott gorelick (not verified) on Fri, Oct 24, 2014

Please correct me if I'm wrong but every other location that is transit oriented ("A study of other transit-oriented East Bay developments") is within walking distance of a BART station. If my assumption is true (and it is just an assumption) I would vote no just based on the massive dishonesty involved in trying to persuade somebody with that kind of apples to oranges comparison.

Submitted by Toni Garcia (not verified) on Fri, Oct 24, 2014

Paying for parking without addressing overflow to the adjacent streets will only drive the residents to park on the street. I live in the area and parking is already pretty hard to come by, especially when there is a little league or soccer game at Little John Park. How about issuing neighborhood parking permits to current residents in the area. When the new homes are built, the new residents will either have to pay for their parking or not own cars at all.

Submitted by 10dB (not verified) on Fri, Oct 24, 2014

Take the time to read the official documents! Fully one-third of the limited parking envisioned for DelMonte will be assigned to planned commercial tenants. That means there will be exactly ONE parking space available to each owner/tenant *family* residing in DelMonte. Some of the traffic mitigation ideas seem excellent (like shuttles to BART) but not everyone works near BART. Even if only one member of a family works an outside job, how does a non-working spouse get to the grocery store, etc, when the working one must use the car to commute? I agree with the Littlejohn area residents -- the city needs to monitor the success of any traffic mitigation plan and be willing to adjust it if it isn't working. Right now, I can see Littlejohn and Wind River parking filled with DelMonte overflow.

Submitted by Gerard L. (not verified) on Fri, Oct 24, 2014

Took a drive down Wilver Way today. Recent developments look like the West End of Alameda got hit with an ugly stick.

I hope the planning board is more critical of the proposed Del Monte project than the Planning Board that approved the auto-centric and windowless Wilver Way development.

What's next for Alameda? A post office, bowling alley and movie theater on our shoreline?

You can't fix stupid.

Submitted by elliott gorelick (not verified) on Sat, Oct 25, 2014

Wow. Just Wow. I know planning board member John Knox White hates it when people call liars out, but here is the actual study that the comment in the staff report is based on: http://www.uctc.net/research/papers/882.pdf . You will notice that it includes 16 transit oriented developments and not the 9 that the city staff chose to cherry pick. Also, all of these communities are indeed centered around BART locations. In each of these communities, except for 2, the supplied parking is greater than the proposed parking for Del Monte. The weighted average of required parking is 1.2 spaces per unit which is slightly less than the 1.35 per unit weighted average for the entire 16 developments in the study, but considerably less than the 1.59 available spaces for those communities.

In short, staff used only 9 of the 16 surveyed communities in their cited study. They failed to point out that these communities were in very close proximity to BART stations (thus ignoring the apples to oranges nature of their citation). Finally, they ignored the fact that these actually developed communities had a weighted average supply of parking equal to 1.59/unit which is the same as the surrounding neighborhoods existing supply. I am comfortable in calling this dishonesty; I hope that someone will follow-up on why/how this bit of dishonesty got published by the city even though it is a relatively minor point in the argument.

Submitted by elliott gorelick (not verified) on Sat, Oct 25, 2014

CORRECTION:

"The weighted average of required parking is 1.2 spaces per unit which is slightly less than the 1.35 per unit weighted average for the entire 16 developments in the study, but considerably less than the 1.59 available spaces for those communities."

should have read:

"The weighted average of required parking is 1.2 spaces per unit for the 16 developments which is slightly less than the 1.35 per unit proposed for Del Monte, but considerably less than the 1.59 available spaces for those communities in study."

Submitted by AL076 (not verified) on Thu, Nov 6, 2014

Is there anything we can do to shrink the size of the project? Protest?Start working on getting members of the planning board removed/fired? How do we hold members of the planning board accountable? Because in reality it sounds like ousting the mayor and a couple city council members isn't going to change much when variances and such are being issued. This is what it sounds like allowed the Del Monte project to grow to such outrageous proportions. It seems like 200 living units would more of an ideal amount of units. But is there anything we can do to push Mr. Lewis and the planning board back closer to that number?