Amblin’ Alameda: Posey Tube
Amblin’ Alameda: Posey Tube
Alameda is tied to Oakland by four bridges and a tunnel. One bridge connects to Bay Farm Island and thence to the airport, three bridges cross the Estuary within a mile of each other at the eastern half of the Island (Park Street, Fruitvale and High Street) and the Posey Tube connects the West End to Oakland through Chinatown.
I’m often at the area of Posey Tube as my health club is located right next to it and many of our medical visits take place on Telegraph Avenue. Next to the health club is the new location of Target, scheduled to open in October of this year. After a slow start the massive building is rising rapidly and the entire site is being prepared for a major shopping center. As it happens the center will overlook the Alameda side of the tunnel.
There is no doubt from its location that Target expects to draw at least half, if not more, of its customer base from Oakland. We hope it will be a successful store and an interesting shopping center, but a glance at the tunnel and its entrances on both sides of the Estuary warns us that massive traffic jams will become the norm as soon as the stores open. One dreads to think of the Christmas shopping season in that area.
Perhaps my fears are overblown and the calculations of the developers will turn out to be true (that there is plenty of capacity for their traffic) but even if I’m a little correct, and anyone who commutes through the tunnel can attest to backups caused by minor delays, good business for the center will mean packed roadways through Posey Tube.
And now the city wants to encourage the building of more than a thousand homes on Alameda Point. The exact number is unclear as the reports from the city leave the exact number unclear, but even a thousand homes (and the average of two cars plus per home) mean a sharp increase in the load to be borne by the tunnel.
Personally I’d rather see more parkland along the waterfront, more social services usage and fewer homes and autos in the development of Alameda Point. The open space and public usages (the public does own the land) would be far more valuable to the citizenry of Alameda than more housing on that property. The tax dollars that will accrue to the city may not nearly offset the additional costs of services and the possibly massive gridlock leading into and out of the Posey Tube.
In the calculations of development both the governing body and the developers are focused on money, either taxes or profit. Left out of this equation are the interests of the current residents of the city. The value of available recreation at the shore, of public spaces with flexible uses and improvements in the quality of life do not come with dollar values attached and so are disregarded. For the developers this is business as usual. For the city it feels like a betrayal of its citizens.