You said it: Much-needed improvements at Alameda’s gateways

You said it: Much-needed improvements at Alameda’s gateways

Frank Matarrese

Some much-needed attention is being given to Alameda’s gateways. The Park Street plan for North of Lincoln had its first hearing at the City Council last week, generating interest and healthy debate. There’s news too, that Caltrans is considering refurbishing the Tubes at the West End entrance to Alameda. Both are long overdue.

For the Park Street north of Lincoln planning, I hope that the council heeds concerns over having building heights of over 40 feet, to avoid the “canyon” effect of tall buildings right at the head of the city’s main street. Addressing the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to renewed commercial development fronting on Park Street and along Blanding Avenue is critical. The residents of the new Boatworks project to the west and in the Wedge neighborhood to the east deserve careful consideration. Planning Board and City Council agendas are filled with items that show just how delicate the balance is for the transition from commercial to residential use and anyone who has attended hearings about businesses next to homes and has seen first-hand the challenges of noise, parking and traffic that are hard to really appreciate in plans and presentation drawings.

Between now and the next City Council hearing on April 16, it is important that people express their desires to the council and planners for this entrance to Alameda and urge the city forward, while putting the remnants of the bygone auto row behind. It is up to the community and the City Council to ensure results that reflect Alameda’s high standards and community pride in its main street and neighborhoods.

On the West End, some Caltrans attention to the Tubes is welcome, indeed. The city, however, must make efforts not to stop with the Tube portals but continue the work on to Webster Street. While Webster Street has undergone great streetscape improvements, the stretch between the Tubes and Willie Stargell looks woefully unkempt as one enters and exits the Tubes, with debris and grit at the road edges and overgrown landscaping and weeds sprinkled with trash curbside. Just as on Park Street, addressing this section between this gateway to the city and the Webster Street and Willie Stargell interchange improvements is key to the vitality of the West End. This project could be closely coordinated with work at Alameda Landing with a common goal of sprucing up the streetscape around the Tubes and College of Alameda campus.

Supporting plans for to address these key Alameda entrances at Park and Webster Streets will be worth the price in keeping City property values up, protecting the City’s investment in street scape improvements on both Park and Webster Streets and continuing to build civic pride across the City.