Water Emergency Transportation Authority

Harbor seals who now chill out on a crumbling dock off Alameda Point got some good news at the City Council's regular meeting Tuesday night: A project to build a new resting spot for the marine mammals is moving ahead.

The seals now use a derelict dock anchored in San Francisco Bay off Alameda Point as a “haul out” or platform to rest in between foraging for fish and other aquatic prey. But their current site is in the path of a planned maintenance and fueling site for public ferries operated by Water Emergency Transportation Agency. Up to 12 boats serving commuters on various bay routes could be accommodated at the facility.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, local news review. Here are your Alameda headlines for the week.

City Council members have asked Assistant City Manager Liz Warmerdam to serve as Alameda’s interim city manager when the city’s current manager, John Russo, leaves on May 1. The City Council voted unanimously last week to offer Warmerdam, who started her municipal career in Alameda and came back as assistant city manager in 2013, the interim city manager’s job.

Image courtesy of the City of Alameda.

Ferry boats carrying passengers across San Francisco Bay will be coming to Alameda for fuel and maintenance someday soon, the City Council decided Tuesday night.

Council members approved a lease for the long-planned facility and an agreement charging the Water Emergency Transportation Authority with building a new resting area for harbor seals who in habit a portion of the bay they seek to use despite two no votes by Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, who said the public did not have a chance to comment on the plan since it was presented to the city more than four years ago.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence headline review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

The City Council is set to consider leasing a waterfront site that could be home to the first construction project at Alameda Point – a maintenance and operations center for the Bay Area’s public ferry service.

Tonight, the council will consider offering initial approval of a 60-year lease granting the Water Emergency Transportation Authority a spot on West Hornet Avenue to build its planned four-story Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Center. If the council okays the lease, construction of the $45 million to $50 million project could begin in January and the facility could be ready to open by May 2017.

Wildlife watchers out at Alameda Point got a jolt in May when a section of pier used by harbor seals as a "haul out" where they can rest and nest disappeared.

City leaders seeking redevelopment of Alameda Point say more transit is a key strategy for reducing the amount of traffic new homes and businesses at the Point are expected to generate. But housing advocates have questioned whether there will be enough people living and working on the Point under the city’s existing plan to attract it when the development is done.

A rendering of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority's planned Central Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility at Alameda Point.

THE STORY: The Water Emergency Transportation Authority – which runs the Bay Area’s ferries – plans to build its Central Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility at Alameda Point. The planned facility – a 25,000 square foot building and four underground diesel vaults on a third of an acre on West Hornet Avenue, and 11 boat slips – would house fleet maintenance services, a control center and an emergency operations center for central bay ferry operations.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your Alameda news in brief. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

As a two-time performer at Carnegie Hall, former honors soloist for the Colorado and Stanford Suzuki Institute, and second-place winner of the 2014 American Protégé Competition for Piano and Strings, Alameda cellist Isabelle Brown-Lyden has the resume of a professional – and she’s just 12 years old. Brown-Lyden started playing when she was 4 and performing when she was 5.

Bus and ferry riders could see some changes in the cost of their commute.

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority is considering plans to standardize fares across the Bay Area and to raise them 3 percent a year for five years. The agency is holding a series of public meetings to gather input on the proposals, including a meeting from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 3 in the Main Library, 1550 Oak Street.

The authority’s board could vote on the proposed fare changes in September and the changes could be put into effect starting in November. A five-year program of increases could begin in July 2015.