Albany Pierce St. bike path project - help needed

We are encountering a lot of opposition to a bike path project on
Pierce St. in Albany adjacent to the Albany Hill condos. Almost all
the opposition is from the residents of 555 Pierce St., the tallest
building. This complex was built with 1 parking space per unit
whereas the other buildings (545 and 535) were built with more than 1.

The current plan to rehabilitate the street and install a path is
parking neutral. However, the opposition is demanding that the city
install *MORE* on-street parking spaces than exist currently by
eliminating the path part of the project.

Us bicycle advocates and the city have worked hard to come up with a
parking neutral plan, taking the residents concerns into account, and
we are a bit galled by the attitude of the opposition.

This project has been a long time in coming and has had many noticed
public meetings. The opposition has been escalating their demands as
the time for final approval draws near.

If you are an Albany, or even Richmond, El Cerrito or Richmond
resident, I urge you to come out the Albany City Council meeting on
Monday night, or please mail or email the City Council. Here's is a
link to the public meeting notice and the text of the notice is
copied at the bottom as well. Finally, Preston Jordan's excellent
analysis is included here too.

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Meeting notice:

http://nickpilch.com/CC_Public_Notice_-_Pierce_Street_4-9-07a.doc

(text of notice at the bottom of the email)

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URGENT
Support 500 Block Pierce Street Bike Path
Albany City Council
8:00 pm, this Monday, April 9th

Nick previously sent out notice on this item, but attendance by
bike path supporters has become critical. A petition opposed to
the bike path component of the project with over 500 signatures
has been submitted to the city. Bike path supporters must turn
out in numbers at this meeting to counter the perception that
this is a path to nowhere that no one supports and no one will
use. Please, please, attend this meeting and speak in support of
the project if you possibly can. The success of this project
likely depends on your input.

The 500 block Pierce Street repaving project is first on the
unfinished business portion of the agenda. There are a few
short, standard items prior to consideration of the project, so
this item will likely come up no earlier than 8:20. If you
arrive as late as 9:00 you will still likely have an opportunity
to talk. None-the-less, if you can arrive at 8:00 and wait an
hour to speak, your presence for the whole meeting will make an
even larger statement about the importance of the bike path to
the city. Be aware there will likely be a two or three minute
time limit for each speaker.

If you can't attend, please send a message supporting inclusion
of the bike path to "cityhall@albanyca.org." I have included
further background below if you would like it (much of it has
been conveyed in previous messages).

This is not a path to nowhere, but the first bike path link in a
connector trail from the Ohlone Greenway to the Bay Trail. As
with the Bay Trail, urban trails can only be fulfilled one piece
at a time as opportunities are presented. The pavement on 500
block of Pierce Street will be entirely removed and the street
surface rebuilt in the next year. Constructing the path at this
time will save approximately a third of a million dollars as
compared to doing it later and there is sufficient space on the
street to accommodate it.

I have worked hard to arrive at a project that meets everyone's
demands. I imagined the current project configuration over two
years ago, and have advocated for it since then. With 113
parking spaces, it eliminates just one of the current 114
spaces. Thus it essentially meets the initial demand by
residents that the project be parking space neutral. The
opposition now appears to be based primarily upon the realization
that 40 parking spaces in addition to the current 114 could be
created if the bike path were eliminated. I am somewhat galled
that my creative efforts are not being met with some kind of at
least grudging acceptance, but rather by some residents' demand
for more. A friend of mine, viewing this through the prism of
negotiating tactics, stated the opponents must have been
surprised that their initial demand could be met given that one
typically asks for more than is possible up front. Therefore
they had to change course and increase their demands relative to
their initial position.

The demands come primarily from residents of Gateview. This
complex was approved with only one parking space per unit, while
Bridgewater and Bayside have more (I believe two) spaces per
unit. Hearsay from Albany old timers is that graft was involved
in the approval of Gateview. Whether true or not, the current
conflict is a case history in the long term ramifications of poor
planning decisions.

The current project proposal has a double bend in the travel
lanes at the north end of the block which will play a
considerable role in calming traffic, a goal for the city since
the 2000 when the Traffic Management Plan was issued. In this
plan, residents themselves raised concern about driver speeds and
engineers validated these concerns. The double bend at the
north end of the project would be softened considerably if the
bike path was eliminated in favor of adding 40 parking spaces on
the east side of the street.

The project improves site lines for drivers exiting all of the
condominiums, but particularly from Bridgewater. This was a
concern also expressed by residents and validated by engineers in
the 2000 Traffic Management Plan.

The project will also create one, and perhaps two, zones
dedicated for moving trucks, which I don't believe the current
street layout contains. Such dedicated zones would not exist
if 41 parking spaces were added on the east side of the street.

Thank you for your attention.

Preston

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PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE

ALBANY CITY COUNCIL
MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007

PIERCE STREET BIKE PATH AND RESTRIPING PLAN
(as it relates to the Pierce Street Paving Rehabilitation
project and bicycle path section between the
southern end of 555 Pierce Street and the city's northern border)

MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007
8:00 P.M.
CITY OF ALBANY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
1000 SAN PABLO AVENUE

The City Council will consider a recommendation from the Traffic &
Safety Commission to reconstruct and restripe the street along the
500 block of Pierce Street that would result in:
60-degree angled parking (similar to Solano Avenue)
113 parking spaces
93 diagonal spaces (8.5' wide/19' long including a 2' overhang)
17 diagonal compact spaces (8' wide/15.6' to19' long including a 2' overhang)
3 parallel spaces (8' wide/22' to 22.8' long)
An 8-foot Class I bike path with 2' shoulders (separated from the
roadway) adjacent to the soundwall
Locating all parking along the west side of Pierce Street
Retaining loading area for Gateview Condominium moving vans on the
east side of Pierce Street
Raised crosswalks in three locations (plus provisions for a fourth
location in Richmond at the creek)
Bus pullouts; disabled access ramps
A loss of one (1) on-street parking space

The public is encouraged to attend and comment on this issue.

Currently there are 114 parking spaces in the 500 block of Pierce
Street (73 angled spaces on the west side, and 41 parallel spaces on
the east side).

For more information: Contact the City of Albany Community
Development Department at (510) 528-5760; HYPERLINK
"http://www.albanyca.org" www.albanyca.org