Traffic on Bay Farm already too unsafe

I hope every member of the City Council and the Planning Board was in their cars trying to get off Bay Farm Island on Aug. 26, the first day of school. It took an extra 20 minutes to navigate past Amelia Earhart school in every direction.

It's like this every school day between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. How would we cope with the drivers from 80 more homes? It's not just inconvenient. It's a dangerous situation, should there be an emergency.

The powers that be must think long and hard before allowing the building of more homes to happen for the pleasure of Ron Cowan.

Jerrilyn Kaplan

Harbor Bay Club plan is no good

The board of directors at Garden Isle Home Owner's Association represents 346 homeowners on Bay Farm Island. The GIHOA board is adamantly opposed to the proposal by the Harbor Bay Isle Associates to construct 80 new homes on the land currently occupied by the Harbor Bay Club and move the club to the Harbor Bay Business Park.

The GIHOA opposed the previous land swap plan and has many of the same objections to this latest proposal:

The traffic on Bay Farm is already congested, especially in the morning and evening commute hours.

Adding 80 new homes with an estimate of two cars per home, all using a single egress (Packet Landing Road), would add to the already congested street.

The increase in traffic would significantly impact the safety of students and families who bike or drive to and from Amelia Earhart Elementary School (with 600 students).

Students walking, biking or being driven to Lincoln Middle School (more than 1,000 enrolled) would also be adversely impacted by the increase of cars trying to leave Bay Farm in the morning.

Removing the Harbor Bay Club from its current location will have a negative impact on the lifestyles of most residents in the immediate neighborhood and on Bay Farm Island as a whole. In addition, current club members will surely see their monthly dues rise and the number of tennis courts decline.

We are strongly opposed to the opening of Island Drive at Catalina, which is very likely if the club is relocated to Harbor Bay Parkway. The increase in traffic, noise and congestion, which would begin early in the morning and not stop until late at night, would have a tremendous negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.

These are some of the reasons the GIHOA board of directors have joined our neighbors on Bay Farm in opposing this latest attempt by the same landowner to build homes where they are unnecessary and unwanted.

Neil Wilson

president, board of directors Garden Isle Home Owners' Association

Don't develop the West End either

Count them: there are 14 lanes that shuttle automobile traffic on and off the East End of Alameda Island. Now count the lanes that move traffic on and off the West End: four. The City Council and Planning Commission need to count them, too. Developing the West End before there is better access is a guaranteed traffic nightmare.

They are already on their way to getting the cart ahead of the horse by approving the development of the new West End Alameda Landing shopping center along with further housing without an adequate plan for long-term traffic on and off the Island. The Stargell intersection, one of the entrances, will slow traffic further passing through the tunnels setting a traffic light immediately at the Webster Street tunnel entrance.

It is not enough to propose "alternative transportation methods." People will continue to prefer individual transportation methods -- cars. The impact of the extensive development of the West End can already be seen on the first Sunday of each month when the antique show causes gridlock on Webster and the tunnels. Furthermore, when cars cannot move on and off the Island on the West End, they will turn to the bridges on the East. Thus, it is an issue that affects all Alamedans living on the Island. Bottom line: it is simply not feasible to have extensive development on the West End without more automobile access.

It is for the citizens to decide. How much isolation and historical "charm" do we desire? To what extent are we willing to trade tax revenue and commercial convenience for a more pictorial city with substantial open space and reasonable traffic flows? If we want the development, are we willing to plan for a new bridge from the naval base to the Oakland terminal area?

This is a crucial issue for all of us who live on the Island. It needs to be decided first before another foundation is laid. To develop first and address the traffic issue later is myopic. Even the early pioneers knew better. They always put the horses in front of the wagon.

Robert Hammond

Thanks to everyone who helped Midway

The Midway Shelter for abused women and their children would like to thank those individuals and groups who have contributed to the Adopt-A-Bed program. Some of the donors listed below have contributed several times during the month of August:

Noel and Cathy Folsom in honor of Benjamin Tilos' 80th birthday, Edmond Lemi, Paula Patillo-Dupree, Sothera Sang, Virginia Krutilek, Barbara Anderson, Najee and Adilah Bilal, Anonymous 1, Betty Sanderson, Lois Pryor, Leslye and James Robey, Ronald Coffman, Marilyn Ezzy and Howard Ashcraft, Keith Nealy, First Christian Church of Alameda, Isle City Institute #51YLI, Shirley and Ronald Goodman, Euby Inc -- Garrienne Nakano, Gayle Ewy, Elsa T. Greene, Kusum Kanji, Srinivasan Suresh, Linguini's Cafe, Aisling O'Callaghan, a 7-year-old member of the Thorton family, Mary Butler in memory of: Kathleen Mullen and Lloyd Albers, Miska Kazda, Margaret Spencer, Casey Edwards, Cynthia Withrow.

Donations may be sent to Alameda Homeless Network, P.O. Box 951, Alameda, CA 94501. For further information, call 510-523-2377 or visit www.midwayshelter.org.

Virginia Krutilek