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Planning Board Reviews 2023 Progress, Sets Goals for 2024

Planning Board hears Housing Element, transportation, climate action reports and draft work plans

On February 26, the Planning Board reviewed and unanimously endorsed the 2023 reports and 2024 draft work plans of the General Plan and Housing Element, Transportation Plans, including the Vision Zero Action Plan to eliminate severe vehicle accidents, and the Climate Action Resiliency Plan (CARP). Below are report highlights.

Alameda Post - a mural that says "Welcome to Alameda"
Photo included in the 2023 Draft General Plan Annual Report.

General Plan and Housing Element

Planning Services Manager Steve Buckley presented the 2023 annual report (link downloads report) of the General Plan and Housing Element, focusing on housing. The 2023-2031 Housing Element requires 5,353 new housing units, averaging 670 per year. The total includes 3,107 affordable units for very low to moderate-income households. In 2023, the City issued building permits for only 141 dwelling units.

Buckley attributed the substantial shortfall to the city’s extended recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the housing market finding its footing amid higher interest rates, cost escalation, and uncertain rental and sales demand. Still, he said the City is taking a long-term view. He noted significant work done to set the stage for future development.



Alameda Post - an image of what the West Midway Project houses could look like
West Midway Project proposal. Images presented by KTGY at the May 22, 2023, Planning Board meeting.

The City expedited approval of a tentative map to facilitate the 332 and 478 units planned for the RESHAP and West Midway housing developments, respectively. In 2024, staff expects to issue building permits for the Housing Authority’s North Housing project, the Habitat for Humanity project, and other affordable housing projects in the pipeline.

Shopping center, residential, and commercial transit corridor zoning amendments went into effect, removing barriers to new housing construction. Subsequently, the City processed the Housing Authority’s Webster Street hotel conversion project for 50 supportive housing units and issued building permits for 51 units in the residential districts.

The City will continue to help fund the Midway Shelter for women and children, and begin planning a shelter for men. The City also plans to continue the various Residential Rehabilitation Programs offering low-interest loans and grants to eligible homeowners to encourage property maintenance without passing on costs to tenants. The City will begin discussing a vacancy tax on vacant residential buildings to discourage removal of residential buildings from the housing supply.

Transportation plans

Acting Transportation Planning Manager Lisa Foster presented the transportation report and work plan. She noted that three people died and six were severely injured in traffic crashes on Alameda streets last year. Hampering City efforts to improve conditions were up to five engineering vacancies at Public Works. Beginning in September, four engineering staff have been hired.

Alameda Post - Woodstock the ferry in the Oakland Estuary
Woodstock the little yellow shuttle. Photo Maurice Ramirez for the City of Alameda.

Top 2023 accomplishments included:

  • Expanded free bus pass program. The City’s free bus pass program expanded by over 140%, providing passes to over 800 residents who took more than 164,000 rides in 2023. The program offers low-income seniors and people with disabilities unlimited free rides on AC Transit.
  • Safety and maintenance upgrades: Safety improvements came to 3.4 miles of roadway and 20 intersections, including 3.3 miles of new bikeways.
Alameda Post - a map of Alameda indicating the Fatal and Severe injuries that occurred, plus the high injury corridors
Fatal and severe injuries in 2023. Image Vision Zero 2023 Draft Annual Report.
Alameda Post - a map of Alameda from Vision Zero that indicates where improvements go in Alameda and Bay Farm
Intersection safety improvement with high injury corridors. Vision Zero 2023 Draft Annual Report.

In 2024, City plans include:

  • Webster Street, Park Street and Civic Center parking improvements. Webster and Park Streets will be re-striped to bring parking back to the curb and install decorative concrete barricades around parklets, new bike lanes, and new short-term loading and disability parking zones. The Civic Center Parking Structure will be upgraded.
  • Road improvements. Major improvements on Central Avenue, from Sherman to Main Street, will begin mid-year 2024. Construction is also planned for pedestrian improvements at three intersections along Mecartney Road. Pavement resurfacing and safety improvements are coming to Central Avenue, High Street, and San Antonio Avenue in the East End.
  • Neighborhood Greenway. The City will begin transitioning a Slow Street to a Neighborhood Greenway, a traffic-calmed bicycle and pedestrian priority street where vehicles are allowed but volumes and speeds are kept low.
  • Complete streets at Alameda Point. The City will complete sections of Pan Am Way and West Midway at Alameda Point.
  • Ferry terminal parking and security. The City will introduce paid parking at Seaplane Lagoon and Harbor Bay ferry terminals. The goal is to cover enhanced security, encourage multimodal travel, and keep parking available for travelers on later ferries.

Climate Action Resiliency Plan (CARP)

Sustainability and Resilience Manager Danielle Mueller presented the climate action report and work plan. The CARP was adopted in 2019 with goals of reducing city wide emissions by 50% below 2005 levels, achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible, and adapting to climate change.

Alameda Post - an infographic of Alameda's Urban Forest Statistics
Alameda’s Urban Forest statistics. Image CARP 2023 Draft Annual Report.

Top 2023 accomplishments included:

Alameda Post - an infographic of the three Oakland Alameda Adaptation Committee Projects. They are the sub-regional adaptation plan, the Oakland Alameda Estuary Adaptation Project, and the Bay Farm Island Adaptation Project.
The Oakland-Alameda Adaptation Committee projects. Please note that the “Sub-Regional Adaptation Plan” and the “Long Term Adaptation Plan” are the same plan. Image CARP 2023 Draft Annual Report.

In 2024, the City plans to:

  • Update the greenhouse gas inventory and evaluate and update the CARP for 2025-2030.
  • Provide a draft Urban Forest Plan for public review, targeting City Council adoption for Fall 2024. Draft a tree canopy preservation and replacement ordinance, partner with community organizations to perform tree planting, and seek grants for urban greening.
  • Expand the public electric vehicle (EV) charging network in City owned parking lots and expand EV charging access for residents who rent or live in multi-family units.
  • Implement near term priorities of the Equitable Building Decarbonization Plan including engaging contractors and the public on building electrification, such as through the Alameda Electrification Fair on March 16, 1-4pm at Faction Brewing.
  • Continue implementing SB1383, the organics and recycling law and increase compost and mulch application citywide.
  • Target City Council adoption of the Zero Waste Implementation Plan Update by the end of 2024.
  • Continue developing the Long-Term Adaptation Plan to protect shoreline communities from sea level and groundwater rise, the Bay Farm Island Adaptation Project, and the Oakland Alameda Estuary Adaptation Project.
  • Bring the final master plan for De-Pave Park before City Council in March and complete 30% design documents by summer.

Next steps

Planning Board endorsements and comments on the reports and work plans will be transmitted to the City Council in March, in time for Council’s June public hearings and fiscal year 2024-25 budget decisions.

Contributing writer Karin K. Jensen covers boards and commissions for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at https://linktr.ee/karinkjensen and https://alamedapost.com/Karin-K-Jensen.

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