By Erica Madison
Dear Alameda waterfront homeowners, if you happen to need medical attention between 4:30pm and 9:00am please call 4 hours ahead of your emergency.
This is the kind of problem that will arise from Alameda County’s recently proposed Estuary drawbridge operations change for Park Street, Fruitvale Avenue (Miller/Sweeney), and High Street vehicular drawbridges, as well as the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers railroad.
Alameda County would like to shutdown drawbridge operations 69% of the time, which in turn would isolate residents from fire and police services as well as access to the Bay Area.
The drawbridges currently run 24/7. Under Alameda County’s recently published proposal the Estuary bridges will operate for 7½ hours, seven days a week from 9:00am to 4:30pm. After this anyone needing to use the drawbridges will have to call four hours in advance. Making these changes will save the county $500,000 a year.
Public Works Director Matthew Naclerio told City Council on July 27 that this proposed change “violated Coast Guard policies”. According to the Coast Guard, cutting costs can not be used as justification for changing Estuary drawbridges operations.
Despite this policy there are also major economic impacts to Alameda city as well.
For instance property values will go down because no one will want to live in an area where they are isolated from access to the Bay Area. Waterfront businesses will also face a loss in profit.
Mayor Johnson expressed her outrage at the proposal stating that she was disappointed with Alice Lai-Bitker the Alameda county supervisor.
“I am very disappointed, because the County had no meaningful public process,” said Mayor Johnson.
The Mayor is not only one disappointed with Lai-Bitker’s conduct. Representatives from Waterfront Real Estate and the Alameda Yacht club said that several times they tried to get in touch with Lai-Bitker, but were ignored each and every time.
The Mayor directed the City Manager to write a letter to the county stating: “We do not support any changes to the bridge.” She also encouraged enraged residents to express their frustration with the County and Coast Guard.