Eastshore State Park Public Comment as of April 16, 2001

This is a record of all the comments appearing on the "get involved" public discussion forum of the www.EastshoreStatePark.org website to date.

The comments are reproduced here exactly as they appeared on the website, except that I've taken the liberty of correcting spelling errors and obvious typos, and deleting duplicate responses. I've also re-introduced paragraph breaks, which seem to be rejected by the Public Comment software. The format used here should be easier and faster to read, especially over dial-up connections.

Note that there have been changes on the Public Comment site since the 16th, and many of the responses have been re-ordered.

It's significant that every single one of the comments to date is by an advocate of some form of active water-related activity. There seems to be universal agreement - at least among the people using this forum - that some facilities development at the water's edge is appropriate. There is also a strong sense of appreciation for wildlife, open space and the natural environment among this cohort. That's one of the things that draws us to the water in the first place.

It's disappointing that none of the people who have been opposed to facilities development in support of water-related activities have checked in here - it would be very useful to engage them in debate. Perhaps there is more common ground than some of us perceive.

A few notes about the usability of the public comment site:

1) If you follow the link to "www.PublicComment.com," or if you click the "Get Involved" button on the EastshoreStatePark.org website, you'll see a window offering a "Browse" option. But the "Post or Submit" and "Login Now" options won't appear if your browser is set to display large text. You can access the other options by maximizing the window, or by setting text size to medium or smaller.

2) The only way to include a hard paragraph break or line break is to put the appropriate .html tag in the text of your response. Fore example, p (in angle brackets) will cause a paragraph break, br (in angle brackets) will cause a line break. With the appropriate .html, You can aven sneak in a link to another website.

3) You can't respond at the top level, but only to one of the eight sub-topics started by the PR consultanats who are running the workshops. I've asked Dawn Shellenberg at PAM to add a new topic (for new ideas and novel solutions) but whether this will have any effect remains to be seen.

Frequency of Use

How often do you go to the Eastshore State Park or adjoining open space areas?

Ms. Jan A Sommer PHD 3/29/2001 2:57:29 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

I often kayak out of the east shore area and would like to be able to continue

Mr. Will H Tait 4/3/2001 6:19:49 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

I try to paddle every weekend or more and live in the East bay so it is of value to me and others I know to have this area available for paddling. this area is a jump off point for access to much of the interesting bay destinations such as Angel Island, etc.

Miss B Lucas 3/29/2001 4:09:04 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

As an avid sea kayaker, I would like to be able to use the new Eastshore State Park as a safe place to launch, rinse off my boat upon my return, use the restroom, maybe even a secure, pay-shower, and return safely to my car.

As it is now, I greatly appreciate the birds that fly in and stopover as they make their way up and down the coast on the Pacific Flyway but to be able to have access via a small kayak dock along this stretch of marsh would be a dream come true for this San Francisco native. I would be out there every weekend.

Ms. Kay Guffy 3/29/2001 5:38:21 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

I utilize this area on average of 3 times per month in non-rainy seasons.

Ms. Ming-Ann Cheng 4/9/2001 8:42:27 PM Re: Frequency of Use


Mr. Paul Kamen 3/27/2001 3:14:42 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

Frequency of use: Several times every week, mostly to sail from the Berkeley Marina or to paddle a kayak around the waterfront.

Mr. Mark B Muscat 3/31/2001 5:45:09 AM

Re: Frequency of Use

My partner and I use the waterfront as often as possible - usually 2 or more times per month. We often launch our small boat or kayaks for day trips or overnight camping trips. We also enjoy just picnicking in the area and observing the wildlife.

Mr. Rob Shapiro 4/5/2001 7:37:42 AM

Re: Frequency of Use

From March thru October, windsurfing is the most popular non-polluting water sport on the bay. On a typical sunny summer day with consistent breezes in the 15-25 MPH range, there are literally hundreds of windsurfers on the water throughout the entire day. They launch anywhere from Emeryville Point to Richmond Point at designated, allowed launching spots (Ashby Ave, Berkeley Marina, HS Lordships, Pt Isabel, Shimada Park).

Their needs are smaller than just about any other water sport as they only need safe parking, a small clean natural area (eg. grass) to rig (prepare their equipment), toilettes and safe access to the water (eg. beach, steps down a jetty). Maintenance for these needs are minimal to negligent.

Ms. Sue Beyer 4/12/2001 12:48:02 AM

Re: Frequency of Use

Rob describes it well. I am one of those hundreds.

Mr. Patrick C Campbell 4/12/2001 1:59:55 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

once a month

Mr. Patrick C Campbell 4/12/2001 2:01:41 PM

Re: Frequency of Use

once a month. The kayaking community very much supports the State Parks' efforts to expand opportunities for kayaks at this park. Many thanks, Patrick Campbell

Park Improvements

Please identify any specific facilities or improvements that might be incorporated into the Park that would enhance public use and enjoyment.

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/27/2001 3:34:48 PM

Re: Park Improvements

Entry-level rowboat rental!

There is a sublime pleasure in floating on the water in a small boat. It is restorative and calming, and a large portion of the population feels the attraction of a protected body of water like the "North Basin" (which needs a better name, too).

Sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking require significant skill and dedication. But low- performance rowing can be made accessible to all. A rowboat rental facility on the north strip, or near the foot of Gilman, would be ideal. It could even help solve the parking problem at Cesar Chavez park, by allowing parking at the foot of Gilman and rowing to the park. It would enhance the sense of the marina/park as an island, separate from the Berkeley "mainland."

To provide this service at minimum public cost, entry-level rowboat rental could be a public-service component of a more specialized paddling or rowing club. Other nearby models, such as the Cal Sailing Club, demonstrate how well this kind of organizational structure can work.

Ms. B Hansen 3/29/2001 2:05:36 PM

Re: Park Improvements

To reiterate what I mentioned in another posting, I'd appreciate a good balance of access facilities and natural park space. In particular, a modest amount of short- and long- term parking would be excellent, particularly if this parking could be close enough to the shore to facilitate loading and unloading kayaks. And a good bathroom facility would be nice of course

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/30/2001 2:29:28 PM

Re: Park Improvements

One amenity that might reduce the parking requirement is on-site storage. This could be especially important if adequate parking near the water is seen as something that significantly compromises the open space character of the park.

With on-site storage, users of kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, outriggers, and dragon boats don't have to drive to the site (and even if they do drive they don't have to use vehicles big enough to carry the watercraft). There's a very successful model of this at Cal Sailing Club, where 15 private sailboard lockers occupy a footprint of only 8 ft x 20 ft - about the same as one parking space. Windsurfers can and do arrive by bus and bicycle, or stop at the marina directly from work, saving many miles of car travel. This would be impossible without on-site storage close to the water's edge.

Unfortunately California Dept. of Boating and Waterways policy often runs counter to the goals of this kind of non-motorized, non-automotive access. The typical state-funded access point involves a wide launching ramp and double-length parking spaces catering to powerboats with very big 2-stroke engines pulled great distances to the site by SUVs.

Perhaps this is why there seems to be some resistance to launching ramps, parking, and facilities to support water-related uses in general, and why the state's interpretation of "access to water-related activities" is not always to be trusted.

Miss B Lucas 3/29/2001 4:11:34 PM

Re: Park Improvements

A safe parking area, restrooms and a small canoe or kayak launch would be wonderful.

Ms. Sue Beyer 4/10/2001 10:48:52 PM

Re: Park Improvements

A road out to end of the Albany land fill is an essential improvement.

Without a road, there is no access for windsurfing. Winsurfers need a road and parking. A grassy area for rigging would also be a nice improvement. And, bathrooms. But, most of all we need road access. We can't carry our equipment to the windline. The tip of the Albany land fill is the best point to reach the windline.

Mr. Mark B Muscat 3/31/2001 5:52:10 AM

Re: Park Improvements

I would like to see shore access to launch small boats and kayaks, overnight parking, clean restroom facilities with running water, and, of course, ample space for native plants and animals to flourish.

Mr. Will H Tait 4/3/2001 6:22:12 PM

Re: Park Improvements

For kayakers as well as other boaters it would be nice to have ample parking cloese enough to the shore to be able to drop off and pick up boats and gear. Overnight parking nearby or not too far away would also be valuable.

Toilets, showers, outside running water/hoses close to launch area is a real bonus and would be very much appreciated.

Mr. Rob Shapiro 4/5/2001 7:49:01 AM

Re: Park Improvements

The biggest park improvement needed by windsurfers is simply noninterfering access.

At present, some water access has competing interests such as fishermen whose lines interfere with the ability to actually get in to the water --- for some unknown reason at some locations, fishermen are insistent on occupying steps that lead thru the jetty in to the water instead of moving over 25 yards on the jetty to allow windsurfers to pass. The fishermen can be mobile where the windsurfers need to carry a board and sail and do not have the same mobility. Maybe an established "right of way" would allow both fishermen and windsurfers to co-exist and share the same water access in a more friendly and mutual fashion.

Mr. Dennis R Crabe 4/7/2001 8:29:33 PM

Re: Park Improvements

Unfortunately, unrestricted access is a problem almost everywhere we sail. Windsurfers, paddlers and rowers seem to have many of the same needs. Perhaps a few dedicated launches could be established.

Primary Interests

What is your primary interest in the Eastshore State Park?

Miss B Lucas 3/29/2001 4:16:09 PM

Re: Primary Interests

My primary interest is being able to launch my kayak so that I can birdwatch along the edges of the bay.

Also, I like to support the State Parks. Having been employed by the State Dept of Parks & Recreation, I can only hope that this forum will encourage more wonderful parks that can be enjoyed by a variety of hikers, birders and paddlers!!

Ms. Sue Beyer 4/12/2001 12:45:47 AM

Re: Primary Interests

My primary interest is recreational access for windsurfing. The best access to the wind is from the bulb of the Albany land fill. With improvements, this could be a fabulous launching area for windsurfing.


What type of activities are you or your family involved in the planning area?

Ms. B Hansen 3/29/2001 2:03:11 PM

Re: Activities

I am very interested in using the Eastshore Park as a launch for sea kayaking on the Bay. The park would offer a terrific opportunity for a launch closer to the San Rafael Bridge on the east side of the bay. This would also require some space on the beach for boat launching as well as short-term and long-term parking for kayakers. I think this can be integrated into the park so a good balance is achieved between natural park and recreational access.

Ms. Jan A Sommer PHD 3/29/2001 3:02:11 PM

Re: Activities

My friends and I take kayak trips from the East shore park. There may be 1-5 in our groups. Trips may be as short as a 2 hour jsunt or as long as a 2 day overnight destination paddle, for instance to Angel Island to camp overnight, returing the next day, for which overnight parking is necessary.

Miss B Lucas 3/29/2001 6:11:54 PM

Re: Activities

Currently we are simply enjoying the transformation of a blighted marsh into a beautiful, thriving one. We look forward to the day when we can take our kayaks with our friends in them and paddle out to Angel Island. A State Park to State Park adventure!

Two examples of DPR-administerd units that allow kayakers access to their respective marshes and sloughs are Anderson Marsh State Park (Lake Co.) and Ahjumawi State Park (Shasta Co.) . Hopefully Eastshore SP will be added to the list!

Mr. Mark B Muscat 3/31/2001 5:47:52 AM

Re: Activities

My favorite activities in the Eastshore area are kayaking, wildlife viewing, picnics with friends and just enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Ms. Sue Beyer 4/12/2001 12:50:41 AM

Re: Activities

Windsurfing and more windsurfing, when we can reach the windline. When there is no access to the wind, then we walk or bicycle in the park.

Park Vision

What is your vision for Eastshore State Park in the future?

Miss B Lucas 3/29/2001 4:27:22 PM

Re: Park Vision

I would like to see this new park as a model that other cities and municipalities would look to when revitalizing older and perhaps industrial-based development on the shore or near the water.

I would like to see this new park encourage non-polluting, human-powered recreational activities, i.e a kayak launch ramp and hiking paths as well to as educate folks about why the marsh ecosystems are so vital.

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/29/2001 5:21:00 PM

Re: Park Vision

When I look out over the North Basin, I see a body of water that is perfect for organized paddling activities.

Dragon boat racing is experiencing explosive growth in the Bay Area, and this protected cove is ideal for races, festivals, and day-to-day operation of a dragon boat organization. The typical race course fits nicely behind the 800-meter protected windward shore of Cesar Chavez Park (which also offers superb hillside spectating possibilities). The best launch location would probably be at the north-west corner of the Meadow, across the street from the Radisson Hotel (which could also provide logistic support for international festival events).

This is all somewhat at odds with land use policies for the Meadow proposed by other park advocacy groups - but isn't it way too early for a "vision" to be constrained by earlier decisions made outside the public planning process? Anyway, the required boathouse, launch ramps, and parking lot would only require a very small portion of the Meadow's total area. If we really want to look ahead to the most probably use demands of the next generation - and make the best use of this very valuable and strategically-located body of water - then this is the sort of park activity that should get the most serious consideration.

Outrigger canoe clubs are experiencing similar grown. Outriggers are somewhat more versatile because they don't need the protected water that the dragon boats require (but they also involve a bit more skill and get fewer participants on the water). An outrigger boathouse could be located anywhere in the park, but the same dynamic applies: It's an active use that might be seen as a compromise of open space and habitat preservation. But it's an active use with a steep growth curve and the strong likelihood of serving many generations of paddlers who live near this urban waterfront.

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/27/2001 3:44:30 PM

Re: Park Vision

I have two goals for the Eastshore State Park that can be stated fairly simply:

1) Every kid in West Berkeley should be able to bike down to the watefront almost any day of the year to participate in some kind of organized paddling or rowing activity. This could involve dragon boats, outriggers, kayaks, or other kinds of small paddlecraft or rowboats.

2) A visiting family should be able to rent a simple and safe low-performance rowboat in order to experience the very basic and satisfying pleasure of being afloat in a small boat.

Both of these water-access services/amenities/programs will require some facilities and some infrastructure. But the North Sailing Basin is ideal for these activities. This type of water-related active use is compatible with open space and habitat preservation.

Mr. Rob Shapiro 4/5/2001 7:56:34 AM

Re: Park Vision

For windsurfers, a vision of the park's future would provide more parking and better access for existing spots as well as the development of the Albany landfill or the Berkeley park to the right of the pier (opposite side from the Berkeley Marina) to provide a road to the water side, rigging area, safe parking, toilettes and safe access to the water with either a small beach area or steps going thru the jetty.

These 2 spots in particular offer windsurfers the best possible windsurfing spots as they are near the "Olympic Circle" where the best and most consistent wind is found anywhere on the East Bay. In fact, development of these spots would likely cause the existing spots to experience a decrease in traffic/crowding as most windsurfers (other than beginners) would want to be where the wind is --- and that is in these 2 spots.


Please identify any specific issues that need to be addressed in planning for the Park.

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/27/2001 3:47:05 PM

Re: Issues

"Active" v. "passive" uses of the waterfront, and how to reduce the negative impact of the freeway. Please visit my Berkeley Waterfront website for a more detailed discussion of these and other related issues. http://www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront.

Mr. Paul Kamen 3/29/2001 4:49:34 PM

Re: Issues

Another issue is how the effects of the freeway might be mitigated. Is it more important to preserve the view of the North Basin from the freeway, or is it more important to block the sights and sounds of the freeway from the park?

I come down on the side of creating some sort of barrier between park and freeway. The nature of this barrier is a good area for study. At one extreme, a dense band of foliage might be enough. At the other extreme, a continuous low-rise wall of commercial structures might be a very effective barrier that would improve the character of the north strip, albeit with some reduction in usable width.

Perhaps this would pull the project more in the direction of "active urban waterfront" than the early ESP advocates envision, but I think it's too early in the planning process to rule out this more active mix of uses and a more intense development scheme. Especially if environmental constraints (freeway noise), and financial realities (revenue from commercial concessions to support park operation and maintenance) all seem to point in the same direction.

Mr. Paul Kamen 4/2/2001 6:54:18 PM

Re: Issues

Another issue is the amount of attention that will be focused on the details of the water's edge. Berkeley has seven miles of artificial rock rip-rap waterfront, and only about 600 feet of beach-like shoreline (Shorebird Park). People like to walk right up to the water's edge, but this is difficult and dangerous over piles of large rocks. It's a great habitat for various species of rodents, but probably not the best way to access the water.

The water is what makes this site different from an inland park, and the edge detail should be a high priority. Any practical scheme to create new beach areas, however, will probably require a small amount of bay fill. The position of BCDC and other agencies or groups with respect to fill for this kind of access-enhancement is an open question.

Mr. Rob Shapiro 4/5/2001 8:02:05 AM

Re: Issues

For unknown reasons to this writer, the biggest windsurfing issue appears to be that some parties are opposed to windsurfing access. This is a mystery. If the windsurfers were given access to the windiest spots (Albany landfill, opposite side of Berkeley Marina) with a road, good rigging area, toilette and safe access --- they would literally not be interfering with anyone for any reason. But additionally, wherever windsurfers go they really do not interfere and do not cause any trouble. The average age of windsurfers on the East Bay, while empirical, is an older mature, responsible person --- on average.

Plans for Usage

Ms. phyllis alvarez 4/4/2001 5:47:09 PM

Re: Plans for Usage of "the Meadows" waterfront area

I have been one of the captains for the Berkeley Dragons, a team that has participated in the dragon boat races at Jack London Square for the past 4 years.

Paddling in these long boats is not only fun (you paddle with 21 other people)but also a sport that most people can participate in. If we had a launch area in this inlet next to Cesar Chavez Park, this is a sport that could be enjoyed by all ages. It is an environmentally healthy sport as well.

I am asking the Berkeley Waterfront Commission to include provisions in its planning that would include a docking area for our dragon boats as well as other smaller boat usage. This is an ancient custom that I would like to carry on here in Berkeley.

Dr. Brad Smith 4/14/2001 3:07:11 PM

Re: Plans for Usage

Phyllis, I don't believe the Berkeley Waterfront Commission has received your suggestion to include provisions in its Marina and Waterfront Plan that would include a docking area for dragon (and other) boats next to Cesar Chavez Park.

I'm sure the Commission would be happy to hear from you and other members of your organization. You should contact the Commission's Secretary, Cliff Marchetti at (510) 644- 6376, extension 224, to be placed on the agenda. Cliff is Berkeley's Waterfront Manager.

-- Brad Smith, Vice Chair Berkeley Waterfront Commission

Mr. Paul Kamen 4/16/2001 2:59:24 PM

Re: Plans for Usage of

Yes, the Waterfront Commission would be most interested in more specific proposals for a dragon boat facility in the North Cove.

It's worth noting that launch and docking facilities for non-motorized small craft have been part of the draft Marina Plan as it's been taking shape over the last couple of years. Check out ---for a site plan that shows possible locations. The map is a little confusing with north to the left, but note that the dock on the right, on the north-west corner of the Meadow, is exactly what I think you (and I) have in mind for the location of a dragon boat facility.

So we're not working in a total vacuum here. The Master Plan Subcommittee of the Waterfront Commission recognizes that this would be a good place for facilities to support water-related activities, and the City planners who actually wrote the plan and drew the map seem to concur.

Of course, this isn't the same as an endorsement by the City Council, and in any event, both the Berkeley Waterfront Commission and City Council only have an advisory role in the Eastshore State Park planning process. So there's a lot of work still to be done.

But I can't agree more with the main point: Let's get specific proposals on the table. It's a big park, and it can support a very rich mix of active and organized water-borne uses and also meet the open space and habitat preservation goals.

More on the Berkeley Waterfront website at . -----

Paul Kamen, pk@well.com, Chair, Berkeley Waterfront Commission

Mr. Paul Kamen 4/16/2001 3:06:50 PM

Re: Plans for Usage of

Sorry, the links I tried to post in the last response didn't come through. The map is at www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront/MarinaMap.html And the Berkeley Waterfront Website is at www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront