Comments on the January 6 Letter from Norman La Force

Paul Kamen
January 9 2003

Several points need to be corrected:

1) There has never been a proposal to widen Marina Blvd in the Marina Master Plan or in any other plan that I am aware of. The plan calls for re-alignment of the road to the east in order to allow the inadequate parking lots serving F, G, H and I docks to be enlarged, with improved landscaping. The existing gravel parking area to the east of the current alignment, all on City property, would be used for this re-alignment.

The issue is really the extent to which City property will be used to provide parking for the Eastshore State Park. Inevitably this will occur to some degree, as jurisdictional boundaries are generally transparent to park users. But it is likely that the ESP will have a far more serious effect on the Marina than the other way around, and it is important to Marina users that the ESP accommodate the major portion of the parking load it generates on its own property.

The Waterfront Commission is on record as calling for coordinated planning between the two entities, especially with respect to traffic and parking. Note that ESP parking fees will be particularly problematic, considering close proximity to free and unregulated parking at various Marina parking lots.

2) Water access for non-motorized hand-launched small craft has been a priority expressed in public hearings since this planning process began in 1998. This use is consistent with the Berkeley Waterfront Plan of 1986 (still in effect for areas outside of Eastshore State Park) and is consistent with the use proposed by the recently adopted ESP General Plan itself.

The ESP General Plan also calls for the California Department of Fish and Game to make an objective evaluation of the impact of non-motorized boating on bird habitat, and may impose seasonal or geographic operating restrictions as appropriate. The operation of boats launched from a City facility would presumbably fall under the same constraints, and habitat disruption will not be an issue.

Detailed site plans for a small craft access facility would necessarily undergo their own design and environmental review process, and ESP would necessarily be involved. Just as the 1986 plan, where it calls for boating access along the eastern shoreline of Cesar Chavez Park, stipulates "...provided this use is consistent with the City's Master Plan for North Waterfront Park," the Marina Master Plan should similarly stipulate "...provided this use is consistent with the State Parks Plan for the Eastshore State Park." This will insure that concerns relating to inadequate coordination between the two jurisdictions will be fully addressed.

If we respect the expressed desires of the community, respect the public planning process, respect the 1986 Waterfront Plan, and respect the adopted ESP General Plan, then small craft access in the North Sailing Basin should remain an important feature of the Marina Master Plan.

3) Will the Marina Master Plan increase traffic? Marina streets are badly overloaded during the big festival events: Kite Festival, July 4 fireworks, and Berkeley Bay Festival. The Marina Plan has no effect on these peak loads. At all other times the streets are far below capacity. Keep in mind that this is a small system of roads with only one entry and no through traffic, served by a four lane access road. While parking continues to be an issue, The Environmental Initial Study properly evaluated the small predicted traffic increase as having "less than significant impact."

4) The term "North Sailing Basin" has been in common use by Berkeley sailors for at least 30 years, and appears on some of the original maps that first laid out the configuration of the landfill. This is also the term used in recent City planning documents, although "North Basin" also appears. "North Basin Cove" appears to be a relatively new construction. A google search is instructive.

Nonetheless, this commentator agrees that the terms "North Sailing Basin" and "South Sailing Basin" are less than descriptive, and several years ago proposed "Ocean View Cove" for the North Sailing Basin and "Berkeley Bay" for the bay created between the Berkeley and Emeryville landfills. I will again risk the lightning-rod character of name proposals in Berkeley by suggesting that the North Sailing Basin will ultimately be known as "McGlaughlin Cove."