Alameda Point Golf Links, Bay Trail & Parks Plan Workshop Meeting

December 17, 2002


In December of 2002, city staff held a workshop to arrive at a consensus on the routing of the Bay Trail at the proposed golf course at Alameda Point, and on the size and location of public park space. A month earlier, the Design Review Board of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission(BCDC), directed the city to change its design and place the Bay Trail on the western shoreline instead of the inland route the city was proposing. Controversy over the city's park and trail elements in their golf course proposal have been going on since December of 2001. Arriving at a consensus to move the main park and the roadway to the southern location adjacent to the Wildlife Refuge is seen as a major accomplishment in preserving free, public access for recreation at this world class location on the western shore of Alameda Point. The centralized location of roadway, park and parking ensures excellent accessibility to all points along the western shoreline.

compiled by Richard Bangert    

Below are the meeting notes from this workshop. The notes give a good overview of the issues. To see the consensus points, skip to the end. Also at the bottom of this page are links to other relevant documents including a photo gallery with pictures of the site.


Dana Banke

City of Alameda, Golf Administration

Tony Santare

Alameda Golf Commission

Al Zenos

Bike Alameda

Eve Bach

Arc Ecology

Mark Thawley

Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design

Richard Bangert

Alamedans for Parks and Trails

Ed Levine

City of Alameda

Elizabeth Johnson

City of Alameda

Terry Bottomley

Bottomley Associates

William Smith

Alamedans for Parks and Trails

Janet McBride

ABAG/Bay Trail

Sally Faulhaber

Alameda League of Women Voters

Andrew Gregg

Consultant, City of Alameda

Kirk Elliott

Alameda Rec. and Park Commission

Nancy King

Alameda League of Women Voters

Joan Konrad

Alameda Point Advisory Committee (APAC)

Doug deHaan

APAC and Economic Development Comm.

General Objectives

  • Maximize trail access to the water edge, particularly the Bay edge

  • Create a comfortable park for unstructured play

  • Develop a successful golf course

  • Evaluate tradeoffs for the best park and trail locations

  • Maximize Bay views from the trail and shoreline proximity

  • Establish a trail on the water edge

  • Parks acreages are adequate but locations/configurations are not; should have access to "The Point"

  • Feasible trails and parks for all citizens

  • A great hotel and golf course that is an asset to the city

  • Health and safety of trail and park users, i.e., flying golfballs!

  • A successful golf course/hotel/conference complex financially, a "destination"

  • The trails should be pleasurable

  • Prefer the Point Park location

  • Best experience for the general public

  • Economic benefit (of the hotel and golf course) is key

  • Successful golf course

  • The trail on the shoreline

  • Maximize shoreline access

  • A positive experience for cyclists, bicycle access to the water edge

  • Safe trail for cyclists and pedestrians; concern re: conflicts

  • The main entrance road should lead to the Wildlife Refuge (FWS) and parking area at the southwest corner of the golf course

  • The bigger park should be at the southeast corner next to the FWS property

The following comments were offered by the various participants in the meeting as each was given a turn to state their concerns and interests to begin the discussion. (R) Indicates a response by City staff or consultant.

Park Program/Location Discussion

  • Is there access to the Refuge? (R) For most of the year yes; not during Least Tern nesting season.

  • Is the experience equal between the two park locations? (i.e., between The Point and the Southwest Corner?)

  • There are two types of park use that need to be considered - active and passive. Active use includes bicycling, hiking, throwing frisbee, etc. Passive users will drive in for views of Bay, city, boats and port activity.

  • Need car access close to the boat put-in point for hand boating and kayaking. (R) FWS is concerned about hand boats providing access to the Refuge during nesting season.

  • How important are holes on the water? (R) It's difficult to measure exactly, but famous courses generally have that; e.g., Half Moon Bay, Pebble Beach, etc. It is very good to have a "signature" golf hole.

  • It seems you could still feel like you're golfing on a signature hole with a trail at the edge; the trail could be at somewhat lower elevation, etc. (R) A priority is creating the best golf course we can. We need it to fund all the rest of the open space amenities and improvements.

  • We need more data on this, on the value of golf links on the water. (R) The city will try to assemble some comparables. However this meeting is to plan the parks, location, program, amenities, etc.

  • Is there a reason not to have two parks instead of one? (R) Parks & Rec prefers one bigger park to a series of small ones for maintenance reasons; they like to create a manageable "city parks."

  • The parks do need restrooms and drinking fountains. The pavilion is a good idea, picnic tables too.

The following is a summary of the various comments in favor of one park location or the other:

Point Park Attributes

  • All the "action" is at the estuary w/boats, port activity, etc. It's the best place for viewing, binoculars, etc.

  • The estuary is an important entrance/gateway to the city of Alameda

  • Historically, the point was the end of the line for the "Mole" train too

  • The Refuge/FWS property will be ugly for years. The old overgrown runways are not a visual asset

  • Better likelihood for boat put-in that is acceptable to FWS (should check on this)

Southwest Corner Park Attributes

  • It keeps the entrance drive away from the water edge; is shorter and creates less pavement

  • Provides a better link with the Refuge, opportunity to share parking area

  • Can combine with the beach to create a more varied park experience; i.e. Refuge, Park, Beach accessible from one location

  • The FWS would get a "jump start" to encourage their funding, too

Trail Conditions and Alignment(s)

  • A "straight shot" trail is not great for walking. Some variation, inland, etc., is a good idea.

  • The estuary edge is a bit boring. An inland trail alignment along there is OK.

  • The wind is a problem. Need to balance wind breaks and views.

  • The "loop" trail along the edge of the Refuge is good, but the aesthetics of it needs work. It looks too straight, views to the Refuge are not very attractive.

  • We need separation of the road, park, and trails. (R) BCDC prefers the road and trail combined on the south side adjacent to the Refuge rather than the north adjacent to the estuary.

  • Consider links oriented perpendicular to the Bay with a covered "captain's walk" along the trail for protection from golf balls.

General Consensus Points

  • The main park and access road should be located at the Southwest Corner. This location offers access to more activities, incorporating the Beach with proximity to the Refuge. The acreage should be the same as the former Point Park. Parking should be provided close to the Bay edge and coordinated with the FWS property if possible

  • A smaller observation park should be created at The Point. Need some sort of passive open space separated from trail, with some grass, maybe for kite flying, etc.

  • The Point should have some sort of landmark that reflects the historical significance of the site and creates a gateway to the city. Educational panels in a wind protected area or shelter should be considered. A signature green could be elevated above a city welcome/dedication feature.

  • The water taxi dock should be retained, but moved east along the Inner Harbor channel to avoid choppy water and currents at The Point. Somewhere closer to the hotel seems appropriate with a hand boat put-in as well. (R) We will need to see if this is possible given location of the historic training wall.

Other Documents

A Visit to the Refuge       Alameda Point Photo Gallery

An Alternative Vision       AGP Resolution On the Refuge