Sunday, October 22, 2017

Last chance to buy Plunge-project pavers

   POINT RICHMOND - This is the final week for businesses or individuals to order an etched paver for the new walkway for the Plunge, Maryn Hurlbut, chair of the city Recreation and Parks Commission announced Sunday.
     "Instructions for making a donation are on the posters published with this story," she said.
     "To expedite a logo or wording on a paver, send a PDF vector file directly to me at Richmond Tennis."
     Hurlbut also said that etching is being completed next week with the project expected to be done in the next month.
    "If anyone ordered their paver and has not received a receipt, they should email or call me at 510-237-6880 or 510-596-8880," she said.

(For additional stories published on The Point click this link: THE POINT)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Parking plan for Pt. Richmond, artist lofts top agenda for Wednesday PRNC meeting

   POINT RICHMOND - Reports on a City of Richmond proposal to improve parking in the Point Richmond  Business District - along with discussion of a plan to build artists lofts and commercial space at the corner of Tewksbury & Washington - will be taken up Wednesday at the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council meeting.
     The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Point Richmond Community Center - not the usual 7:30 p.m. - to allow for extra time for presentations as well as questions and answers from the public.
     The PRNC meeting is open to the public.
Washington Avenue view
     The Tewksbury Artists Loft's will be discussed by the Land Use & Design Review Committee during the hour prior to the full PRNC meeting. A report of that session will be presented at the full PRNC meeting at approximately 7:15 p.m.
     The LUDRC meeting is open to the public, also.
     The combination housing, work space and commercial 4-story development is a project of Anthony Murphy of Monday Morning Development of Point Richmond.
     At 7:45 p.m., Denee Evans of the Richmond Department of Transportation will update the PRNC about city proposals to make Park Place and Washington Avenue one-way streets. The two streets would also be restriped for diagonal parking to add parking spaces.
     A city parking study of Point Richmond has been in the works since last fall. As late as Friday the city engineering staff was working on the draft plans, incorporating recent input from the fire department.
     Last month outgoing PRNC President David Schoenthal told the PRNC that the report contains a recommendation that paid parking in the business district should be implemented at some future date.
     The recommendation to implement paid parking is not specifically listed on Wednesday's PRNC agenda for consideration, but is expected to be part of Point residents' questions.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pt. Richmond's Milo Foundation begins returning animals to Sanctuary near Willits

   POINT RICHMOND - The Milo Foundation began taking animals back to its Willits-area Sanctuary Tuesday after having to evacuate the facility early last week because of wildfires.
     "We have good news," John Fonseca, Milo Outreach Coordinator said.
     "Staff have started taking most of the animals back to the Sanctuary. And some of the Sanctuary animals were even adopted while they were here."

     The Milo staff had to move the animals the day the wildfires began burning across Northern California. Some animals went to local shelters near Willits, well away from fire danger.
Sanctuary crates
     But many were brought to the Point Richmond facility.
     "People came out of the woodwork to foster, to help in so many ways," Fonseca said. "We received monetary donations,  donations of food and other items.        "We were overrun with help, and it was amazing."
     The shelter had to make space for the incoming animals, many of which - because of behavioral quirks - are often not adoptable.
     But Fonseca said a number of the Sanctuary animals found homes in this area.

     The evacuation of the Willits facility came just as the Point Richmond Milo facility was digging out from under dealing with animal refugees from the hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast.
     But things are slowly going back to normal now, Fonseca said. Even so, the facility has a continuing need for food and other donations.
     For information about the Milo Foundation - and to donate - follow this link: MILO FOUNDATION.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Richmond City Council to consider paid parking, one-way streets in The Point

   POINT RICHMOND - A City of Richmond traffic survey & study of the Point Richmond Business District has just been completed, Point Richmond Neighborhood Council President David Schoenthal announced Wednesday night.
     The survey & study indicate that making Park Place a one-way street heading north and Washington Avenue a one-way thoroughfare going south around the triangle - along with instituting a diagonal parking scheme on both streets - is viable and should be pursued.
     "The city also recommends that we do paid parking," Schoenthal said.

     The news about the results of the survey reached Schoenthal just prior to the regular meeting of the PRNC held in the Community Center on Washington Avenue.
      He said he believes the next step in the process is for the results to be presented to the full Richmond City Council for action - possibly within the next month. The paid-parking recommendations are likely to be considered separately from the traffic pattern alterations.
     "Got some changes coming," Schoenthal said.
     Discussions about parking in The Point have been ongoing for months. In March, two city staff members outlined several proposals for re-striping the business district parking, instituting diagonal parking to increase parking capacity as well the idea of having paid parking.

     The PRNC also heard a report that the group's design review committee agreed in concept with a proposal from AC Transit to construct a restroom facility for bus drivers at the AC Transit bus stop at the turnaround of Castro and Tewksbury, adjacent to I-580.
     In addition to the locked restroom for AC employees, the proposal also calls for construction of bicycle lockers.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

PRNC to welcome two new board members Weds.; search underway for new president

   POINT RICHMOND - Two new board members will take their positions with the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council Wednesday night - Buzz Bayliss as first vice president and David Bleckinger as treasurer.
David Schoenthal
     The new members will take their spots at the PRNC meeting that begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center on Washington Street in the Point Richmond Business District.
     The meeting is open to the public and scheduled to run until 9 p.m.
     At this month's PRNC meeting, the group is also expected to discuss the search for a new president.
     PRNC President David Schoenthal has announced he will be leaving the president's post and running for Richmond City Council.
     One person has already expressed interest in taking on the position.
     In addition to the shuffling of officers, the PRNC will hear a presentation about the impacts of sale of single containers of alcohol in communities. The presentation - set for 8 p.m. - will be made by Ryan Orihood, program coordinator for Discovering the Reality of Our Community.
     Also as part of the meeting, the PRNC Land Use/Design Review Committee will be reviewing a proposal from AC transit to construct a permanent operator restroom facility at the AC Transit bus stop at the turnaround of Castro and Tewksbury, adjacent to I-580.
     The restroom would replace a blue porta-potty currently on site.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Richmond-to-SF ferry to start next fall

   RICHMOND - The anticipated start of daily ferry service from Richmond to San Francisco for early 2018 will now be more likely beginning more than a year from now.
     "Project dredging is expected to begin in October," Ernest Sanchez, manager of public information and market for San Francisco Bay Ferry said Monday.
     "Construction of the land side portion of the terminal is expected to begin in January 2018.
     When that construction is done sometime late in the fall, ferry service is expected to begin.
     An earlier estimated time frame for beginning service - sometime in spring of 2018 - was discussed by Sanchez at the Dec. 6,  2016 meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
At that time, Sanchez said the ferry service was planning three morning departures and four afternoon trips, leaving and returning to a pier near the Craneway building.
     Parking for about 360 vehicles is planned for the Richmond side.
     In San Francisco, the ferry will dock at the SF Ferry Building.
     "For now, this will be a peak commute service," he said. Initially, there won't be any weekend or midday service."
     The 400-passenger ferry that will be used for the SF-to-Richmond run has room for 50 bicycles, will offer food and beverage service, and make the trip from Richmond-to-SF (and back) in about 30 minutes.
      The ferry - named Hydrus - is already in service ferrying SF Bay Area customers until it's needed in Richmond.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seacliff Drive improvements - responsibility of City of Richmond or condo developer?

    POINT RICHMOND - A portion of Seacliff Drive - from Canal Street to the top of the hill - needs repair and possibly a major roadway re-engineering to solve several serious vehicle traffic safety issues, citizens told the Richmond Design Review Board Wednesday night.
Bottoms Quarry condo project off Seacliff Drive in Point Richmond
     But exactly what should be done - and who should pay for it - will likely be debated in coming weeks and months.
    The comments came as part of a DRB study session on the Bottoms Quarry condominium project proposed by New West Communities of Las Vegas.
    In its current planning incarnation, the project would have about 200 multi-family flats in 15 buildings  on 6.3 acres directly adjacent to Seacliff Drive.  Originally the developer sought approval for 270 units.
    The project would have about 300 parking spots with a mix of garages and outside carports.
    As currently designed, the entrance and exit of the project would be located directly on a Seacliff Drive curve, a spot several speakers labelled as very dangerous.
    "Seacliff Drive is categorically unsafe in its current configuration," Jeff Vines of the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development said.
    "It was originally a fire road, then an EVA access road and then - without further engineering to accommodate community traffic - it morphed into a full service access road to the Cove Community."
    Vines' comments about safety were echoed by numerous speakers including Point resident Beverly Galloway.
    "We need a wider road," Galloway said. "We need to make the hill safe enough for the rest of us."
City of Richmond Design Review Board
    Although the Bottoms Quarry condo project will have the most immediate traffic impact on Seacliff, Galloway and several members of the DRB suggested any fixes may also be the responsibility of the City of Richmond.
    "This road needs to get fixed properly," DRB member Michael Hannah said. "It's not like this is the last residential development in this area."
    Two other developments are poised to add vehicle traffic to Seacliff - Terminal One and Shea Homes. Shea Homes on the bay side of Seacliff Drive is under construction and will have 60 housing units. Terminal One developers are still working out environmental remediation details with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Construction on that 316-unit project on Brickyard Cove Road and Dornan Drive is expected to start sometime in the next year.
    In his presentation, Vines recommended that the Bottoms Quarry condo project not use Seacliff Drive at all but suggested the entrance and exit should be from an existing right of way to the north, connecting directly to Canal Boulevard. The land is owned by the city.
    Barring that, "access off Seacliff could happen if Seacliff is modified to provide turn and merge lands to allow safe passage for continuing traffic."
    Vines said BCARD believes a traffic engineering study is needed.
    "BCARD is prepared to, within reason, contribute along with New West to the cost of hiring a traffic engineering consultant to develop a preliminary plan and scope for modifying Seacliff Drive," he said.
   After the public's comments, Richmond City Planner Lina Velasco said a draft Environmental Impact Report on the condo project is expected to be done by the end of September. A 45-day public comment period will follow that.