Friday, March 31, 2017

Local connection to 'Today' show segment

   POINT RICHMOND - A NBC-TV Today show segment anchored by Maria Shriver this morning on Super-Agers (as in preventing aging, not making it happen faster) had a local tie-in to the Body Wisdom Studio on Washington Avenue in the Point business district.
    Katy Bowman, author of the newly published book, Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility, was featured in the video, explaining her ideas about ways for people to keep fit and alert, not matter what age they might be.
    Body Wisdom's proprietor, Nancy Allen Burns, is a close associate of Bowman's and teaches something called Restorative Exercise, a Bowman program.
    Burns also conducts a training program for people interested in teaching restorative exercise along with a variety of other health-related classes at the studio.
    In mid-April, Burns will offer a three-hour workshop on dynamic aging.
    For more information check the Body Wisdom website.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

'Angled' parking options for The Point outlined Wednesday at PRNC meeting

  POINT RICHMOND - Options for improving parking in the Point Richmond Business District were presented Wednesday night by two City of Richmond staff members.
    Denee Evans and Patrick Phelan outlined three specific ideas, all of which included making Park Place a one-way street - heading from West Richmond Avenue to Washington Avenue.
   The options all suggested changing the parallel parking on both sides of Park Place to having a mix of angled and parallel parking spaces.
    "We have a number of transportation demand challenges ahead," Evans said. "Parking, traffic congestion, enforcement and the impact of pending housing and commercial developments."
   The housing impacts Evans was referring to include the already approved Terminal One and Shea Homes projects and the proposed 270-unit condo & townhouses proposed by New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas to be built on Seacliff Drive.
    The first option presented would have angled parking on the east side of Park Place with parallel parking on the west. But under this option, these spots would require drivers to back into the angled parking spaces in front of the businesses.
    "It's trickier backing in. But it's easier to see bicyclists when pulling out," Phelan said.
    The second option had the angled parking on the east side also, but motorists would drive straight in.
    In the third option, the angled parking would be on the west side, with normal parallel parking on the east.
   Evans and Phelan also presented a design to improve pedestrian safety on the corner of Railroad and West Richmond Avenues by "squaring up" the intersection.
   The idea of expanding sidewalk areas in front of businesses out into the street to allow for construction of temporary "parklets" was also presented and discussed briefly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Parking tops PRNC Wednesday agenda

   POINT RICHMOND - A discussion of parking and traffic issues in Point Richmond - with a presentation by Denee Evans of the City of Richmond Transportation-Parking Services - is expected to highlight Wednesday's meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
    The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public.
    Evans made a short presentation to the PRNC in late February about possibilities for a neighborhood parking permit system to help with parking issues.
    Her report - and the question and answer period - was was cut short because of time constraints.
    Her presentation Wednesday is scheduled to begin shortly after 8 p.m.
    In addition to parking and traffic matters, the PRNC is also expected to hear a report on the Point Richmond Business Association (made by Daniel Butt), a report on the Arts of Point Richmond (presented by Altha Humphrey), a report on the Masquers Playhouse (by Kathie Kiehn) and an update on the Plunge West Collaborative Projects presented by Maryn Hurlburt.
    The PRNC will also be welcoming the owners of the newly opened Brezo at Baltic Square, Heather Mervine and Hector Hernandez.

    Here is the full agenda for Wednesday's PRNC meeting:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

'An evening of wine and words' at Kaleidoscope Coffee Tuesday, April 4

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Writers Group is hosting a literary mixer called An evening of wine and words Tuesday, April 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kaleidoscope Coffee, 109 Park Place.
    The event is free and open to the public.
    The Writers Group - the same organization that has a display of published works in the Point
Richmond Post Office window on Washington Street - is putting on the event to create an opportunity for people to meet local authors of fiction, non-fiction, poets, playwrights and journalists all of who live in and around The Point.
    The Writers Group is part of Arts of Point Richmond.
   It's also a chance for other writers living in the area to meet members of the Point Richmond group.
    Several short presentations by Writers Group members will be part of the evening.
    Wine, beer, coffee, tea, other beverages - and food - will be on sale.
    Books published by members of the group will also be available to purchase.
   For more information about the event, please contact Michael J. Fitzgerald or Sylvia Fox at this email: Point Richmond Writers Group.

Point Richmond Post Office display

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PBS's Elizabeth Farnsworth to speak at Kaleidoscope Coffee Friday evening

   POINT RICHMOND - Elizabeth Farnsworth, former substitute anchor for PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will be reading from her new memoir Friday night at Kaleidoscope Coffee in Point Richmond.
    Farnsworth's new book is titled A Train Through Time: A Life, Real and Imagined.
   The event - sponsored by the CafĂ© Society - starts at 7 p.m.
   Ms. Farnsworth will be introduced by Charles Haas, author of The Enthusiast.
   In addition to her work as a broadcast anchor with PBS, Farnsworth has been a filmmaker and foreign correspondent.
   Attendance at the event is free. Beer, wine, tea and coffee - as well as food - will be available for purchase.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Temple Hillel Bagel Brunch next Sunday will feature a talk on volunteering in Israel

   RICHMOND - A bagel brunch open to the community - featuring a talk by David A. Brown - will be held next Sunday (March 26) from 10:15 a.m. until noon at the Temple Beth Hillel near Hilltop.

    In 2015 Brown fulfilled a long-held desire to contribute to the well-being of the people of Israel. He got his wish by connecting with volunteers on a "Sar-El" mission. Sar-El is a non-profit organization open to non-Israeli citizens who wish to participate in national service.

    Brown lived in Israel in barracks on Israeli Defense Force bases. He performed non-combat duties such as packing food and medical supplies, repairing machinery and helping to maintain the bases.

    His talk will center on his experiences - and the satisfaction he says that came from the work.

    A $5 donation is suggested for attendees.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parking, building heights and rezoning top concerns about Bottoms Quarry project

   POINT RICHMOND - The vehicle traffic that would be generated by the proposed Bottoms Quarry project off Seacliff Drive dominated an hour and a half discussion Wednesday night at a special meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
    An audience of 30 PRNC members and other concerned residents peppered representatives of New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas with questions about how much traffic would be generated and alternatives to having ingress and egress for the 270-unit project off Seacliff Drive.
    Similar concerns were raised at an earlier PRNC meeting, prompting the special session.
     New West's Terry Manley declined to speculate on exactly how many daily vehicle trips would be generated by the project, indicating that a traffic study would be part of the environmental impact report preparation and would provide that number.
Residents view project plans before the meeting
    But he said his firm multiplies the number of units times 1.75 to determine the number of vehicles at any housing project. Using that rubric, Bottoms Quarry would have about 472 vehicles at the development.
    Several residents said the traffic generated - when added to nearly 3,000 projected vehicle trips estimated per day from the yet-to-be-constructed Shea Homes project and the Terminal One project - would add greatly to the traffic woes already experienced on Canal Boulevard and downtown, particularly when trains are being shuttled.

    The impact on the already existing problems with parking in the Point Richmond business district were also raised, as were the cumulative impacts on city water supplies and sewer capacity.
    Ken Ryan of the architecture and planning company KTGY Group said his firm is still working on various scenarios for the six acres proposed for development. New West owns 18.4 acres and said Wednesday it will be keep the balance of the property as open space and has no plans for further development at the site.
Ken Ryan, architect with KTGY
    That open space is largely steep hillside, Ryan said, which is why the proposal shows the condominium complex building having a height of 68 to 70 feet.
    The steep hill ensures that no views would be blocked, provided the city approves the exception to Richmond's 35-foot height limitation.
    The entire site is currently zoned for parks and recreation.
    But New West's Manley said that his company has had conversations with East Bay Regional Parks and the City of Richmond, both of which indicated no interest in developing the project as parks.
    Manley also said city officials indicated that Richmond would look favorably on a rezoning to allow a housing project.
    "The city said 'yes' it could be changed," Manley said.
    New West also unveiled the idea of having a Bay Trail "staging area" at the corner of Canal and Seacliff, where there would be parking for vehicles and bicycles, picnic tables and restrooms.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Special PRNC meeting tonight on a proposed 270-unit housing development

   POINT RICHMOND - Traffic, density of housing and the city's height limitation are all expected to be part of tonight's Point Richmond Neighborhood Council discussions about the proposed 270-unit Bottoms Quarry project off Seacliff Drive.
     The project will be the only agenda item on the special meeting, scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center.
     The meeting is open to the public.
     The project - proposed by the New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas - is to be built on six of the 18.4 acres of land the company purchased at the end of 2016. No other development is currently planned (or has been announced) for the balance of the property.
     At an earlier PRNC meeting, New West officials said the new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry - slated to start service in January of 2018 - was a major part of the reason they decided to propose the new project.
     At that same PRNC meeting, several residents questioned the project's density and having ingress and egress off Seacliff Drive. There were also concerns voiced about potential increases in vehicle traffic.
     If approved by the City of Richmond, whatever vehicle traffic generated will be added to an estimated 3,000 vehicles trips per day predicted from the yet-to-be constructed Shea Homes project and the Terminal One project on Ferry Point.
     New West officials promised that as part of an environmental impact report, a full traffic study would be conducted to gauge impacts of their project.
     Richmond officials said both a general plan amendment and a rezoning will be required for the project to be built.
    The land is currently zoned for parks and recreation use.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Carnival at Temple Beth Hillel Sunday

   RICHMOND - Temple Beth Hillel announced this week that it will be having a Purim Carnival this coming Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
     Temple Beth Hillel is located at 801 Park Central in the Hilltop area of Richmond.
     Activities, crafts and games for children of all ages are planned.
     There will also be plenty of food, organizers say, including the traditional hamentaschen (a three-cornered, fruit filled pastry) along with many other foods.
     As part of the event, a raffle will be held with a prize of a 7-night family vacation at a resort on the Mexican coast.
    The Purim Carnival is open to the public and admission is free.
    For more information about the carnival call 510-223-2560.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

PRNC meeting set for March 15 to discuss impacts of proposed 270-unit condo project

   POINT RICHMOND - A special Point Richmond Neighborhood Council meeting to discuss the proposed Bottoms Quarry project - a 270-unit condo/town house project on Seacliff Drive will be Weds., March 15, PRNC president David Schoenthal announced Friday.
     The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public. The meeting is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m.
    The project was discussed Weds., Feb 22 by the PRNC, at which time members asked for full meeting to discuss the project's impacts on the community.
     The condo project has been proposed by the New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas, recent purchasers of 18.4 acres of land.
     Only six of those acres are proposed for development at this time.
     At the February PRNC meeting, developer Todd Floyd said the new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry - slated to begin service in January of 2018 - prompted the company to purchase the land and move ahead with a development.
     In addition to the normal city processes for review - including a full environmental impact report - the project will also require that the general plan designation be changed along with a rezoning from parks and recreation use.
     At the February meeting, many resident concerns centered around traffic, particular with the proposed ingress and egress on Seacliff Drive.
     Some concern was also voiced about the cumulative effect of adding this project to two already approved developments yet to be constructed - Terminal One and the Shea Homes project.
     The combined projected increase in traffic from those two projects will be approximately 3,000 vehicle trips per day.
     A New West spokesman said that a full traffic analysis would be part of the application process for city approval.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Richmond Mayor's state of the city address

Mayor Tom Butt
(East Bay Times photo)
    RICHMOND - Richmond Mayor Tom Butt offered a critical assessment of the city's finances Tuesday night in his annual state of the city address, the East Bay Times reported today.

     Butt cited several issues including growing pension and health care costs.

     “If the city focused as much on collecting money as it does on spending money, we could increase revenues by millions each year, ” Butt is quoted as saying.

     For the full story from the Times, click here: