New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetrack

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Sfodysseus
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New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetrack

Post by Sfodysseus » Tue May 09, 2017 5:30 pm

Many people are unaware of the pending Bay Trail extension is effectively a prohibition on kiting at the 'Racetrack' site located in Albany behind Golden Gate Fields. Many might feel that because they don't kite from this location it doesn't concern them, but I think every loss increases congestion elsewhere and it's also clear that bay area park managers 1) are not aware of kiters' use of the land and 2) don't view kiters as a 'constituency' or organized group. It has been eye-opening to see just how many locations we use that are not specifically zoned for kiting (and, hence, can easily be revoked, as is the case with Racetrack) and how environmentalists and water-users are not necessarily on the same page when it comes to how to enjoy nature.

On Tuesday, May 16, at 6:30pm, there will be a meeting with the City Manager of Albany at Albany City Hall to review the redevelopment plans for the Albany beachfront to realize another stretch of the Bay Trail. The plans are now in their final stages and there's considerable pressure to push these plans through. The plans, however, are deeply flawed in a number of areas and, if realized, will make kiting from this location extremely difficult and dangerous.

While the landscape company claims to have made accommodation for kiters, I have explained to them in detail how their designs remove the required open space from the existing environment and how the designs will result in increased traffic congestion and negatively impact other options that we might have (such as using the existing Golden Gate Fields parking lot as a launch and landing space).

For reference, here is the existing proposal:
http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/drb/2017/0417AlbanyBeachEx.pdf

If you look closely, you can see how:
- the gates on either side of the Bay Trail to prevent cross-traffic effectively removes that space from use as a passage to the beach or launch space;
- the fences around the dunes reduce usable beach space;
- the direction of traffic and parking into the current open space of the parking lot (where almost all launch and landing occurs) will remove that as useable space (note that the bollards (or wooden pylons) that form the barrier between the beach lot and the GGF parking lot remain and there will likely be a fence between the bollards as well, meaning we won't be able to launch in the GGF and walk our kites to the beach).

I have been working closely with two groups that represent dog owners, cyclists and walkers to advocate for a relatively minor change that will have a dramatically positive affect for kiters. We are recommending that the parking area be reduced and pushed to the North to accommodate a grassy field in place of the proposed turn-around. I have also proposed that the gates along the trail be removed so that kiters can access the beach directly instead of walking through the narrow and heavily trafficked 'Beach Access' path. That's it. If we can get these two changes made, Racetrack will be a safe and equipment-friendly launch spot.

The problem is that the city and the design group sees kiters as an insignificant user-population. But the bureaucrats do respond to numbers, and this is where I can use your help. If you can carve out the hour on Tuesday to show up and represent the sport, that would really help the City understand the value of the location to our community. If you cannot make the meeting, then please spread the word to any kiters you know who value this location and feel free to have them contact me directly with questions.

Also, You can send comments to Andrea Gaffney at andrea.gaffney@bcdc.ca.gov. She is the BCDC Bay Design Analyst who is responsible for managing the comments on the project and presenting them to the BCDC Design Review Board, which advises the main BCDC Board on whether they should approve a project. You can simply note that the proposed designs not only compromise, but effectually prohibit the existing use of the beach by kiters by eliminating the required space to launch and land kites safely. Note that the creation of a grassy field in place of the parking turn-around elegantly solves this problem.

And the drinks are on me after the meeting!

Here's the link to the meeting:
http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page ... rdid=13547
I hope to see you there!

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CdoG
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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by CdoG » Tue May 09, 2017 6:45 pm

Again...
We've been to this before
Remember we want codtinued access not just access
we've been kiteing there for years since 2004
Windsurfing there since 1982
And yes do hook up with the dog walkers there are well organized

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le noun
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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by le noun » Wed May 10, 2017 8:17 am

I work late most days... _>:<
Kites: 2018 F-One Bandit: 8m and 11m.
Board: 2018 F-One Mitu 5'10 Surf/Foil convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D


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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by Tony Soprano » Wed May 10, 2017 11:55 am

My Albany Bulb letter:
Based upon my review of the plan documents the underlying legislation, and the content of California's Comprehensive Coastal Management Program, I believe that the inconsistencies between the public access proposed in the plan and that mandated by the various State programs constitutes a significant impact as generally defined under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The plan as currently constituted does not provide enhanced windsurfing, kite-boarding access to the Albany Bulb, the only location suitable for improving access for windsurfing,Kite-boarding.
The Bay Trail extension is effectively a prohibition on kite-boarding at the 'Racetrack' site located in Albany behind Golden Gate Fields. The current design removes the required open space from the existing environment and how the designs will result in increased traffic congestion and negatively impact other options that we might have (such as using the existing Golden Gate Fields parking lot as a launch and landing space). - the gates on either side of the Bay Trail to prevent cross-traffic effectively removes that space from use as a passage to the beach or launch space.
While the design proposes to enlarge the beach, it also proposes to fence off a section of the dunes with a 4 foot-high fence that might prove to be hazardous to the launching of kites. While 20 new spaces are proposed, in addition to the 40 spaces now available on Buchanan Street, only 13 of those spaces are available for the length of time kite-boarding and kayakers would be out on the Bay. There are only 12 spaces for the public. 4 are for handicap and 4 are for loading. Currently, there are 30-40 cars parked in locations that will no longer be available for parking. So the 12-20 spaces is already a net loss.
The direction of traffic and parking into the current open space of the parking lot (where almost all launch and landing occurs) will remove that as usable space (note that the bollards (or wooden pylons) that form the barrier between the beach lot and the GGF parking lot remain and there will likely be a fence between the bollards as well, meaning we won't be able to launch in the GGF and walk our kites to the beach
The proposed designs not only compromise, but effectually prohibit the existing use of the beach by kite- boarders by eliminating the required space to launch and land kites safely.
The creation of a grassy field in place of the parking turn-around elegantly solves this problem.
However, the failure to recognize extant recreational activities goes much further, ignores established legislative direction, and constitutes a significant impact on its face. This letter is submitted on behalf of recreational users, including windsurfers, kite boarders and kayakers, which must reach the shoreline with our equipment in order to have the recreational access that is mandated under the State law creating this park. The plan is presently considering measures to restore habitat in areas where such restoration will, in fact, preclude public access. The EIR must, therefore, analyze the impacts of those land use designations, and consider alternative land use designations. Where the plan appears to conflict with established State policy, the EIR must show that compliance is not feasible or provide an overriding circumstances rationale.
ACCESS TO THE WATER FOR NAVIGATION HAS CONSTITUTIONAL STANDING IN CALIFORNIA
Section 4 of Article 10 of the California Constitution provides:
No individual ... shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water ... or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall always be attainable for the people thereof. (emphasis added)
In any weighing of competing interests in the shoreline, the recognition in the Constitution that navigational access, including access to the shoreline to launch a craft, is a fundamental right must be given great weight.
BOTH THE FEDERAL COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT AND THE MACATEER-PETRIS ACT MANDATE INCREASED ACCESS FOR WINDSURFING AND KAYAKING
Section 303(2)(D) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 calls for states to develop coastal management programs that provide "...priority consideration ... to coastal dependent uses and orderly processes for siting ... facilities related to ... recreation." In California, this provision is implemented through the McAteer-Petris Act, the parent legislation for the regulatory programs of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Various policies under that Act apply, including Section 66605, which gives "water-oriented recreation" priority consideration, and Section 66602 that declares that uses such as "water-oriented recreation" are "essential to the public welfare of the bay area." The latter section also includes the legislative finding that "existing public access to the shoreline and waters of the San Francisco Bay is inadequate and that maximum feasible public access, consistent with a proposed project, should be provided. (emphasis added)" This provision must be read in conjunction with the constitutional mandate cited above.
Without doubt, kite-boarding windsurfing and kayaking are coastal dependent and water-oriented recreational uses that warrant priority consideration in planning.”

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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by Sfodysseus » Wed May 10, 2017 1:09 pm

thanks for the great write-up, tony soprano! for those of you who can make the meeting, there's also a growing number of kiters who plan to kite racetrack prior to the meeting (conditions permitting). please join us!

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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by androka » Fri May 12, 2017 9:19 am

Thanks for the heads up, put it on my calendar
http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page ... rdid=13547
East Bay Regional Park District Beach/Trail Projects Meeting
Date: 5/16/2017 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location: Albany City Hall Council Chambers
1000 San Pablo Avenue

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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by amir » Fri May 12, 2017 1:55 pm

Wow. That design is radically different than the one proposed a while back that actually mentioned wind sports and kiting. There really is no access to the beach for watercraft at all, which should be separate from most of the pedestrian traffic.

I'll definitely attend this meeting.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this spot, you should be. It's pretty awesome and provides some of the closest access to Olympic Circle for kiters.

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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by amir » Fri May 12, 2017 2:22 pm

Ok. So I found the image I was looking for!!! What happened to this plan that had a staging area and water access?
AlbanyArea2_cap.jpg
AlbanyArea2_cap.jpg (614.72 KiB) Viewed 7603 times
http://www.questaec.com/projects/albany-beach/

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Re: New Bay Trail will effectively prohibit kiting at Racetr

Post by Sfodysseus » Mon May 15, 2017 2:30 pm

Please find the alternative plan for the Bay Trail extension that we will propose at tomorrow's meeting with Albany City officials (Tuesday, May 16 at 6pm at Albany City Hall). The new design, backed by representatives of the kiting, dog walking and cycling communities, would be a major improvement upon current conditions by providing a sandy beach area for launch and landing and avoid the effective prohibition on kiting that will result if the current Bay Trail design is realized. If you can make tomorrow's meeting, please join us for a kiting session at the beach beforehand (wind permitting). If you cannot make the meeting, please send concerns about the Bay Trail design and support of the alternative design attached here to Andrea Gaffney at andrea.gaffney@bcdc.ca.gov -- she is responsible for monitoring public feedback on the project.

Thanks!
Attachments
ExpandBeachWetlandPlanIMG_1253 (1).JPG
Alternative proposal to save kiting at Racetrack site
ExpandBeachWetlandPlanIMG_1253 (1).JPG (1.35 MiB) Viewed 7549 times

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