Sideshow activity and drag racing at Alameda Point has now become a weekend routine. Despite community outrage and being given a host of ideas on how to curb the activity, the city appears to be doing nothing about it. Even the private security detail is absent when needed.
The sounds of screeching tires on the western side of the Seaplane Lagoon can be heard a mile away, as plumes of white tire smoke drift away. And an afternoon of wine tasting at Building 25 on Monarch Street now comes with car-racing ambience. The sight of families riding bikes through the area has given way to cars, whose drivers prefer loud exhaust systems.
The midday weekend group sideshow activity is as predictable as a farmers market, as is the absence of law enforcement or security personnel.
The issue of reckless car activity at Alameda Point was the subject of a discussion at the June 1 city council meeting, when “solutions to address automobile-related events at Alameda Point” were considered.
Ideas to combat the activity included strategically placing traffic lane barriers throughout the area, focused police patrols, and parking an unoccupied police vehicle in the area. Barriers of any type on the vast swath of concrete would do the trick. The city has done none of this.
“As a business owner and operator, I am concerned with the effects of the drag racing, peeling out and burned rubber, and constant speeding in the Spirits Alley/DePave Park area,” said Sharon Hernandez, an Alameda Point business owner and resident, in a letter to the city council. “One must always watch to be sure before crossing Monarch that the cars in the distance are not traveling at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.”
On July 4, cars could be seen spinning doughnuts and drag racing on Monarch Street near the old Air Traffic Control Tower. An Alameda Police vehicle showed up after the activity had subsided.
A week later, on Sunday, July 11, same thing all over again – sideshow activity and drag racing. After this smoke and commotion had been going on for over an hour and the main sideshow group left, the private Alameda Point security patrol showed up.
“What is the city going to do to protect businesses and their patrons who bring tax dollars to the city budget?” pleaded Hernandez. The council directed city staff to come back with possible solutions.
Since the June 1 meeting, the city has added “No Reckless Driving” to its electronic sign at the entrance to the area, an admonition that is roundly ignored.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.