One Cheer, Three Boos

Good news: the large graffiti on the east side of the Flare Station fence, which appeared almost immediately after the smaller graffiti got painted over, was also painted over, and in jig time, compared to the usual. In a recent post (“Numbers, Numbers,” Sep 7 2022) I estimated that it took about 3.5 years for SCS Engineers Inc. to clean up the graffiti on the stack, and something like 20 months for Parks maintenance to clean up the graffiti on the fence. Then around September 15 I happened to meet an SCS field engineer, Amy Summer, who was doing gas readings on the extraction wells in the Native Plant Area. We chatted, and she confided that cleaning up the Flare Station fence was part of SCS’s job, not the Parks department. I didn’t know that. I told her about the new graffiti on the east side, and she said she would get on it. And by September 21, she had. The graffiti is gone. For now. So, three cheers for Amy Summer of SCS Engineers Inc.

But boo on the Public Works Department, and whoever else was involved with the recent road rehab that renewed Spinnaker Way, Marina Boulevard, and University Avenue. Those roads are nice, thank you. But you forgot bicyclists, pedestrians, and disabled people who need to get from University Ave to the park. There used to be an old but adequate paved pathway along the fence around the Berkeley Meadow (McLaughlin Eastshore State Park). After all the construction equipment went over it, that path is trashed. It’s worse now than it was before the construction started.

The beautiful new concrete path comes to a total stop after a few yards, and beyond that it’s rough-country bikes or able-bodied peds with hiking boots only. Forget ADA access. Result: almost all bicycles ride on the narrow asphalt road that has no shoulders. I saw a senior with a walker take his life in the hands walking on that road. People who want to come to the park on the 51 bus have a very rugged walk in the dry season, and when it rains this will be a quarter-mile mud puddle. There’s an equity issue here: this wrecked pathway is a newly created barrier that operates to discourage bicyclists, pedestrians, seniors, public transit users, and the disabled. Who was the mastermind that designed this mistake?

Boo also on the same crowd for doing nothing to patch the big hole in the sea wall opposite the hotel that floods the pathway there with every tide above 6.5 feet. During the road work, there were numerous pieces of heavy equipment and mounds of construction material within a few yards of this long-standing defect. It could have been repaired in less than an hour. Not done. It’s been like that, getting worse every year, for 12 years. This kind of omission sends a clear message: The City doesn’t give a hoot about pedestrians and bicyclists who access the park.

Hole in seawall along Marina Boulevard allows flooding of pedestrian/bike path at every high tide

And boo also to the City, the Arts Commission, and the Audubon chapter for taking no action on the substandard fence around the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary in the northeast corner of the park. Standard fences to protect birds against off-leash dogs are four feet high. This one is 32 inches and has big gaps between the cables. See Open Letter to Audubon’s Glenn Phillips for details. There’s no time to waste. If the owls come, they may come soon.

6 thoughts on “One Cheer, Three Boos

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  • i am definityly perturbed as you are over the civic arts council and audobon ignoring my emails as well as yours regarding fixing the owl fence to protect the owls. i think we could go ahead and fix it and see what the response is. If, and, it is the responsibility of the civic arts commission to fix the fence, which was purposed to protect owls and is not because the fence was never high enough, and they ignore our pleas to address this issue, then we’ve got to protect the owls ourselves!!

  • i like grafetti , too. The flooded path needs attention. i do not think we need formal sidewalks to walk on! or asphalt. gravel is ok. if you are too wobbly for gravel go another way. We’re out in our little spot of nature. Sidewalk walking is easy to find in Berkeley no need to bring it into the marina.

  • Thank you Marty!! I’ve been wondering about that pathway?! I keep waiting for them to come back and pave it! i’m a bicyclist and it sure would be appreciated!

  • I like the Graffiti it shoes expression .

  • Thank you for bringing up the road issue and the hazard to the burrowing owls. I was lucky enough to get a seat on the upcoming City focus group for the Marina, and will definitely make sure both topics come under discussion. With your permission, may I use the photographs used in this posting for illustration? They would really help to emphasize the argument.

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