Heads Should Roll

Flooded walkway, high tide on Christmas Day 2019

Once again the end-of-year high tide has flooded the walkway in front of the hotel. The Mallards are happy, but human park visitors have to slog through the mud on the edges or balance on the soggy crest of the berm. This has been going on every year since at least 2012, the first year that I happened to photograph it (see photo below). Every time the cause is the same: a gap in the sea wall about six feet wide along the straight part of the walk, and a smaller gap, not three feet wide, in the corner where the path meets the Virginia Street Extension.

This would be so easy to fix. One bucket load of debris from a front-end loader would plug the larger gap. A worker with a shovel could fill the gap in the corner. This past June, all kinds of construction equipment and mountains of stone and gravel went to reinforce the rip-rap on the southeast edge of the park. It would have taken half an hour and a detour of less than 50 feet to repair these gaps at that time.

June 24 2019: The rip-rap rehab job is finished. Equipment that could repair the gap in the seawall in a minute sits idle fifty feet away for a week.

Over along the Virginia Street Extension it’s a similar story, but this time it’s the East Bay Regional Park District that’s on the hook. Again, a couple of gaps in the seawall, neither of them wider than an egret’s wingspan, let in the tide and turn the road into an impassable lake. The edge of the Berkeley Meadow also goes under water. It’s been that way for years.

Virginia Street Extension flooded Christmas Day 2019

Do you ever get the feeling that the people who run the city don’t care about the land? Or aren’t very good at their jobs? I do, every time I see something like these unnecessary floods at high tide. There’s no excuse for it. In a functioning system, heads would have rolled years ago. And don’t even think of what will happen with sea level rise.

Flooded pathway in front of hotel, high tide of December 12 2012

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