Friday, July 30, 2010

The saga of the Alviso Boat Ramp

The opening of the Alviso boat ramp looked pretty cool. Kayakers and dragon boats gave free rides to whoever showed up, and they had a big party. Chris Pereira-Ponce has a great photo of the ramp.

Go, Alviso! Very cool!!! A long fight that led to free public access to this place that might actually see some use. It could lead to other nice, small scale development that gives people access to the water and shoreline.

The Inflatable Kayak blogger wrote up the launch, with photos. The slough is peaceful, calm, and full of birds, and looks like a great place to kayak.

I found a government record of the project: Alviso Marina County Park Boat Launching Facility Project Blog. There was a meeting in 2005 talking about potential Requests for Proposals. They thought the ramp would be finished by 2006. Ha! After 2 years of entries that read "Status remains unchanged", here's how far along things had progressed:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Per Santa Clara County: due to construction calendar constraints as dictated by permits, and the award of the needed grant funding for the project in September 2008, the first foreseeable construction window is considered to be starting June 2009.

Updated: Friday, January 18, 2008

Permit issues, funding issues, land control issues, and environmental concerns have led to unforeseeable delays to this project.

I'd love to know the story behind that, and what the permits, land control, environmental concerns, etc. really were! Yikes!

This summer the ramp opened. It cost 2 million dollars to build. It goes into a narrow slough that's about the same depth as Redwood Creek in the area where I live -- with a low tide channel depth of 4 feet.

There's a local politician proposing a port, with restaurants, an IMAX theater, and a tiny ferry. That scale of port seems quite unlikely! Get real! How about some decent public bathrooms, boat rental, and an ice cream shop?

I wonder why my town doesn't do more with the waterfront it has. Here we have a great creek, we already dredge the channel every few years, there's at least two officially public boat launch ramps into the creek, and yet our waterfront is barely used. Not that I want an IMAX next door. It does seem like there could be more small businesses and it could be much more of a nice destination for local people.

Anyway, I'd like to take my kayaks to Alviso Slough to take a look at what's there!


You can see from the map that the area of the boat ramp is marked "South Bay Asbestos Area". Mmmm! Asbestos! I think also a lot of mercury comes down the Guadalupe River from the hills. But seriously, that doesn't bother me. IMHO if it's polluted, stick a park on it, put up some warning signs, and start to work on reclamation. I'm going to kayak through the marsh, not roll around it or lick it, and if I fall in I'll take a shower afterwards. I'm sure whatever pollution there is about a million times less horrible than one afternoon working in a dry cleaners. Anyway, people live there, on that worthless neglected marsh that then gets sold off in chunks to Cisco for umpty-gazillion dollars so they can build some giant parking lots on it.

So, 2 million dollars! Could you build a decent boat ramp meant for kayaks for less than 2 million dollars? I could.

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