Did you catch the CBS-5 news last night? Our Blair Park conservation vs. development concerns are no longer hyper-local, as they made the early TV newscasts.
First, the Friends of Moraga Canyon’s Sandra Pohutsky and Peggy Esposito appeared on air. “I agree more soccer fields are needed,” declared Esposito. “It’s a wildlife corridor, so you are destroying a lot to appease the soccer clubs.” The Moraga Avenue traffic problems were discussed as well.
Then Steve Schiller, past president of the Piedmont Soccer Club, explained that 1,200 Piedmont kids play soccer and “there isn’t any other space in Piedmont.” The plans for two soccer fields, snack bar, overhead crosswalk and parking lot were mentioned in the newscasts.
In coming months, there will be environmental and other reviews by the City of Piedmont. Oakland has officially submitted their concerns, with our city bordering the potential project. Of course, sports field development is hardly a fait accompli.
From this TV coverage, we suppose that Bay Area viewers understood the classic conflict and little else. This report merely wrapped up with a “stay tuned,” as Piedmont’s review process plays out.
5 thoughts on “Blair Park Leaves The Neighborhood”
Wildlife corridor is a stretch – between what? The freeway and city hall?
The fields would certainly have a visual impact on the drive. And more cars. Fact is Moraga Ave. has too many cars today, mostly speeding – it is very difficult to maintain 25 mph driving down from Montclair.
What makes this a “corridor” is that it’s the north-south greenspace where wildlife go from the PG&E land and the Mountain View Cemetery up into the Piedmont Reservoir areas. If you live near enough to hear the owls at night you understand the value of this land.
It was disappointing that the news folks did not pick up more on Andy’s point – the impact on traffic. The loss of Blair Park as an emergency staging area and the need for Moraga Avenue as emergency egress in case of disaster are hugely relevant to this discussion.
The sports complex supporters’ simulations look great; they might actually be great in an appropriate space. Blair Park, however, is not big enough. The fields will not even be regulation size.
The proponents of the sports fields cast the Oakland opposition as NIMBY-focused, but they have placed these fields on their city’s outer perimeter without regard for the inevitable negative impact on their neighbors.
The negative impact will affect many Piedmont residents too. The extremely high retaining walls could be destabilized and collapse in an earthquake. It is less than a mile to the Hayward Fault! The houses on Scenic Ave. above could come tumbling down. Who will pay for that?? The City should explore feasible alternatives, like developing multiple regulation fields with lights in the existing open space at Merritt College (5 minutes away)!
I am not aware of a retaining wall failure in an earthquake – these are very stable structures. How a retaining wall failure on Moraga Ave. could effect houses above on Scenic Ave. – only in a Hollywood movie.
There are so many reasons that this is a bad idea: too much traffic, too dangerous an area for children to safely cross, not enough parking, non-regulation sized fields, wildlife corridor impacted, eyesore creation, this area would be unavailable as a staging area for emergency vehicles during another Oakland fire or Hayward fault earthquake. I wonder why then some people are so adamant about shoving this project through, especially when the Merritt College fields do provide an far safer, cheaper and more agreeable alternative. Is someone set to make a lot of money from this project?