Resiliency: Alameda Water Front

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TOPIC SERIES: Adapting Sites to Interface with the Waterfront

As part of our design services our experienced team addresses design for agency requirement impacting our projects, including requirements addressing project sites interfacing with the coast. On a recent San Francisco Bay waterfront residential project in Alameda, ima worked closely with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) as well as design and engineering professionals. BCDC is “tasked with requiring maximum feasible public access within the Bay’s 100-foot shoreline band,” waterfront conservation, and restoring the waterfront to as natural a condition as feasible. Coastal interface and preserving the environment is a central concern when implementing a client’s plan to maximize project open space along the waterfront. To help our Client’s succeed in this, ima developed a criteria based tested public access and open space design balanced with data on the projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Our approach to a Solution is built on three core components: Data, Design, and Project Value.

The design process begins with assessing the Existing Conditions and Open Space Constraints.
Gather and Assess data related to project area:

  • Climate impact data / fluctuating sea levels, high tides, and storms
  • Heath/ Safety / Welfare issues
  • Existing conditions (soil and engineering related data/issues)
  • Environmental Impact Report
  • Local / Regional agencies requirements (land use/ open space requirements)

Once we obtained and assessed the data, the design team along with the client and the City of Alameda, developed the following Goals for the Project.

  • Long term open space goals / requirements
  • Aesthetic goals
  • Adaptation responses
  • Client requirements (amenities / aesthetics)

The team developed Budgetary Goals to both shape the project and prioritize program elements.

  • Financial implications of climate adaptation
  • Value Engineering

Through the implementation process, ima coordinated with the design team and stake holders, developing the design and gain approvals.

  • Coordination with project team Civil and Marine Engineers
    • Develop an attractive and cost effective approach to seal level rise
  • Review and input from project stakeholders
    • Local Planning Agency
    • Regional Agencies (BCDC, Water Quality, etc)
    • Federal Agencies (USACE)

Long term goal was to maintain maximum amount of open space with 36” sea level fluctuation + 100 year storm surge (projected to 2050).

  • Design/ implementation of a sheet pile “sea wall”
  • Allowed for a raised promenade ~6.5’ above Mean High Tide
  • Provided large flat (3 acre) publicly accessible open space amenity with:
    • Fishing pier
    • Small water craft launch
    • Themed children’s play area
    • Picnic areas
    • Seating areas
    • Kayak storage

Please talk to our experienced team about the development of the waterfront project in Alameda : Jim Bensman, Senior Associate –