Alameda’s Jean Sweeney Park Opens
Park includes path that will one day become part of the east-west "Cross Alameda Trail"
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Alameda opened its Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Saturday morning, a $10 million project built on a disused rail yard. The site now includes a playground, pavilions, and a dedicated bike and walking path that will one day be part of the spine of an East-West, cross-Alameda trail.
From the city’s announcement:
This 25-acre park on the west side of the island includes open space areas and active uses such as a natural based playground, picnic pavilion, open lawn area, a gazebo that is a restoration of the last Alameda Beltline train waiting station, a plaza, small picnic areas, landscape with California native and drought-tolerant plants, and a segment of the Cross Alameda Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians. Future phases will add a community garden, more playgrounds, bike skills loop, demonstration gardens, outdoor classroom, and hiking trails through woodland areas.
The idea for a park started after the railroad was decommissioned in the 1990s and the land was slated to be sold to a housing developer. Resident and advocate Jean Sweeney found the original contract between the City of Alameda and the railroad and discovered a clause which entitled the city to purchase the land back at the original purchase price. As a result, the land, even though it was valued at $20 million, was purchased for just under $1 million.
As seen in the pictures, the park has multiple uses, but for cyclists the dedicated bike path through the park is especially significant. The plan is to eventually link it with other east-west bike paths, eventually providing a car-free route for cyclists lengthwise across the island “…from the Fruitvale Bridge all the way to Alameda Point,” explained Denyse Trepanier, who was gathering support for the project at a table for Bike Walk Alameda.
The next part of the Cross Alameda Trail will be built in the city-owned, abandoned railroad right-of-way along the Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway from Main Street to Webster Street. That’s slated to open next summer.
Streetsblog reported previously on the short segment of east-west protected path on Clement Avenue, to the east of Jean Sweeney. By stitching these segments together, bit by bit, the hope is to make a backbone for a network of protected bike lanes. All this is expected to eventually connect with a bike-ped bridge over the estuary to Oakland at Jack London Square.
More pictures of the opening below: