Alameda’s Jean Sweeney Park Opens

Park includes path that will one day become part of the east-west "Cross Alameda Trail"

Cyclists enjoy Alameda's newest bike path: All pics Streetsblog/Rudick unless noted
Cyclists enjoy Alameda's newest bike path: All pics Streetsblog/Rudick unless noted

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

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.

A playground is one of many new uses for this abandoned rail yard
An elaborate playground is one of many new uses for this abandoned rail yard

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 park features a dedicated off road bike path
The park features a dedicated off street bike path

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.

A walking path stretches the length of the park
A walking path stretches the length of the park

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.

Bike East Bay's Susie Hufstader and Bike Walk Alameda's Denyse Trepanier, at Saturday morning's opening
Bike East Bay’s Susie Hufstader and Bike Walk Alameda’s Denyse Trepanier, at Saturday morning’s opening

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:

Another of the features of Jean Sweeney open space park
Another feature of Jean Sweeney open space park
IMG_20181215_102004
The park offers a host of features for families
IMG_20181215_102506
Some structures of its railroad past were preserved
A remnant of the parks railroad past on an adjoining property
A remnant of the park’s railroad past on an adjoining property
One day, this will continue all the way East/West across the island
One day, this bike path will continue all the way East/West across the island

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