ALAMEDA -- The redevelopment of the Alameda Naval Air Station will increase traffic throughout the city and parts of Oakland, clogging a road network already stretched near capacity, an Environmental Impact Report on the massive project has found.
The report, which the Planning Board will consider recommending to the City Council on Monday, also said it will not be financially feasible to offset the increased traffic by widening and building more roads, or by building a new bridge or tunnels across the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.
Instead, the report said city officials should adopt a traffic plan that will encourage future residents and workers to use ferries and other public transport, and that the redevelopment of the 1,560-acre site now known as Alameda Point should be "transit-oriented."
Along with the EIR, the board will consider resolutions Monday that call on the council to amend the city's General Plan and municipal code, as well as a draft Master Infrastructure Plan to will help set the stage for private investment and redevelopment.
The City Council is expected to hold public hearing on the documents Feb. 4.
While Alameda Point was once a Navy station where about 18,000 people worked, the EIR reviews the impacts based on what is happening there now and the anticipated changes over next 20 years.
Currently, the former base has 267 housing units and businesses that provide about 1,000 jobs. But city officials expect the base will have about 9,000 jobs and 3,278 people will live there after it has been fully redeveloped.
The EIR also looks at the impacts in Alameda against what is expected to take place in Oakland during the coming decades.
"The existing transportation network in Alameda and Oakland is near capacity in 2013," City Planner Andrew Thomas and Jennifer Ott, the CEO of Alameda Point, said in background report for the board. "With the anticipated growth in (Oakland) along the I-880 corridor, which will add over 15,000 housing units and over 10 million square feet of nonresidential development ... the local and regional transportation network in Alameda and Oakland has little capacity to accommodate additional vehicles."
Alameda cannot take on funding the work that will be needed to improve regional transportation, plus expanding the network of streets and roads would boost greenhouse gas emissions and undermine the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods, Thomas and Ott said.
The EIR does not review the impacts in the city's West End if an earthquake closed the Webster and Posey tubes. Caltrans upgraded the tubes between 2000 and 2003 and both meet current seismic standards, according to the report.
"Nevertheless, the potential for the tubes to incur some level of damage following a substantial earthquake cannot be fully ruled out and that damage could require temporary closure of one or both tubes," Thomas and Ott said. "If such circumstances should occur, traffic would be routed to one of the other bridges that access the island, in addition to expanded ferry service .... Catastrophic failure of the tubes is not considered likely by Caltrans."
The EIR also books at environmental cleanup, population growth, housing and other aspects of the overall effort to redevelop Alameda Point.
The current plans include a waterfront "town center" that would be built near where many of the former Navy base's historic buildings are located. The character of some buildings, however, may end up compromised as crews upgrade infrastructure, take steps to offset projected sea level rise and carry out other work, the document said.
The center, which would be located around what was known as the Seaplane Lagoon, would include a marina, ferry terminal and places for recreation.
While the EIR recommends steps to lessen the potential effects of the area's transformation, it concludes that some impacts may be significant and unavoidable. It also looks at the impact of tweaking the overall redevelopment plan, including building more or fewer homes, as well as the impact of leaving Alameda Point as it is.
The EIR and other documents were created after city officials gathered public comment through surveys, meetings and other community events over the past 18 months.
The EIR is available, in chapters, on the city's website at http://alamedaca.gov/alameda-point/eir. Printed copies are also available at local libraries, the City Clerk's Office, Mastick Senior Center and other locations throughout the city.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.
The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.