Jul 16 2014

Blair Park Back in the Picture

Is Phase I of the Blair Park Plan going to be implemented?

On July 14, the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Review Committee visited Blair Park and Coaches Field during its tour of a number of possible projects for potential funding from the CIP Fund and the WW Bond funds of $575,000.  (Other sites visited included: the Veterans Hall; Aquatic Center; Dracena Park; Linda Beach Field Entrance; Linda-Kingston intersection; Crocker Park; Hampton Field; Piedmont Park; and Community Hall Plaza, amphitheater, terraces.)

When in 2012, the Blair Park Sports Complex proposal was rescinded by the City Council, it was done in large part because residents in Oakland and Piedmont joined together to mount a legal challenge to the project as Friends of Moraga Canyon (FOMC), a group legally opposing the project. In a settlement agreement between the City of Piedmont, Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization (PRFO) and FOMC, the City payed FOMC $15,000 to assist with their legal costs and committed to spending $15,000 for a plan to improve Blair Park maintenance and make it more useful to residents.

The Council approved Blair Park Plan, Phase I, valued at $300,000, was to be considered through the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Review Committee for funding recommendations in 2014.  Phase II valued at $350,000 was also to be considered for future funding.  Read PCA article on details of the Blair Park Plan.

Blair Park, viewed by some as a development opportunity and by others a respite from asphalt and concrete, has been neglected for decades, needing maintenance and safety improvements.  Recently, the City undertook an emergency removal of 14 diseased trees.

Landscape improvements are lacking.  Pedestrian access to the park is missing. Sidewalks on Moraga Avenue are missing from Monte Avenue to Blair Park. The sidewalk dead ends halfway between Monte and Pala Avenues. Pedestrians or bikers face great hazards to cross at that point.  A boardwalk is built immediately adjacent to Moraga Avenue on the opposite side of the street.  The boardwalk dead ends at Red Rock Road, location of the Corporation Yard.  There is no identified pedestrian crossing in the area. 

Bikers going up Moraga Avenue from Monte Avenue toward Blair Park face extreme hazards from vehicles coming behind them on the blind curve near Pala Avenue. Interested participants in the developing Piedmont Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan have identified the need for improved access to and beside the park. However, to date the Plan’s consultant’s reports have not placed a priority on Blair Park access.   

Piedmont is entitled to $575,000 in East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) WW bond funds for specific purposes related to parks and recreation.   The use must remain in place for the 25 years.

For more information on Blair Park, as reported on this site, go to the left column on this page and Search > Blair Park.

One Response to “Blair Park Back in the Picture”

  1. It would not be wise to develop Blair Park. Every committee that has studied the need for more field space in Piedmont has come to the conclusion that Blair park is needed either for relocation of the Corporation Yard or for overflow parking for an expanded Coaches Field.

    Constructing a sidewalk from Monte Ave to Blair Park seems impractical given the slope of that hillside. It certainly would be expensive. Fortunately there is a sidewalk on the other side of Moraga Avenue and an analysis conducted by the city has shown how a round-about at the entrance to Coaches Field could facilitate pedestrian access to Blair Park.


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