Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to and west of Oakland and in eastern San Francisco Bay across from San Francisco and South San Francisco, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bay Farm Island, a portion of which is also known as “Harbor Bay Isle”, is not actually an island, and is part of the mainland adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. The city’s estimated 2014 population was 75,988. Alameda is a charter city, rather than a general law city, allowing the city to provide for any form of government. Alameda became a charter city and adopted a council–manager government in 1916, which it retains to the present.

The island Alameda occupies what was originally a peninsula connected to Oakland. Much of it was low-lying and marshy, but on higher ground the peninsula and adjacent parts of what is now downtown Oakland were home to one of the largest coastal oak forests in the world. The area was therefore called Encinal, Spanish for “forest of evergreen oak”.Alameda is Spanish for “grove of poplar trees” or “tree-lined avenue”, and was chosen in 1853 by popular vote.

Climate

This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Alameda has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated “Csb” on climate maps.

Transportation

Vehicle access to Alameda Island is via three bridges from Oakland (Park Street, Fruitvale Avenue, and High Street Bridges), as well as the two one-way Posey and Webster Street Tubes leading into Oakland’s Chinatown. Connections from Alameda to Bay Farm Island is provided via the Bay Farm Island Bridge for vehicular traffic as well as the Bay Farm Island Bicycle Bridge (the only pedestrian/bicycle-only drawbridge in the United States).California State Route 61 runs down city streets from the Posey and Webster Street Tubes, across the Bay Farm Island Bridge, and south to the Oakland Airport.

Public transportation includes the AC Transit buses (which include express buses to San Francisco) and two ferry services — the Alameda/Oakland Ferry and the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry. AC Transit buses also cover 3 bus times in the morning and afternoon to Lincoln Middle School, located in Alameda. Both ferry services may soon be transferred to the Water Transit Authority. The closest BART stations are Lake Merritt and 12th Street, near the exit to the Posey Tube, and Fruitvale, near the Fruitvale Bridge.

Even though the island is just minutes off Interstate 880 in Oakland, the speed limit for the city is 25 mph (40 km/h) on almost every road. Many unaware drivers fail to slow down after exiting the highway. Groups like Pedestrian Friendly Alameda and BikeAlameda advocate stronger enforcement of speeding laws.

Alameda has also featured prominently on automotive blog Jalopnik, with their “Down on The Street” segment consisting of cars found on the streets of Alameda. Jalopnik has nicknamed it “The Island That Rust Forgot”.

Economic development

After two previous failures, voters in the city passed a ballot measure in 2000 authorizing a bond measure for construction of a new library to replace the city’s Carnegie library, damaged during the Loma Prieta earthquake. The city also received state funds for the new library and opened the doors to the new facility in November 2006.

Alameda Point

Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS), at Alameda Point, was decommissioned in 1997, and is in process of being turned over to the City of Alameda for civilian development. The area of the former NAS is now known as Alameda Point. In late July 2006, the City of Alameda announced a deal with the Navy that would turn the land over to the city for $108M. The transfer process was initially slowed down by disputes between the Navy and the city regarding payment for environmental cleanup of the land.

In September 2010 the US Veterans Administration proposed construction of a $209 million state-of-the-art facility at Alameda Point that would provide primary care, specialty care, and mental health, substance abuse and other services. The VA received Congressional $17.33 million in budget authority for the project in 2011. But concerns over the proximity to a nesting site for an endangered bird, the California least tern, have led to delays in moving the project forward. The VA’s 2012 and 2013 budget requests to Congress contain no funding requests for Alameda Point.

In September 2011 Alameda and the Navy reached an agreement on the terms of a no-cost conveyance for the entire 918 acres at Alameda Point.[34]

America’s Cup

The 33rd America’s Cup Race was won by Golden Gate Yacht Club racing team BMW Oracle, founded by Larry Ellison. One possible use of the air station would be an alternate or partnered site with San Francisco for 34th America’s Cup. Within 2 weeks of the Golden Gate Yacht Club winning the America’s Cup, Alameda city council with local support sent a unanimous letter of support to hold AC 34 in San Francisco Bay Area. In early 2011, the City Council created an ad hoc America’s Cup Citizens Advisory Committee to look for ways that Alameda could draw interest from teams and potential spectators. Through those efforts, in mid-2012, the Swedish Artemis Racing team announced that they would create their team base in one of the former air station hangars on Alameda Point.

Wine and spirits production

Rosenblum Cellars Winery, Rock Wall Winery, and St. George Spirits are located at Alameda Point. In 1978, Alameda veterinarian Kent Rosenblum and his wife Kathy founded Rosenblum Cellars. In 2008, the company was purchased by Diageo Estates. Shauna Rosenblum, daughter of Kent and Kathy, is the wine maker for Rock Wall Winery. In December, 2007, St. George Absinthe Verte, produced by St. George Spirits became the first brand of American-made absinthe to be legally produced in the United States since a ban was enacted in 1912.

Theaters

The Alameda Theatre in 2006 prior to expansion and restoration

The city restored the historic Art Deco city landmark Alameda Theatre, expanding it to include a theater multiplex. The public opening was May 21, 2008.

The South Shore Mall Twin Cinema opened in 1969 and served as a prominent theater on the island until its closure in 1998. In 2002, the building was demolished and its former site is now a parking lot.

Alameda also hosts the Altarena Playhouse, which since 1957 has been home to the Bay Area’s oldest continuously operating community theater organization.

Top employers

According to the City’s 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 UT Starcom 2,400
2 City of Alameda 575
3 Alameda Hospital 492
4 Celera 490
5 Associated Third Party Administration 250
6 Bay Ship & Yacht 250
7 College of Alameda 216
8 Associated Third Party 200
9 Wingstop 200
10 Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 180