Revisiting the Saltworks, Again
I like to think so. I live on the other side of town from the proposed development, and I avoid the 101 freeway whenever possible. Its direct impact on me is questionable. My concerns - pollution from overcrowded freeways, inappropriate use of what had been natural wetlands, possibly losing the chance to ever restore those wetlands - would move me to discuss this whether I lived here or in Iowa.
For those of you new to the topic: the multinational giant Cargill owns - and once upon a time operated - salt ponds along the Redwood City shores of the Bay. Salt production ceased there years back. Now a proposal on the table promotes a small city on the flats: developing the 1,433 acres with twelve thousand homes, along with parks, streets, stores, and parking lots.Photo: Telstar Logistics
Cargill and its development partner DMB are marketing this as a "50/50 plan" - half homes and businesses, half greenspace - an environmentally responsible urban infill project. Its detractors say it's not environmentally responsible, its "greenspace" misses the conventional definition thereof, and the project as a whole does not qualify as "urban infill" - not a term usually applied to projects extending the boundaries of an established city.
The questions of housing shortages, urban sprawl, miserable commutes, and preservation of natural environments are universal. The battle over these old salt ponds both echo and foretell other battles in other places. What happens here braces us - and instructs us - for the next go-round.
So we've checked in again with Save the Bay, the non-profit environmental watchdog entrusted with the health and restoration of the San Francisco Bay. Listen here for my conversation with Save the Bay's Stephen Knight.
Give it a listen, and let us know what you think.
And some links that may be of interest:
- The Cargill/DMB official Saltworks project website
- Save the Bay's Stop Cargill page
- The New York Times article we discuss in the interview
- Recent coverage from The San Francisco Examiner
- The San Jose Mercury News coverage of the poll mentioned in the interview
- Also from the Merc: an opinion piece from a disaster mitigation professional
- Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos weighs in on behalf of the project.
We'll stay on this, of course. And not just because I live here.