Antioch Council Votes Unanimously Against Renaming L Street to Marina Parkway

Holds Budget Study Session, Hears of $52.5 Million Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan

By James T. Ott

Potential new names proposed included “Marina Plaza Parkway” and “Marina Parkway” but in the end city council voted 4 to 0 – Mayor Pro-Tem Wade Harper was absent – in favor of keeping L Street’s current name, for now.

Members of the public spoke for and against the issue. Proponents said that renaming L Street something like “Marina Way” or “Marina Parkway” would help promote Antioch’s historic downtown and waterfront. Former Councilman Allen Payton (and publisher of the Herald) spoke in favor of the change and presented petitions signed by about 50 patrons of Humphrey’s, mostly from Antioch, supporting the renaming.

Opponents disliked the idea, saying that it flew in the face of downtown Antioch’s traditional alphabetical and numerical street names and that the estimated $40,000 needed to change freeway and road signs were sorely needed by the struggling city in other areas.

The idea of renaming L Street to Marina Way or Blvd., and A Street to Rivertown Drive, was first proposed in 1996 as part of the city’s adopted Economic Development Plan because it would help promote Antioch’s historic downtown and waterfront.

Harper requested the issue be brought before council after the Planning Commission reviewed it and unanimously recommended the renaming to Marina Parkway at their May 16 meeting.

Staff said that if the name-change was going to be made, that now might be the most opportune time due to the Highway 4 widening project under way because CalTrans will be replacing freeway signs anyway.

Staff also said that 107 properties and businesses, including the Antioch Police Department would be affected and that they had notified them all.

The police as well as the fire district must approve the name change. At the meeting staff said that the police department had approved the name change and that they expected a reply from the fire department “within another week or so.”

According to staff, the fire district has a policy against similar street names when they are nearby one-another as it could confuse police and fire crews and reduce response time in an emergency.

So because Pittsburg already has a Marina Boulevard and because businesses near the new Marina such as Humphrey’s use “Marina Plaza” in their addresses, staff suggested “Marina Plaza Parkway” as a good compromise.

The estimated $40,000 project cost – which staff admitted might be a little high – would go toward paying for one new freeway sign plus changing signs all along L Street as well as paying for the police department to change stationary to the new address.

City Manager Jim Jakel said that if they waited to make the change later that those costs could potentially go up to $100,000 or $150,000. In the past, the city spent $90,000 to change the freeway signs when it changed the name of the north side of Somersville Road to Auto Center Drive.

Council Member Brian Kalinowski was the first member of council to express his disapproval of changing the name of L Street. He scoffed at the idea and said he did not want to change the name when so much needed to be done along the street to clean it up first, especially along the notoriously crime riddled “Sycamore” section of the street near the freeway.

I don’t want to just slap a new name on it,” said Kalinowski. “First we need to ask what conceptually we need to [change about L Street] to improve access to downtown and the riverfront.”

Kalinowski went on to call Sycamore a “shooting gallery” and joked that “we can change Sycamore to Elm Street.”

He also suggested renaming L Street instead of A Street to Rivertown Drive, as it will be more of a main entrance to downtown, but quickly dropped the idea.

The other present council members agreed with most of what Kalinowski said and voted down the name change.

Council Member Gary Agopian suggested the parkway concept be pursued as part of the city’s Capital Improvement Budget in 2017 or 2018 and that they city wait to change the street name as part of a future vision.

Mayor Jim Davis weighed in, after suggesting the council postpone the matter until they heard back from the fire department. But, then decided to vote against the idea.

We can have the best businesses in town but what good is it if no-one is safe to use them,” said Mayor Jim Davis. “Besides, this money, although not much, could go a little way toward helping improve public safety.”

Also at the meeting:

During a study session on the budget prior to the meeting, the Council was presented with the Five-Year Capital Improvement budget and plan, with a total of $52.5 million for community facilities, road improvements, traffic signals, wastewater and storm drain systems and water systems.

The community facilities include the Marina Boat Launch Ramp restroom and third boarding float, as well as the turf fields at Antioch Community Park.

Keep Antioch Beautiful celebrated the success of their cleanup efforts at the city council meeting Tuesday. Antioch Unified School District Board Vice President Joy Motts said that more than 200 volunteers showed up on the April 21 cleanup day and together picked up 4.88 tons of trash.

She also announced the individual school winners based on which student body picked up the most trash:

High School Winners

First Place – $500 reward: Antioch High

Second Place – $300 prize: Deer Valley

Third Place – $200 prize: Dozier Libbey

Middle School Winners

First Place – $500 reward: Park Middle

Second Place – $300 prize: Dallas Ranch Middle

Third Place – $200 prize: Antioch Middle

Elementary School Winners

First Place – $500 reward: Antioch Charter Academy

Second Place – $300 prize: Holy Rosary

Third Place – $200 prize: Belshaw

The council received an update on what Code Enforcement is doing to prevent and remove squatters from occupying vacant homes.



One Comment to “Antioch Council Votes Unanimously Against Renaming L Street to Marina Parkway”

  1. Jim Marchetti says:

    Renaming L Street is a good idea, but not right now – if we did it now, it is simply putting lipstick on a pig. There, someone finally said it!

    Good call city council.

    The cost is quite irrelevant and the only reason to shoot down the idea is that L Street is a nasty mess from Highway 4 down to 10th Street.

    From 10th Street to the newly christened boat ramp looks pretty OK, but there is not one business along the last 10 blocks of L Street. The widening of 10th Street for the anticipated yachts that will come in droves to the new boat ramp was a ridiculous, cart-before-the-horse idea.

    Now that you’ve made that good decision to leave L Street as L Street for the forseeable future, let’s see decisions that support ridding Antioch of these hoodlums and gangsters that roam freely shooting up our parks (Knoll Park, 2 shootings in the past 4 weeks), massively blatant drug deals being executed in broad daylight, again, Knoll Park. Decrepid roadways with damaging and dangerous potholes and sinking apshalt, and so much more.

    PLEASE city council, continue focusing on what you are charged with doing – providing a safe city for us to live in and thrive in.

    Recommendation: look at ways to privately finance and revitalize downtown Antioch [translation – no new taxes to fund a downtown revitalization effort]. Why don’t we have a Starbucks down there? Firstly, Starbucks is not interested in a downtown area that is fraught with a mish-mash of small businesses that come and go, multiple tattoo parlors and bars, but not really any types of businesses that will actually MAKE people WANT to come downtown.

    Don’t fear the franchises and chain stores – just let the right ones in that are interesting and attractive, not McDonald’s, OK? A nice pizza parlor would be nice. You’ve gotta do something.

    Our downtown area has SO much potential, but the Antioch seems to lose out to the likes of Pittsburg and Brentwood. You know, it wouldn’t hurt to look at what they’re doing and maybe think about copying some of their ideas…

    Also, don’t think that Antioch is in competition with these surrounding (and growing/thriving) cities. Think this way instead – we all feed off each other’s traffic into and out of these cities. We are all part of the Delta community and people pass through our fine city each day, just to go to the businesses in Pittsburg and Brentwood and Oakley.

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Jim Marchetti

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