Alameda, California

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Alameda is an incorporated city in Alameda County, California. Alameda consists of two parts covering approximately 10.8 square miles (27.96 km²) of land area: the island of Alameda in San Francisco Bay, and a peninsula from the mainland called Bay Farm Island. The population, as of the 2000 census, was 72,259. Alameda is a charter city, and has a council-manager government.

Alameda Island used to be a peninsula separated from the mainland by a swamp; a channel was cut separating the island in 1902. Bay Farm Island used to be a separate island, but was connected to the mainland by landfill operations. Alameda Island was extended by landfill operations to construct the former Naval Air Station Alameda, and to construct the "Southshore" neighborhood, which fronts San Francisco Bay.

Alameda Island is connected to the mainland via two tunnels and four bridges. One of the bridges connects the island to Bay Farm Island. Because Bay Farm Island borders the Oakland International Airport, there are only two roads connecting Bay Farm Island to the mainland. All of Alameda's ground transportation links lead into Oakland, California. California Route 61 runs from Oakland, through the Posey and Webster Tubes into Alameda, along Webster Street, Central Avenue, Encinal Avenue, Broadway, Otis Avenue, across the bridge to Bay Farm Island, and along Doolittle Drive, whence it continues into Oakland and San Leandro. There are no freeways in Alameda. The nearest freeway is Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland, which is less than a mile from the tunnels and three of the bridges. There is active passenger ferry service to San Francisco, Oakland, and San Leandro. Alameda used to be served by rail, but all rail links into Alameda are inactive, and most of the tracks in Alameda have been removed.

Alameda is primarily residential, though there are two main business districts, and two new office parks. The housing stock of Alameda Island ranges in age from the 1870s to the 1970s, with very few new buildings built since 1975. Alameda has one of the highest proportions of Victorian-era houses in California. Bay Farm Island was developed in the 1950s and 1960s, and most of the housing is original from that development. Most of the streets have an aggressively-enforced speed limit of 25 mph, which contributes to the quiet residential atmosphere.

The Alameda Unified School District is coterminous with the City of Alameda, but is governed separately, like all school districts in California. The schools are generally considered better than those in neighboring Oakland and San Leandro, but have somewhat lower test scores than those in the more suburban reaches of Alameda County.

Alameda's main business districts, along Webster Street and Park Street, are the areas of two of the original settlements on Alameda. Both are primarily small retail with many restaurants. Webster Street tends to serve a somewhat younger, lower-income population than Park Avenue, a vestige of the days when is was the main shopping and entertainment destination for servicemen at the nearby Naval Air Station. Office parks have been constructed at Marina Village, near the Webster Tube, and on Bay Farm Island. The primary tenants are small information technology and biotechnology companies, though the Oakland Raiders headquarters is in the Bay Farm Island office park.

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