Of Ports and Beams

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! If you enjoy looking at homes decorated for the season, check out the video (and the map) showing the winners of Redwood City’s Holly Jolly Home Decorating Contest. Clearly some Redwood City residents went to a great deal of effort to produce these displays, and I for one am delighted to see the city acknowledging them. Note the map that shows where the winning entrants are located, in case you want to take a drive and see them for yourself.

The city’s contest is focused on decorations applied to the outside of one’s home, which leaves out a large segment of our resident population, since not everyone lives in a place with an exterior that they are able to decorate. I’m thinking in particular of the relatively new residents of the Arroyo Green Apartments building on Bradford Street (move-ins began last April). That building’s 117 apartments are accessed via doors off of internal hallways, and thus although the residents can — and some do — decorate their doors, the results of their efforts can be appreciated only by those who have access to the interior of the secure building. Because my wife and I have delivered to the building as part of our regular Meals on Wheels route, we are among those fortunate enough to have seen the inside of that new MidPen Housing project. Thus, I thought I’d share a photo of one resident’s efforts:

I’m sure that there are many other decorated doors throughout the many multi-family buildings within Redwood City. I think such efforts are particularly special given that the public at large will never see them.

Thanks to our inclement weather, my foray into the city this week was brief and highly targeted. I focused my efforts on two extremely different Redwood City locations: the County’s new office building being constructed on Marshall Street, and the Port of Redwood City. Although I wrote about the County’s new office building (“COB 3,” or County Office Building #3) just two weeks ago, that was to lament the fact that the building was using more structural steel than I had been led to believe it would. As if to somewhat make up for that, since writing that post the building’s contractor has begun to add a number of structural elements made from wood. These glulam (glued laminated timber) beams are made up of multiple pieces of wood that are glued together to make a single large beam. Glulam beams are incredibly strong: one website claims that “pound for pound, glulam is stronger than steel and has greater strength and stiffness than comparably sized dimensional lumber.” At the same time, I find them to be incredibly beautiful. For that reason, I believe that many of these elements will be exposed to view when all is said and done.

Here is a view from another angle:

I do hope that someday there will be a tour and/or a talk about the construction of this building, one that explains the choices made in its construction. I’m sure it’d be fascinating.

I’ve been meaning to spend a bit of time in the Port of Redwood City for a while now. Given the effort it takes to walk out there (I live up near Sequoia Hospital, and the one-way walk out there is roughly 3.5 miles) I don’t do it as often as I probably should. Some time ago the port constructed a pergola-type shade structure over the picnic tables near the public fishing pier, and I had not managed to see that until just this week:

It is very nice, and I imagine that especially in the summertime it is a very welcome addition. This is right about where Pioneer Seafoods parks their food truck (and their boat, when they are in port), and makes for a delightful place to sit and enjoy the fish tacos or whatever you’ve just purchased from Pioneer.

The shade structure is nice, but as I stood there looking at it, I realized that something appeared to be missing: the large metal “Heron” sculpture that was unveiled back in October of 2016. It wasn’t until I walked around the structure did I realize that the sculpture is still there, but from some angles is almost completely blocked by the pergola. Walk around the backside of the pergola, and you’ll see that it was constructed around (literally) the sculpture:

This seems a bit of an odd choice. I do hope the port gives serious consideration to relocating The Heron to a more visible location.

The new pergola was just one of the things I visited the port to see. I was really curious to see how much progress has been made on the new public fishing pier. I last wrote about the pier some three years ago, when contractor’s bids to replace the existing pier were being accepted. Back then, the wooden pier was looking somewhat shabby:

Today, however, much of the new concrete pier’s structure is in place:

As you can probably tell, the new pier is pretty much the shape and size of the old one, just made from a different, presumably more long-lasting, material. I do like the accessibility ramp (there are also stairs). According to the Port of Redwood City, the fishing pier renovation should be completed in early 2022; those of you who enjoy fishing will soon be able to resume that particular activity from this location. For the curious, the port’s latest newsletter includes a list of the common species of fish you might see in Redwood Creek:

  • Jacksmelt
  • Striped Bass
  • Leopard Shark
  • White Sturgeon
  • Bat Ray

Elsewhere in the port, a number of illuminated bollards along the walkways fronting the Port of Redwood City Marina were painted in fun, bright colors with nautical images:

And although I may have posted this picture some time ago — the work to paint this small mural was done quite a while ago, as I recall — I just love this trompe-l’oeil image on the side of the restroom building in the Marina:

It does a great job of making you feel as if you are inside of a boat…

Around the other side of that same building is a new (for me, anyway; it may have been there a while) BBQ and picnic area:

Presumably this is an amenity primarily for those living on boats on Dock C, and others with boats in the Marina.

Lastly, one of the utility boxes along this same section of the Marina has been painted to look as if it has been plastered with a number of old historic photos of the port; it is really neat to look at:

The Port of Redwood City regularly sends out a newsletter in which they highlight the goings-on out there, and they regularly encourage people to visit the port. That’s a good idea: there is a lot to see and do out there, including (when the weather is nicer) renting kayaks from California Canoe and Kayak (they’ll rent you a kayak and even put it into the water for you) and exploring Redwood Creek. Even without going on the water, it is a lovely place in which to walk or sit, and look at the boats, the wildlife, and the public art. Just follow Seaport Boulevard (which is Woodside Road, west of Highway 101) to the east, and turn in when you reach Seaport Court (which is a signal). Park in the large public lot, and then explore to your heart’s content.

I always like to point out that one of the things that makes Redwood City special when compared with most Peninsula cities is its waterfront, and the Port of Redwood City is a large and important part of that waterfront. All Redwood City residents should spend some time out there, if only to get acquainted with this important, but often-overlooked part of Redwood City.

That does it for this week’s post. Next week, I plan to do a “year in review” and summarize the changes that have gone on in Redwood City throughout the year. As you might guess, the list is long…

6 thoughts on “Of Ports and Beams

  1. Pingback: Wrapping Up | Walking Redwood City

  2. Love your column every week, but what a great surprise to see my apartment door decorations at Arroyo Green apartments. Wish the lights on the wreath and the garland had been on.

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