New “Lake Alemany” Entices Local Media and Watersports Enthusiasts


After several days of nonstop rain, Lake Alemany has taken form beneath the 101-280 “Spaghetti Bowl,” in southeast Bernal, and the new reservoir quickly attracted the attention of local television crews.

Neighbor John was also on the scene at Bernal’s own version of the Salton Sea, and he reports that Lake Alemany is 1-2 feet deep in the middle, and about 30′ wide. Here’s a close-up:

No word yet on whether the Recreation and Parks Department plans to open Lake Alemany for bumper-wakeboarding and alligator hunting, but Bernal residents are advised to keep their air boats, amphibious vehicles, and fishing equipment at the ready, just in case.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neighbor John

10 thoughts on “New “Lake Alemany” Entices Local Media and Watersports Enthusiasts

  1. But of course there used to be a marsh fed by streams here, which could only have been as calm and beautiful as the spaghetti bowl is hideous and indifferent. Nature will never let us forget!

  2. While the lake is mildly amusing it creates a dangerous situation when drivers try to make the left turn only to be forced onto the freeway. Instead of getting on the freeway they cut across three lanes of traffic to head towards Bayshore. It’s quite hazardous. Who is responsible for fixing the problem?

    • I would guess that is CalTrans. However, this location is directly in the Islais Creek watershed, and was a major creek bed before it was under-grounded. I imagine it would be VERY expensive to fix. I recently heard a report where the City of San Francisco estimated it would cost in the region of two billion dollars to mitigate all the identified flood zones in the city.

      • I doubt it would be that hard to fix since it doesn’t seem to be a caused by the creek or the tide. Since the water just sits there after the storms are over, it is likely just bad drainage. Either fix the pipes or install some pumps to move that water along.

  3. This seems like a pretty simple issue to fix: Raise the road bed to remove the dip. It would reduce the clearance for tall vehicles, but they can go around.

  4. People seem to forget that the reason these places don’t drain is because the water table is very high. Drains use gravity (DUH!) and thus, unless DPW or Caltrans physically pumps out the water it’s going to stay until it evaporates or gradually seeps into the ground.

    As others have said, SF is built on creeks and streams. There is no getting around that. There is no way to “fix” nature, except only temporarily. Nature will still come back. Best solution is for drivers to wake up and do what they need to do, not what they want to do. If I see a flooded area I avoid it. I don’t drive into it! In order to see these areas I drive slowly in the rain and afterward. People behind me get pissed, and then they speed up, etc. One time some yahoo sped up in front of me and then spun out and hit a trash can, damaging the front of his car. I saw steam arising from the front of his car. I didn’t stop to help because, well, it was his own damned fault.

  5. Years ago, more than 70, before freeways crossed the area, the southern area adjacent to Alemany before San Bruno Ave or Bayshore highway was swampy and used for dumping garbage and refuse. And especially in winter with the rains you could not walk in or cross the area. We kids used to build rafts of lumber/cardboard and whatever was available and paddle around the area. It was a stupid idea but we had fun and got wet.
    The water that drained there came from the hillside at St Mary’s park and Crescent. This water was joined by the creeks in Glen Park and beyond. Although man has tried to hold back the deluge, it still can outwit the best plans of engineers and city planners.

  6. Freaking ridiculous. This has been flooding for years. They only recently stared closing it off when it floods, and stalled a car out one night, years ago, thinking it wasn’t as deep as it was.

    Now, it gets closed off (right short term answer) but you can’t see that ahead of time and it messes up the driving flow.

    I have wondered the same thing as Brandon: why can’t they raise up the roadbed? It’s clear that the level of the raid there is uneven.

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