Want a better Broadway? Join me this Thursday

4 Apr

As I’ve written here before, one of the reasons my wife and I moved so close to Broadway auto row was because of the hope we had for the future growth of the neighborhood. Broadway has grown quite a bit on its own over the past few years, with Shashamane, Z Cafe, Mua, and Mimosa paving the way, and NEX and 3000 Broadway opening more recently (and from what I can see, doing very well). Soon, the Parkway might open on Broadway, which would bring quite a bit of foot traffic to the area. But there are still plenty of vacant storefronts on Broadway, tons of surface parking lots, and basically zero retail except for Grocery Outlet and a couple liquor stores.

The City has been working on a specific plan for Broadway auto row and the Valdez triangle for the past several years, but their proposed plans leave much to be desired. I attended a community meeting in 2010 where the alternatives were discussed, and it didn’t seem like anyone in the room liked any of the alternatives. Among other problematic aspects, all of the alternatives included absurd amounts of parking.

It’s easy to be compelled to just throw your hands up and determine that this specific plan is doomed, but the Greenbelt Alliance and several other organizations have taken the more difficult and productive route of working on alternative plans for the future of Boradway-Valdez. And this Thursday evening, they’ll be unveiling those plans at the old dealership space next to Z Cafe.

From the event invite:

Greenbelt Alliance, East Bay Housing Organizations, the Building Trades Council, Alameda Labor Council, the Sierra Club, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, residents of Valdez Plaza, and the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay will celebrate the release of our shared vision (PDF) for improving the Broadway-Valdez neighborhood.

We can transform this area, dominated by vast parking lots and several vacant car dealerships, into a vibrant, mixed-use community where people of all income levels can live, shop, and work. Bringing new retail and homes will help Oakland generate much needed sales tax revenue to address challenging budget shortfalls. Homes we can all afford and quality jobs for Oakland residents will also make this a walkable destination that everyone can enjoy, building on the vitality of the Fox Theater, the Uptown Arts District, and Pill Hill.

I’m on the host committee for this event because as a resident of the area, I think it’s so important that we get this plan right, as what is planned for and built will be with us for decades. If you too hope for a better Broadway, please join us at the event.

Here are the details:

A Better Broadway: An open house to celebrate a new vision for the Broadway-Valdez neighborhood

Oakland Broadway Street SignSpeakers:

  • Vien Truong, Oakland Planning Commission
  • Daniel Sawislak, Resources for Community Development
  • Andreas Cluver, Building Trades Council
  • Josie Camacho, Alameda Labor Council

Host Committee:

  • Sandra Coleman, League of Women Voters
  • Marla Wilson, Greenbelt Alliance
  • Shawn Rowland, East Bay Housing Organizations
  • Francine Williams, Valdez Plaza
  • Marjorie Sanders, Valdez Plaza
  • Kent Lewandowski, Sierra Club
  • Rebecca Saltzman, California League of Conservation Voters

Our platform calls for:

  • Viable retail for Oakland’s bottom line
  • Homes we can all afford
  • Feasible parking policies
  • Quality jobs for Oakland’s residents
  • Walkable streets with compact homes
  • Green building and infrastructure
  • Greener ways to get around
  • Adaptive reuse of existing buildings

Join us at a special location, the former Connell Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler showroom in the heart of this district. We’ll have delicious drinks and refreshments from Z Café and Bar, interactive exhibits to encourage discussion about our vision, brief remarks about the ongoing planning work for Broadway-Valdez, and so much more!

If you care about community planning in Oakland, don’t miss this event.

Date: Thursday, April 7
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location2735 Broadway, Oakland

RSVP on Facebook or on Greenbelt Alliance’s website.

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