Tag Archives: parking

Marla Wilson: Building a Better Broadway – Signs of life along Oakland’s Main Street

15 Dec Broadway at 27th

This guest blog post was written by Marla Wilson, Sustainable Development Associate with Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s advocate for open spaces and vibrant places. She has served on the Community Stakeholders Group for the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan since the planning process began in 2008. Oakland is one of Greenbelt Alliance’s top priority cities for infill development in the region.

It’s easy to miss anything that happens this time of year. Things fall through the cracks in the crazy crunch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s why you may not have noticed that the City of Oakland has released a key document with a vision for revitalizing a neighborhood that has, like several parts of the city, fallen upon hard times.

From the beginning, the City’s stated goal in creating the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan has been to address Oakland’s retail “leakage” – the fact that only $1 of every $3 an Oakland resident spends is spent in Oakland. The City’s goal has been to create a district similar to San Francisco’s Union Square or Emeryville’s Bay Street, with at least 1 million square feet of retail – that’s equivalent to roughly 2.5 Bay Streets!

Without leadership, this vision will not happen. Property owners would prefer to sell their land for uses like housing that command a larger price tag, not to mention that there are 140 property owners who need to agree in order to assemble sizable properties necessary to attract major retailers. Yet, the economic downturn has meant that this stretch of Broadway, between Grand Avenue and 580, has become more desolate, with many “Auto Row” car dealerships leaving or going out of business. Some new businesses have arrived, like 3000 Broadway and Shashamane, but they could really flourish if more people lived nearby. Meanwhile, online sales continue to rise, leaving retailers reconsidering the role of bricks and mortar locations.

Earlier this year, Greenbelt Alliance teamed up with several other organizations to announce a bold yet realistic vision for a better Broadway. This fall, we recognized and applauded the positive impact this vision has had on Oakland’s Draft Plan Concept for the Broadway-Valdez area. Sure, there is lots this plan does not yet describe, including policies to attract quality jobs. Although it’s still largely at the 30,000-foot level, the plan is definitely headed in the right direction. Continue reading

PARK(ing) Week in Oakland

13 Sep parking day lemonade 2

If you’re interested in parking or PARK(ing), there’s plenty for you to do in Oakland this week. You might have heard that this Friday, September 16th is PARK(ing) Day, “an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.” Oaklanders have participated in PARK(ing) day for the past several years, and I’ve heard about some awesome plans for this year.

PARK(ing) Day is all about re-appropriating on-street parking, but off-street parking is also important to our city. On Thursday night the City is holding a workshop on off-street parking. From the email: Continue reading

Parking meters not just “cash cows”: City Council discusses parking demand management

7 Mar Libby Schaaf on Parking

As I mentioned in a previous post about last week’s City Council meeting, the meeting was full of important discussions and decisions. Though most attention has been paid to the zoning update and Energy and Climate Action Plan – and rightfully so considering how long the City and the Council has been working on those items – the discussion I found most interesting was the one on parking at the very end of the meeting. Continue reading

A busy #oakmtg – BRT, zoning, parking & more

3 Mar Internatonal TOD Map

Tuesday night’s Council meeting was full of important discussions and decisions. The Council finally voted on the zoning update and the Energy and Climate Action Plan. They also had a somewhat maddening but also very productive discussion on parking. I’ll have a post up sometime in the next week with video, but for now, here are the #oakmtg tweets, courtesy of Ruth Miller and I. And if you’re not already following Ruth @mcplanner on Twitter, follow her already! She’s been doing a fantastic job tweeting Council, committee, and Planning Commission hearings. I hope she keeps it up! Continue reading

New blog design, updated blogroll & plenty on the City Council agenda

28 Feb cropped-blog-header-image.jpg

If you’ve been to the Living in the O site since Sunday, you’ve probably noticed that I finally updated the look and navigation of the site. I picked this theme because of how it features photos and how it fits so much but doesn’t feel cluttered. I hope you like it.

If you haven’t been to the site (and I know from stats that most of you read via RSS feeds), take a minute and check it out, as I also updated my blogroll, which I haven’t done in a very long time. I added a bunch of Oakland, California, and transportation blogs I read regularly. If you’re looking for new blogs to read, check some of them out. Continue reading

The Blogoaksphere in 2009: The Biggest Stories

2 Jan

You’re probably wondering what happened to the three-part series I promised about the blogoaksphere in 2009. Well, I was initially hoping to get this post up on the 31st, but it turned out to be a much bigger project than I had realized. There were hundreds of blog posts to pour through and many of the big stories of 2009 were heavy and filled with emotion. I pushed on and finally finished the post yesterday evening, but when I hit publish, I received an error message and my many hours of work over several days disappeared. I have no idea how this happened because WordPress automatically saves drafts as you write, and I’ve never lost more than 10 minutes of work in the past.

Unfortunately, there’s no way I’m going to be able to recreate that post. It took an immense amount of energy and time to write, and I just am not up to doing all that research and writing again.

But I’m not looking for sympathy here; I’m looking for help. Something that happened this past year, which I had not seen as much in previous years, is that big stories emerged in the blogoaksphere. In some cases, a couple bloggers would pick up the story and then many more would join in (like the Uptown parking lot fight), and in others, everyone jumped in at once (like the shooting of four Oakland police officers). What amazed me is how many different perspectives were shared on issues and how much these perspectives filled in the gaps of reporting in the mainstream media.

Here is the list of what I thought were the biggest blogoaksphere stories of 2009.

  • Riots in response to the killing of Oscar Grant (January)
  • The Oakland Airport Connector boondoggle (February-December)
  • Tragic shooting of four Oakland police officers (March)
  • Stopping the Uptown parking lot (March-May)
  • The abrupt closure of the Parkway (March, ongoing)
  • The parking rebellion & its aftermath (June, ongoing)
  • New restaurants opening & thriving throughout Oakland (Yearlong)

Since I’m not going to be able to fill in the dozens of links and excerpts that I originally compiled, I’m asking you for some help. You’re a blog reader and probably remember some posts written about these stories. Post links, excerpts, or just thoughts on these stories (or other stories) in the comments below. If you’re a blogger, feel free to post links to your own blog posts about these stories.

I’ll get this started by posting an excerpt to one of my favorite blog posts of the year, “Thoughts on a fractured city” at City Homestead, which reflected on the killing of Oscar Grants and the riots that ensued in downtown Oakland:

The shooting and its aftermath disturb me deeply on so many levels. There are countless layers to it: fear in its many forms, anger, prejudices and quick judgments, weighty decisions with life-altering consequences. We may never know exactly what was going through that officer’s mind in those early morning hours. Although the many videos make it clear to me that there was no need to fire, those of us watching on YouTube have the benefit of hindsight. We’re not standing inside that scene, weighing our options, uncertain. That’s not to say the officer is any less accountable for his actions, as we each live our lives by the decisions we make in the instant. It’s only to say that we may never know what emotions ran through his mind as he made that choice or in the moments afterwards.

I never expected what followed, though. The protests and vigils made sense, of course: BART’s leadership was remiss in their initial response to this tragedy, I think, and in the months to come, the agency will probably dissect these days one by one, trying to determine what might have been done differently. And given that the shooting happened in Oakland and BART’s headquarters are here, it was only logical that gatherings should be here as well. But the riots stunned me. How can the destruction of our neighborhoods possibly further the cause in any way? What’s worse is that the riots do not even seem to have been wholly Oakland-grown—many of the media reports and images profile young people from San Francisco and Berkeley and places farther afield attacking OPD cruisers, torching dumpsters, smashing windows. “I feel like Oakland should make some noise,” one protester from San Francisco told a reporter. “This is how we need to fight back.” And of the Oaklander whose small business had just had its windows smashed: “She should be glad she just lost her business and not her life.” This is the way to fight back? Is the killing of a young black male truly avenged by the destruction of black-owned businesses—and in someone else’s city, no less?

She continues, reflecting on all the positive things that Oakland has to offer and ending by explaining why we continue to live here:

To the world: we are not trapped here in this city; we have chosen to be here. We are here not because it is the only place we can afford living, but because it is the only place we can imagine living. I believe in this city, in its vast potential and its vibrant communities—and I love it, with all its imperfections. As a community, we will work through the anger and the violence, unearthing the very roots of it. Then, together, we will rebuild trust across the city and create from the fragments a single unified community. There’s a long road ahead, but I have faith that it is one that the people of this city will travel together.

It is Oakland, after all.

Exactly. So please join in below and share some of your favorite posts of the year on these big stories, be they inspiring, funny, informative, or simply enjoyable. It would be a huge New Years gift to me and would help me forgive WordPress for eating all of my work.

October 19-25 Oakland Political & Community Events

19 Oct

Tuesday, October 20th – Oakland City Council Meeting

Woo! The Council has been having a series of long and intense meetings since recess, and this week’s meeting looks like it will follow in that pattern. First, the Council will swear in Police Chief Anthony Batts. Then, among other items, they’ll be receiving an update on the municipal ID card program, voting on amendments to the MOU with the Oakland Police Officers Association, discussing new business incentives, receiving an update on H1N1 prevention, and, believe it or not, discussing parking again.  Both items were introduced by Pat Kernighan – one seeks to make enforcement of the violation of parking in the wrong direction on narrow streets the lowest enforcement priority, while the other seeks to explore increasing time limits at meters in certain parts of the City. See the full meeting agenda and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The non-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Tuesday, October 20th – 40th St Bikeway/MacArthur BART Bicycle Access Improvements Community Meeting

The City of Oakland is seeking to improve bicycle access to MacArthur BART between Piedmont Ave, Kaiser Hospital, and Emeryville. The current recommendations include a proposal to add bicycle lanes on 40th St by narrowing the median from Yerba Buena Ave to Martin Luther King, Jr Wy and from Telegraph Ave to Webster St. There are also complimentary recommendations for 41St St and W MacArthur Blvd.  City Staff have worked very hard to come up with these recommendations that will narrow some of the street medians, maintain the number of car travel lanes and parking spots, add bike lanes and enhance street greenery. Organized by the Longfellow neighbors, Tuesday’s meeting will focus entirely on the proposed project, including next steps in working with the community. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm at the North Oakland Community Charter School, 1000 42nd St at Linden St.  Jason Patton, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Oakland will be presenting the city’s proposed plans. You can find more details about this project at the City’s website.

Tuesday, October 20th– Free Urban Bicycle Safety Class

This class, hosted by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, consists of a 3.5 hour Traffic Safety 101 Classroom workshop (formerly Day One Street Skills) and a 6.5 hour Traffic Safety 101 Road Class (formerly known as Day Two Road I class) of on-bike instruction. We encourage you to take both Day One and Day Two and to entice you to do so, we’ll give you a free front/back bike light upon completing the class. If, however, your time is limited, sign up for a Day One class. You can always take a Day Two class later. The class will take place from 6-9:30 pm at Kaiser Medical Center, 3801 Howe St, Fabiola Building Room G65B. Register online at: www.ebbc.org/safety.

Wednesday, October 21st – Laurel Outdoor Movie Night on the Patio

Oakland Food Connection and Trattoria Laurellinos welcome the return of the Laurel Outdoor Movie Night on the Patio. This month they will be featuring a great food justice documentary entitled FOOD FIGHT! A film by Chris Taylor, the documentary discusses how industrialized agribusiness is taking over the American food system and how grassroots organizations and community groups are working to change that. After the film there will be a brief discussion with members of Oakland Food Connection and California Food and Justice Coalition. The event will be held from 7-10pm at Trattoria Laurellinos, 4171 Macarthur Blvd. Popcorn and refreshments will be provided. Suggested Donation of $5.

Wednesday, October 21st – NAPAWF BENEFIT for Disaster Relief Efforts

Please join the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, NAPAWF Bay Area for the Bay Area relief efforts to support the people of Indonesia, Philippines, Samoa, Vietnam, and areas that have been affected by the recent earthquakes and typhoons.Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines with severe rains and flooding Sept. 26, followed by Super Typhoon Parma Oct. 2. These two storms left major damage to the region’s infrastructure and the increased flooding is expected to breech dams already at overflow capacity. In Indonesia, more than 80 percent of the local structures including schools, hospitals, local buildings and shops have been destroyed. Cumulatively, the typhoons have killed more than 3,000 people and injured thousands in calamity affected areas. Communities all around the country are standing in solidarity for our brothers and sisters who are still in the struggle for adequate shelter, food, water, and family reunification. A generous sponsor has agreed to match total proceeds for the night so please bring your friends, colleagues, and community. The benefit will be held from 5:30-9:00pm at Somar, 1727 Telegraph Avenue. Find more details and RSVP on Facebook.

Thursday, October 22nd – San Leandro Community Forum on Bus Rapid Transit

San Leandro will be holding several community meetings over the next few weeks to discuss AC Transt’s bus rapid transit (BRT) project.  Though these meetings will be focused on the San Leandro segment, since Oakland’s community meetings have not yet been scheduled, this will be a great chance for Oaklanders to learn more about the project. At the upcoming San Leandro meetings, AC Transit will provide detailed information on the San Leandro draft plan for BRT and collect feedback to present to policy makers. Light refreshments will be provided and there will be a drawing for free AC Transit bus tickets. The meeting will be held from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, with the presentation at 7, at San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue. The library is very easily accessible by the 1/1R or the San Leandro BART station.

Saturday, October 24th – BEAST Bloggers Camp

Get together with other East Bay bloggers for a day of workshops, meetups, and talk. Learn hands-on skills with multimedia, talk about growing your community, and ponder making money. This day-long meet up for new and experienced bloggers will feature time to mingle and hang out, but also offer practical, hands-on workshops including:

  • Investigative Reporting basics
  • Using a FlipCam and adding more video to your site
  • Making more money from your blog (case studies/strategies that work)
  • Getting started with Blogging
  • Adding photography to your site through other social media outlets (e.g. Flickr)
  • Local Blogger Directory and Discovery (share what your neighbors are doing)
  • Drupal vs. WordPress technology discussion

The camp will be held from 10am-5pm at at TechLiminal, 268 14th Street in downtown Oakland. Registration is $10 and you can register online.

Sunday, October 25th - Oakland Civic Orchestra Free Concert

The Oakland Civic Orchestra opens its 2009-2010 season with Concert Romantique at a free concert. The program includes Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No 5 in A Minor, featuring guest soloist Alina Ming-Kobialka, a finalist in the Oakland-East Bay Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition; Bizet’s L’Alesinne Suite No 2; and Berlioz’s Love Scene & Queen Mab from Romeo & Juliet. The concert will be held at 4pm at at the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Avenue. Admission is free.  For details, call 238-7275 or  check out their website.

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