Imagining an alternative to a surface parking lot in Uptown

30 Mar

UPDATE: The Community and Economic Development Committee will be voting on this issue on Tuesday, April 28th. Check out my action alert to find out how you can influence their vote.

fox-and-fence

As dto510 mentioned in a post about Uptown, he and I and a couple other advocates testified last week at a Council committee hearing against the permitting of a temporary surface parking lot on Telegraph, in between the Fox Theater and the Uptown apartments. We argued that a surface parking lot would not fit in this pedestrian oriented neighborhood and that there is already ample parking in nearby lots. We successfully convinced the committee, comprised of Jane Brunner, Ignacio De La Fuente, and Pat Kernighan to not immediately approve the surface parking lot. Instead, they’re bringing the issue back before the committee on April 7th and have asked the Redevelopment Agency to present alternative proposals to the parking lot.

So yesterday I decided to walk around the now vacant lot to try to imagine how a parking lot would feel in the area and how other possible uses might feel. Above is a view of the fenced lot from Telegraph. From this vantage point, a surface parking lot would bring a suburban feel to this up and coming urban neighborhood. Below is a view from 19th Street, next to the Fox, looking towards the Uptown apartments:

uptown-and-fence

I then walked into the park that’s sandwiched between the Uptown apartments and the Fox, behind this empty lot. Somehow I’d never been there before, and I was stunned not only by its beauty, but also the serenity and quiet that could be found there, in the middle of the not so serene and very noisy downtown Oakland:

uptown-park

I sat down for a while, enjoying the sun and the quiet, before returning my attention to the empty lot. Looking at the fence, I imagined how a surface parking lot would endanger the peace and quiet that could now be found in this park. The parking lot would be just a few steps away from where I was sitting:

park-and-fence

I have a few ideas for what this lot could be used for temporarily, instead of a surface parking lot, but I’d like to hear some of yours. Keep in mind that this use must be temporary, as ultimately condos will be built on this lot. So a park is a non-starter with the committee members; as Pat Kernighan explained, parks are never temporary and if one was built, the community would never allow it to be replaced by a building.

And remember that this is not just a fun thought exercise. The committee members are asking for ideas so your dream could end up becoming a reality.

47 Responses to “Imagining an alternative to a surface parking lot in Uptown”

  1. Jim T March 30, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Why not just grass? My guess is that it falls into the “park” category, but so does a parking lot (aka a “car park”, as it was originally known – and is still known to Brits). It can’t be more expensive to sod than to pave (cheaper by far, I would imagine).

    And this idea that the community wouldn’t “allow” the grass to subsequently developed is nonsense. Putting in a nice space, such as a some greenery, just makes sense. And subsequent developments in the area will benefit from this as well.

    • dto510 March 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

      Jim, there is opposition to building a high-rise building there, as approved by the Council several years ago (Jane Brunner said the main issue is preserving the view of the Fox from further up Telegraph, but I think there are other objections as well). Considering that some people oppose developing even completely inaccessible “open space” downtown, it really would engender more opposition if the lot were something nice and publicly-useful before construction starts. There’s also the issue of maintenance: who will pay to water the grass for three years before construction starts? It’s an idea, though, and certainly better than paved parking.

    • mike May 17, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      I’ve always felt that a possible compromise would be to make a soccer field type of park on top of a parking structure. There is one in Berkeley just off of Telegraph ave and although open space would be my favorite option, this would make for both ample parking and user friendly open space. I believe it would also be nicer to look down upon for the surrounding elevated buildings…

      just an idea…

  2. dto510 March 30, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    I think it’s important to note that this lot is really, really big, almost a full city block (by Oakland standards – we have small blocks). That means that surface parking would especially dominate the neighborhood, but also makes it more difficult to do something that wouldn’t generate revenue.

  3. Rocky F March 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Why not a solar array? You could even keep the fences that are currently there to keep people out.

    Not sure how the shade there would affect it, but I imagine it would be able to bring in some renewable energy that could be used locally or sold to help pay for the panels.

    I remember seeing an array outside of an elementary school, also fenced off, in Nevada while campaigning for Obama last year. After some quick digging, here is a story about the panels:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/pauite-kids-solar-energy.php

    The best part is that you could store the panels during construction of the condos and then stick them on top of the condos and other surrounding facilities. Shade problems go away.

    Plenty of financing questions, but I’m sure that they could be figured out.

    • Becks March 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

      That’s a fantastic idea Rocky. I think financing issues might not be so problematic. Forest City, the company that built the Uptown, had agreed to finance the surface parking lot, even though they would lose money in the endeavor so they might agree to finance solar panels. It actually would very well with their green vision for the Uptown apartments.

  4. Jim T March 30, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    I’ve been mulling this all day, and I have to say, this needs to be open space that is pedestrian friendly. A park, grass, whatever. And it absolutely must not be a parking lot. This would dominate the landscape there and be a complete detriment to the urban revitalization underway.

    If anybody is making a petition, let me know. Heck, if anybody’s organizing a protest, let me know. This kind of urban planning makes my blood boil. Uptown’s a part of downtown (including Old Oakland and Jack London) that has a real shot at revival. A little care needs to be taken not to erase the hard-fought gains.

  5. Patrick March 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    What about a community garden? Oakland’s climate is ideal for many vegetables, and their are plenty of nearby residents who do not have access to a yard. And in today’s economy, it would probably be a hit! Plus, vegetables, for the most part, are not perennial. At the end of each season, the plots are virtually empty – so no big “loss” when the time comes to build.

    Alternately, why not offer up the land to one of the community-supportive CSAs, like People’s Grocery? I’m not sure if they’d make the time investment for what could be a relatively short period, but it would be a great marketing tool for them, IMO.

  6. Matt C. March 30, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    All I can say is under no uncertain terms should there be a parking lot there -not even for a day. I live on the 1900 block of MLK. When I bring my friends and family to the neighborhood for the first time they tend to comment on how many parking lots there are, the unexpected architectural gems and how little neighborhood activity there is. If the neighborhood is going to improve we have to show there is a reason to be here… other than to park a vehicle. This lot should be used as community event space. Weekend arts exhibits, perhaps? Farmers market? Taste of Oakland, maybe? How about martial arts demonstrations? Job fairs? Community improvement and outreach events? A floral market? Activating this outdoor space could entice people to come early to events at the Fox and Paramount and get more out of traveling to Downtown.

  7. SA March 30, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    It needs to be parking. The current fenced-off lot looks horrible and makes the area feel dangerous at night. With so many businesses opening, if the owners want to flourish, there needs to be a place for people to park. I’ve been parking on side streets when I go to the Uptown on Mondays for burlesque but with more things opening it’s starting to get difficult, and frankly the area just isn’t busy and well-lit enough for me to feel safe walking very far.

    • Becks March 31, 2009 at 8:12 am #

      Right now, there is already sufficient parking in Uptown – it’s just not all available at night. Something that Nancy Nadel brought up at this hearing is that there’s a parking structure just down the street from the Fox that holds 400+ cars, but it’s not open at night. So a much better idea is to just open this lot during the night, at least on weekends.

      Also, the answer to pedestrian safety at night, including pedestrians headed to cars, is to encourage more pedestrian activity, not less. As more businesses open up (the Den just opened on Friday, and AVE a couple weeks ago), Uptown gets less and less deserted. I was just there on Friday night, walking around quite a bit, and it never felt empty.

      Beyond all of that, Uptown is a transit oriented hub. The BART station is very convenient and about a dozen AC Transit buses stop at the very well lit Uptown Transit Center. I often go out of my way to wait for buses there because it feels very safe. The businesses in the area need to educate their customers about the transit options before demanding more marking.

      • SA April 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

        As I noted below, BART stops running just after midnight. When your event goes from 10pm to bar close, that’s not an option.

        AC Transit would take me an hour of transit each way for a 3-ish hour event, and getting me home at an insanely late hour.

    • newoaktown March 31, 2009 at 8:27 am #

      SA- I live in this neighborhood specifically at Uptown and feel plenty safe. I even feel safe walking around to other parts of downtown and toward the freeway, even though there are interesting characters.

      Where do you come from? There is a BART station one block away from the Uptown, as well as an AC Transit mega bus stop terminal a block away.

      This space MUST NOT be another fossil-fueled car sewer.

      The ideas above are good: community/market space, community garden, solar panels.

      The city needs more parks – not more parking. I’d extend the existing park to include 1/3 of the currently empty lot.

      Then the rest of it can be a PG community garden and weekly farmers market. A night market would be especially awesome. That combined relaxation with a bit of tax revenue for the city. Everyone loves night markets, provided they aren’t too noisy for all the sleepy residents at Uptown after say 11pm.

      If there’s any leftover space, a soccer field and basketball/tennis court. What this area is currently lacking is any kind of practical grocery store or cafe. The night market satisfies this.

      I’ll think about this some more.

      • SA April 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

        BART stops running just after midnight, which makes it a no-go when attending an event that starts at 10pm. Busing would triple my transit time, meaning I wouldn’t come at all. If I’m performing, I am usually carrying several large bags of costumes and accessories, and sometimes even furniture, which is impractical on transit.

        And it may feel great down there on a Friday, but not so much on a Monday. I parked on the far side of the new park last time I was there, which was about as far as I felt comfortable going.

        • Becks April 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

          SA – I don’t think any of us are arguing for the abolition of parking or even necessarily against strategic development of parking lots. And just because I’m not driving to Uptown, I certainly don’t think that others should be denied the right to do so, especially when that’s the only feasible way to get there. Check out Future Oakland’s excellent analysis of the complexities of parking development in Uptown for more on this.

        • newoaktown April 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

          BART doesn’t magically stop running at midnight. The last trains departing Richmond/Berkeley to go ALL THE WAY DOWN TO FREMONT are either 12:15 or 12:30am.

          All the shows I”ve seen at FOX disgorge people at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30pm.

          Which means they have until 12:30-12:45 to catch the “last” BART train.

          Hm. So people want to stay late. Well, let’s build a 24hour love hotel, I mean, motel, there! Perfect solution.

          There is also a late night, 24-hour NIGHT OWL BUS which runs every hour.
          http://transit.511.org/providers/allnighter.pdf

          So please run by me again what exactly is the problem?

          There are also many parking lots in the vicinity. Why do we need ANOTHER parking lot? I’m sick of parking lots!!!

  8. Genie March 31, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    What about a sculpture garden (maybe less grass/more paving to help keep maintenance down?) for some of the giant Oakland pieces that show up at Burning Man?

  9. Marc March 31, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    When I visited Portland a few years ago, I noticed that they had a number of mobile restaurants located around a parking lot in the downtown area. Perhaps something like that could work — they could be open for lunch on weekdays, and stay open late on weekends or after big events at the Fox. It would require only electricity, water and drains for the carts and wouldn’t be permanent.

  10. gem s. March 31, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    There’s no reason why a parking lot has to be paved- there’s a few products on the market, one is called Grasscrete. The lot could be used for overflow parking only at certain times, and then used for a summer farmer’s market, grassy space, or whatever the rest of the time. It’s somewhat more expensive than just pouring regular concrete, but the upside is aesthetics, decreased runoff, increased water infiltration into soils, less reflective heat, and a much nicer overall feel to the area.
    Planted with the proper type of low- water grass seed and with a good soil underneath, it could be carefully designed to use as less water than the normal sod lawn rolled out everywhere.

  11. Doug Boxer March 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    I don’t know what should go there but I know what should happen procedurally. It should come to the Planning Commission and not be decided solely the City Council. The PC is the land use body of the City and to bypass that, is in my opinion, wrong (I won’t take a position on the parking lot at this point, as I will have to decide on this, if it comes to us).

    • Becks March 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

      I agree completely. When we testified last week at the committee hearing, we argued this as well. If I remember correctly, Jane Brunner agreed and thought it should be sent to the PC, but De La Fuente disagreed. They finally agreed that they would just rehear the issue on the 7th. Maybe the PC can proactively ask to hear this issue? You’d have the backing of citizen advocates.

    • dto510 March 31, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

      The issue will ultimately be resolved at the PC (though of course anyone can appeal their decision to the Council), if it is determined that a public hearing is needed for a surface parking lot, which arguably under the current zoning it is not. Certainly a public hearing was not required for the surface parking lot on 12th and Franklin that was installed last year. Of course, when the PC gets around to passing the DTO zoning update, surface parking may be banned outright. Has that been agendized, Mr. Boxer?

      The reason this is at the City Council is because the Redevelopment Agency would be the developer applying for planning permission, and so the Council needs to decide whether or not the RDA asks permission from the PC (or just staff, as explained above).

  12. Frankie D March 31, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Why do we always do this to ourselves? We go through the effort to create a vibrant and up and coming urban environment and then put this huge energy killing asphalt parking lot smack dab in the middle of it. The development will just look incomplete. Once it becomes a parking lot it will probably stay one a long time regradless of the development agreement. Its like a beautiful woman putting on makeup and then blackening one of her eye teeth and smiling for a photograph. The only thing you notice is the missing tooth. Here are a few suggestions;

    1. Alternative energy farm: solar and Wind (not all wind has to be propellers.
    2. Urban Garden, plant vegetables for local restaurants.
    3. Urban vineyard, plant grapes (this might generate cash and public interest).
    4. Put in top soil and let it grow fallow and bring in the goats to graze:
    5. Art Garden: let some of the local artist use it for outdoor display space.
    6. Install temporary kiosks that can house small commerical uses similar to those in Union Square and provide an area for taxi’s and bike parking only.
    7. Temporary skateboard park.
    8. Outdoor ice rink, pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot.
    9 Combination of all of the above.

    We have more than enough parking lots downtown and we need to make a statement starting now that auto dependency is so last century.

  13. Frankie D March 31, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    One more rant, if that area is turned into a hugh surface parking lot it will kill all the foot traffic that is generated from people parking on the street and walking to the Fox for events. The neighboring bars and restaurants benefit from this foot traffic. If that land must become a parking lot please keep the number of spaces to a minimal or for seniors and disabled only thereby forcing Fox patrons to park on the street or in other surrounding lots downtown and walking to events. We want more feet on the street it improves safety and quality of life.

  14. kevin Cook March 31, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Does the city own the lot now? Is there any timetable at all for when the lot will be actually be permanently developed, or is it indefinitely on hold until the real estate market turn around? In light of the huge budget deficits the city faces, I don’t understand how we can afford to pay for all the fine alternatives to a parking lot expressed above. If a parking lot is going to generate revenue for the city then it may very well be the best option–if it is truly temporary. By the way, the market for farmers markets is essentially saturated in the east bay.

    • Becks March 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

      My understanding is that Forest City owns the lot, though I’m not 100% sure of that . Forest City ultimately plans to build a condo building on the lot but is asking for building permits to be pushed back because of the economy. What I am sure of is that Forest City has agreed to pay to develop the lot temporarily, and when we talked to the representative from Forest City after the committee meeting she indicated that Forest City was not in any way wedded to the parking lot idea. The Redevelopment Agency came up with the parking lot idea and Forest City would lose at least $150,000 on the parking lot. Forest City seems to be ok with sinking some money into this space.

      • Becks March 31, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

        Looks like I was incorrect – the City does own the land. Forest City is leasing it.

        • newoaktown March 31, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

          The city owns the park as well – ForestCity built it and gifted it to the city, who is supposed to do the maintenance of it at some point.

          Future condos?

          Along with the general US housing market, ForestCity is UNDERWATER.
          This is a fact.

          US housing still has a long way to fall… maybe another 50% off peak prices, so housing won’t bounce back for years.. certainly not back to 2006 levels.
          So I doubt FC will be building any condos soon, unless they are apartment rentals first. And even then, it’s a renters’ market the 5+ million unemployed Americans we have moving back in with parents or living in tents.

          I still like my night market idea. The various farmers market/sports/art ideas sound worthy. Time for Planning Committee action.

    • V Smoothe April 1, 2009 at 1:43 am #

      Kevin, the parking lot will cost the city money, not generate it.

      • Becks April 1, 2009 at 7:30 am #

        As I understand it, the parking lot will cost Forest City money, not the city. But yes, the lot will not generate money for the city or Forest City.

  15. gem s. March 31, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    An urban vineyard is problematic, primarily because grapevines take several years to reach maturity. They also don’t do well on flat, poorly drained soil. I’d be wary of any contaminants in that city soil as well, and the fertility is likely to be nil after years of being under Sears’ Tire Center asphalt for decades. That means raised bed gardening for any urban gardening endeavor, which means a lot of expense at the outset for something that may be around for only 2-3 years. I’m a professional horticulturalist, so I generally advocate for gardens, but I don’t think gardening is feasible with the very short time frame. Certainly not grapes that would be ripped out a year before they started producing.

  16. Frankie D March 31, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    Kevin Cook, we would be better served making sure all the new restaurants, bars, and existing privately owned lots are generating revenue, rather than going for a quick buck with a football field sized city owned parking lot across the street from a major draw like the Fox theater. A big lot like that will potentially kill what is developing into an urban destination. We dont want so many patrons of the Fox to be able to park so close to that venue. You want them to walk your streets, park on the streets, drive around and look for parking and park in some of the existing privately owned lots. This way they have to walk or drive by places like Van Kleefs, Ozumo, Picans, Flora, Uptown, etc. If we create a big lot next to the big draw, they drive in, walk across the street and go to the show, walk back across the street to their car get on 980 and drive home. The city should never create a land use that potentially deprives its privately owned businesses of customers. One thing great urban spaces all have in common is that they never let parking be too easy.

  17. R. Kaplan March 31, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Great to see people discussing interesting ideas…. A couple points:

    – The plan is for housing (rental) to be built on the location within 3 years, so any proposal needs to be temporary.
    – Any proposal needs to generate revenue to cover its own operating costs & upkeep
    – The soil is probably not good for gardening, and, because this will be short term, it would probably not be worth the effort to amend the soil there for gardening.
    – As far as I have heard so far, Forest City is open to ideas for this.
    Thanks for the discussion.

  18. Luke April 1, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    This is a perfect spot for a park or piazza! Urban areas desperately need green and community spaces that are well designed. Chicago and NYC have lots of these kinda areas and are great. A spot like this next to the FOX would be amazing. Even using Union Square as an example. Create a nice outdoor spot with a cafe or two. How could it be anything else??

  19. Kevin Cook April 1, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Forest City reported a loss of around 110 million dollars for the year ending Jan. 31, so unless things turn around in a hurry, I’d take the three year time frame with a grain of salt.

    Yes, parking lots suck and there shouldn’t be one on that lot, especially if it’s not going to make any money for anybody. However, our city cannot even pay for the parks it has now. Where is the money going to come from to maintain a new park? Is the park right next door that Becks visited already too crowded? The photos make it look deserted.

    I don’t have any realistic ideas for a revenue neutral temporary use of that site, but if the city can’t even put trash cans in existing parks than they shouldn’t be trying to build new ones.

    • newoaktown April 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

      Kevin, I’ve seen many people hanging out there in the day time, especially after work and on weekends.

      I’ve seen black families holding birthday parties there.

      I see Uptown residents walking their dogs there.

      I jog there, sit there.

      So YES, it is being used, and boosting our quality of life.

  20. Frankie D April 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Determine any future buildings development standards and setbacks. This done with the knowledge that whatever is built will be setback from Telegraph Avenue so as not to block the vista of the Fox Theater when viewed from the far north. Then determine and create a more permanent use for the remainder of the site and temporary uses for the building’s footprint.

    Meanwhile an urban vineyard concept could go off 580 up the hillside at Leona Quarry, thats something the owner should consider just to help generate some positive cash flow on that project while helping to stabalize that hill side.

  21. Ralph April 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    slightly off topic, but is Sears holding onto their bldg until such time they can exist and sell to the highest bidder?

  22. Joyce Roy April 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    Some great ideas have been posted! Everyone will have a chance to get their ideas to the Council Committee which will be meeting again on this issue on Tuesday, April 28 (postponed from April 7). At the mtg on 3/24, it wasn’t just the 4 speakers that opposed the site for a parking lot that made the council members question it; they admitted receiving a lot of emails. So there is a chance with enough public support that something smart can happen on that site!

  23. Chris Kidd April 3, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    Turning this plot into a Union Square-esque type of open space would be disastrous. If we want a Union Square type of area downtown, we first need to match the density, intensity of use, and pedestrian foot traffic of Union Square. Anything less is to invite blight on such an open space and the surrounding neighborhood.
    To me, making the argument that people will congregate if you supply a central location is putting the cart before the horse. First let’s get the people down there, then give them a place to gather.

    • newoaktown April 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

      that’s like saying, let’s let the 10-lane highways fill to capacity, then we’ll build 16-lane highways.

      why not build a 2-lane train — something cool?
      😉

  24. Navigator April 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    I like Luke’s idea of a Piazza. European cities like Lisbon, and Rome are famous for these squares. Research Rossio Square in Lisbon to get an idea. I would extend the current park to a square with a statue and fountain and leave a smaller portion next to Telegraph for future development. I would make sure that the future development would be no more than six stories and provide plenty of ground floor space for a restaurant or cafe with sidewalk tables facing the new square. I would also require that all ground units in the present Uptown Apartments facing the new square be converted to commercial space. This would provide a great location for socializing, dinning, and shopping before and after shows at the FOX.

  25. dto510 April 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Sometimes creating more space for retail businesses does not help a retail district. If the Uptown project were reoriented to create new commercial space off of Telegraph Avenue (which is of course out of the question), that would have a deleterious effect on the commercial viability of spaces along Telegraph. The city is already building a plaza (with a fountain!) at 16th and Telegraph, and eventually they’ll get around to building the long-promised sidewalks which will be big enough to host outdoor dining all along the avenue.

    I don’t really see what’s wrong with leaving the lot vacant and waiting for Forest City to propose what they’re going to build on it. Just like FC did with the fence around the park, they could give the OSA students the fence as a mural canvas. A parking lot is a horrible idea; it shouldn’t be our responsibility to come up with alternative just because what the Redevelopment Agency wants to do is awful.

  26. Navigator April 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I like the idea of a piazza/square at 16th & Telegraph. I just hope it doesn’t take ten years to make it happen. As far as keeping that lot vacant for who knows how many years, I think that will create visual blight and hinder progress on Telegraph.

    American cities need to embrace the communal feel of city squares like Europe does. I don’t think that a public square at Uptown would detract from Telegraph and the planned square at 16th street. I say the more the merrier. The two could compliment each other while enhancing the linear commercial establishments on Telegraph Avenue.

  27. Navigator April 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    BTW, I love the current view from the Uptown Park. The view looking back towards the Sears building with Oakland’s 1930’s high rises in the background is sensational. I’m going to hate losing that view to a high rise. As it is, now you get the open feel of what a large European square would feel like.

  28. Karen Hester April 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    I think many of the ideas expressed here are certainly workable. I’m an evemts organizer so I think the idea of bringing people together to et and socialize, and perhaps garden together are great ideas. There are many folks with food carts who could stimulate the economy of Uptoen by bringing in their carts and selling, especially at lunch time but also for a couple of hours before big shows at either the Fox OR Paramount and on art murmur nights. Imagine an organizer like me coming in and coordinting it all–providing round tables and chairs so folks could socialize and eat before an event. It would be a take off of a mini food festival with some of the same vendors who sell at the Old Oakland Farmer’s Market, Grand Lake and Temescal farmer’s markets plus up and coming food vendors and taco trucks from Fruitvake etc. . Some of us have contacts for these exact food vendors. Plus bike parking etc There is a new Lake Merritt/Uptown business improvement district and this is EXACTLY what I think they should be putting $ into to draw folks into the Uptown. Some public art (I can’t see anything happening here for 3-5 years) seems doable as well with pieces moved into the current park when something finally is built here. I really hope Brunner and crew seize the moment to do something creative and sustainable here. Sorry I’m out of town for next week’s meeting but will send these comments to the committee

    Karen Hester
    http://www.hesternet.net, member of ULTRA (Urabanists for a Livable Temescal and Rockridge Area)

    • newoaktown April 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

      Karen:

      more bike parking is desperately needed.

      ALL the bike racks AND metal tree protector things are all used up and filled with locked bikes!

      Additional parking racks would be great.

      Throw in a statue like in SF Union Square, and voila. Temp. Plaza.

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