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.
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:
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:
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:
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.