Next week, the Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee will once again consider allowing a surface parking lot to be developed between the Fox Theater and the Uptown apartments. This decision will have far reaching impacts on the Uptown area, and judging from the comments that I received on my last post about this issue, many of you realize this.
If you haven’t read that post or still aren’t convinced, here are my main reasons for opposing the surface parking lot:
- The Uptown neighborhood is very pedestrian oriented and a surface parking lot would be a nightmare for pedestrian travel, as cars drove in and out of the lot and through the pedestrian right of way.
- There are multiple public transit options to get to Uptown and until we fully promote those, with the help of businesses in the area, we should not build more parking.
- There’s already plenty of parking in Uptown! There are several parking structures and lots within a few blocks. The only thing that might be needed is keeping some of these lots open later to better serve the burgeoning nightlife.
- Even if there wasn’t enough parking in Uptown, this lot is not the space to put more parking. It would only create 127 spots, basically enough to serve the employees of the Fox, Flora, the ice rink, the Uptown nightclub and surrounding businesses. It’s very unlikely that there would be enough spaces for patrons to park there. (Oh, and don’t quote me on the exact number of parking spots as it’s likely to change in the forthcoming, updated proposal.)
- A surface parking lot would be a blight on this vibrant neighborhood. The Planning Commission seems to agree – as V Smoothe wrote last week, the new zoning they’ve just passed on to the Council for the Central Business District bans surface parking lots throughout downtown.
The vote on this issue may be a very close one, which is why I need your help in convincing the CED committee members to vote no. You can help out in two ways:
- Email and/or call the committee members. Their contact info can be found below. Explain to them why you think the surface parking lot is inappropriate for the area (feel free to use any of the points I provided in this post), and, if you’d like, share with them your idea for a different temporary use of the lot. (You can find lots of great ideas in the comments to my previous post on this.)
- Come to the CED committee meeting on Tuesday, April 28th at 2pm in City Hall, Hearing Room 1. The item is the first on their agenda so it should come up relatively quickly. If you’ve never spoken at a Council meeting, I recommend reading V Smoothe’s guide. Committee meetings are a bit different than the full Council though in that you do not have to turn in your speaker card before the meeting starts – you just need to turn it in before your item comes up.
If you need help with your emails or speeches, feel free to contact me at oaklandbecks at gmail dot com – I’d be more than happy to assist. And keep in mind that your input could be incredibly important. Going into the last committee meeting on this issue, the members all intended to approve the surface parking lot, but the emails they received and the comments we made that day swayed them to reconsider. Your message could be the one that swings a critical vote!
Here is the contact info for the committee members:
Council President Jane Brunner, District 1
JBrunner@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7001
Patricia Kernighan, District 2
PKernighan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7002
Ignacio De La Fuente, District 5
IDeLaFuente@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7005
Larry Reid, District 7
LReid@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7007
Thanks, and I’ll post an update after next week’s committee meeting.