As I mentioned in my last post on the surface parking lot saga, though the CED committee approved the lot, we still have a couple more chances to stop it. This Tuesday, May 5th, the full City Council will be voting on this issue, and it is incredibly important for them to hear from their constituents once again. And what should you say? Well, you can take some cues from the excellent op-ed published in the Tribune today:
Some City Council members are advocating for a 120-space interim surface parking lot on the site for Fox concertgoers, despite the thousands of street and parking lot spaces located within blocks of the venue. The 482-space Franklin Plaza Garage, which closes at 7 p.m., could stay open later during Fox events if necessary.
Our City Council members are hearkening back to the 1970s automobile-oriented city planning model, rooted in the belief that drivers should never suffer the indignity of walking more than a few feet from their car door to the front entrance of the final destination.
The parking lot proposal ignores the larger picture. While maximizing parking for the Fox might sell a few more tickets, a surface parking lot consuming an entire city block on Telegraph will jeopardize the revival of the entire district. A one-acre mass of asphalt and sea of cars will deter pedestrians contemplating a stroll up Telegraph to explore the new restaurants, bars and shops.
Shoppers prefer an uninterrupted flow of attractive storefronts and inviting open spaces.
For these reasons, these same City Council members gave Forest City a $60 million subsidy four years ago to eliminate the old surface parking lot at this very site. The previous parking lot was discouraging economic development and investment in Uptown.
Why should we care so much about a temporary parking lot? Because “interim” parking lots often remain for years or decades, depending upon market conditions and developers’ whims. The new Cathedral Christ of Light, for example, was built on the site of an “interim” parking lot that remained for more than 40 years.
Whether you took action previously or not by contacting the CED committee, we need your help now. You can help out in two ways:
- Email and/or call the council 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 City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 5th at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall. I’m not going to lie – this is going to be a long meeting because our items is at the end of the agenda, but if you show up and give me your cell phone number, I’d be happy to text you when the item comes up so you can hang out elsewhere in the interim. If you’ve never spoken at a Council meeting, I recommend reading V Smoothe’s guide. As she mentions, you might want to submit a speaker card online – otherwise, you must arrive on time. If you plan to attend the meeting, please RSVP on Facebook and if you’re not on Facebook, let me know in the comments if you plan to attend.
Here is the contact info for the City Council:
Rebecca Kaplan, At-Large (she represents the entire city)
RKaplan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7008
Council President Jane Brunner, District 1
JBrunner@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7001
Patricia Kernighan, District 2
PKernighan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7002
Nancy Nadel, District 3
NNadel@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7003
Jean Quan, District 4
JQuan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7004
Ignacio De La Fuente, District 5
IDeLaFuente@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7005
Desley Brooks, District 6
DBrooks@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7006
Larry Reid, District 7
LReid@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7007