Another chance to stop the Uptown surface parking lot

2 May

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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) or 510-238-7008

Council President Jane Brunner, District 1 or 510-238-7001

Patricia Kernighan, District 2 or 510-238-7002

Nancy Nadel, District 3 or 510-238-7003

Jean Quan, District 4 or 510-238-7004

Ignacio De La Fuente, District 5 or 510-238-7005

Desley Brooks, District 6 or 510-238-7006

Larry Reid, District 7 or 510-238-7007

4 Responses to “Another chance to stop the Uptown surface parking lot”

  1. Becks May 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    I did a bit of research before emailing the council about this issue and found this out:

    The CED committee expressed concern that the public will latch on to any use besides a parking lot and would complain once the art was removed. However, San Francisco and several other cities have successfully hosted temporary large scale arts installations. The public greatly appreciated these art pieces, but there was no revolt when they were taken away. Here are some examples, with photos, of these successful projects:

    Passage, Pier 14, San Francisco:
    Hayes Green Temple, Hayes Green, San Francisco:
    The Dreamer, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco:
    Homouroboros, San Jose:
    The Mangrove, Reno, NV:
    Detroit Temple, Detroit, MI:

    Wouldn’t you rather look at beautiful art like this, rather than a bunch of cars on pavement?

  2. Eric May 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    I really enjoyed the temple at Hayes Green. I don’t live in that neighborhood, but still miss seeing it when walking by on Octavia. I was glad to have it while it was here, but now there’s something else there, and that’s fine too.

    Art for Uptown! Just say no to asphalt.

  3. Joyce Roy May 5, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Becks, That is great information!!

    I hope you will also present to City Council the comments from the yahoo group that you found that commented on the Fox and didn’t find parking a problem. Very damning evidence!

  4. inadvertentgardener May 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Congrats on the HUGE win, chica. That is so awesome.

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