If you visited A Better Oakland today, well, I hope you weren’t in the middle of eating, or thinking loving Valentine’s Day thoughts, or enjoying the sound of rain because if so, her photo blog on downtown surface parking lot blight probably made you lose your appetite or happy feelings. Now that you’ve been warned, take a look at the post because though disgusting, her photos are important to the policy decision the Planning Commission will make on Wednesday night about temporary conditional use permits (TCUPs) for surface parking lots.
Oh, and if you’re in the middle of a delicious meal or a romantic moment, stop reading this and come back later because I’m going to share some of V Smoothe’s frightening photos she took this weekend of surface parking lots. Like this one:
And this one:
On Wednesday night the Planning Commission will finally vote on whether to approve TCUPs for surface parking lots, which would bring even more blight attracting lots downtown. I’ve already explained why this would be terrible and why the staff report is inadequate in responding to community concerns.
Now it’s time to make sure the Planning Commission understands. Please join me and other advocates on Wednesday evening to speak out against more surface parking lots downtown. The meeting starts at 6pm at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1. It’s hard to say when the item will come up so your best bet is to arrive close to 6pm.
If you can’t make it or are unsure if you can make it to the hearing, please email all of the planning commissioners: firstname.lastname@example.org, VienV.Truong@gmail.com, Blake.Huntsman@seiu1021.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, VinceGibbs.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that V Smoothe and I have been writing about this for a while and the decision keeps getting pushed back, but I firmly believe the Planning Commission will decide one way or the other on Wednesday night. If you have emailed in the past, thank you! Please forward that email to the commissioners again, as it’s been a long time since the last hearings and it would be good to refresh their memories.
If you’re trying to figure out what to say in your email, V Smoothe has a good, brief sample email at the end of her blog post. I also recommend reading this excellent letter from Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) for some inspiration. Read the whole thing, but here’s a key paragraph from it:
Additional surface parking lots, particularly in Oakland’s downtown, should not be approved for several reasons. First and foremost, surface parking lots diminish the pedestrian-friendliness of commercial because they are magnets for blight, trash, graffiti and crime. Surface parking lots and their surroundings are not ideal places for residents and visitors to walk around locally at night, yet pedestrian activity is exactly what downtown needs to continue to enjoy its resurgence. Having “eyes and ears” on the street helps reduce crime. Downtown’s resurgence is not guaranteed; it seems perilous to allow surface parking lots even if the proposal is for “temporary” development.
We’re trying to get a count of how many emails were sent, so please comment here if you send an email or let me know at oaklandbecks at gmail dot com.
Thanks, and I hope to see you on Wednesday night so we can stop the spread of parking lot blight!