Tag Archives: Greenbelt Alliance

Marla Wilson: Building a Better Broadway – Signs of life along Oakland’s Main Street

15 Dec

This guest blog post was written by Marla Wilson, Sustainable Development Associate with Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s advocate for open spaces and vibrant places. She has served on the Community Stakeholders Group for the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan since the planning process began in 2008. Oakland is one of Greenbelt Alliance’s top priority cities for infill development in the region.

It’s easy to miss anything that happens this time of year. Things fall through the cracks in the crazy crunch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s why you may not have noticed that the City of Oakland has released a key document with a vision for revitalizing a neighborhood that has, like several parts of the city, fallen upon hard times.

From the beginning, the City’s stated goal in creating the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan has been to address Oakland’s retail “leakage” – the fact that only $1 of every $3 an Oakland resident spends is spent in Oakland. The City’s goal has been to create a district similar to San Francisco’s Union Square or Emeryville’s Bay Street, with at least 1 million square feet of retail – that’s equivalent to roughly 2.5 Bay Streets!

Without leadership, this vision will not happen. Property owners would prefer to sell their land for uses like housing that command a larger price tag, not to mention that there are 140 property owners who need to agree in order to assemble sizable properties necessary to attract major retailers. Yet, the economic downturn has meant that this stretch of Broadway, between Grand Avenue and 580, has become more desolate, with many “Auto Row” car dealerships leaving or going out of business. Some new businesses have arrived, like 3000 Broadway and Shashamane, but they could really flourish if more people lived nearby. Meanwhile, online sales continue to rise, leaving retailers reconsidering the role of bricks and mortar locations.

Earlier this year, Greenbelt Alliance teamed up with several other organizations to announce a bold yet realistic vision for a better Broadway. This fall, we recognized and applauded the positive impact this vision has had on Oakland’s Draft Plan Concept for the Broadway-Valdez area. Sure, there is lots this plan does not yet describe, including policies to attract quality jobs. Although it’s still largely at the 30,000-foot level, the plan is definitely headed in the right direction. Continue reading

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PARK(ing) Week in Oakland

13 Sep

If you’re interested in parking or PARK(ing), there’s plenty for you to do in Oakland this week. You might have heard that this Friday, September 16th is PARK(ing) Day, “an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.” Oaklanders have participated in PARK(ing) day for the past several years, and I’ve heard about some awesome plans for this year.

PARK(ing) Day is all about re-appropriating on-street parking, but off-street parking is also important to our city. On Thursday night the City is holding a workshop on off-street parking. From the email: Continue reading

Want a better Broadway? Join me this Thursday

4 Apr

As I’ve written here before, one of the reasons my wife and I moved so close to Broadway auto row was because of the hope we had for the future growth of the neighborhood. Broadway has grown quite a bit on its own over the past few years, with Shashamane, Z Cafe, Mua, and Mimosa paving the way, and NEX and 3000 Broadway opening more recently (and from what I can see, doing very well). Soon, the Parkway might open on Broadway, which would bring quite a bit of foot traffic to the area. But there are still plenty of vacant storefronts on Broadway, tons of surface parking lots, and basically zero retail except for Grocery Outlet and a couple liquor stores.

The City has been working on a specific plan for Broadway auto row and the Valdez triangle for the past several years, but their proposed plans leave much to be desired. I attended a community meeting in 2010 where the alternatives were discussed, and it didn’t seem like anyone in the room liked any of the alternatives. Among other problematic aspects, all of the alternatives included absurd amounts of parking.

It’s easy to be compelled to just throw your hands up and determine that this specific plan is doomed, but the Greenbelt Alliance and several other organizations have taken the more difficult and productive route of working on alternative plans for the future of Boradway-Valdez. And this Thursday evening, they’ll be unveiling those plans at the old dealership space next to Z Cafe. Continue reading

June 1-6 Oakland Political & Community Events

1 Jun

Happy Car Free Challenge Week!

I went away for the weekend on a much needed vacation and am pressed for time so this week I’ll just be listing the events with links for further info. In honor of Car Free Challenge Week, I’m also listing ways to get to these events via public transit.

Tuesday, June 1 – Oakland City Council Meeting

AC Transit: 1/1R, 11, 12, 14, 18, 20, 40, 51A, 72/72M/72R
BART: 12th Street

Wednesday, June 2 – Special AC Transit Meeting on Service Cuts

AC Transit: 1/1R, 11, 12, 18, 51A, 72/72M/72R, NL
BART: 12th Street or 19th Street

Wednesday, June 2 – Gateway Park Public Workshop: First Concepts: Design Ideas for Gateway Park

AC Transit: 1/1R, 11, 12, 18, 51A, 72/72M/72R, NL
BART: 19th Street

Thursday, June 3 – Bench and Bar Happy Hour Fundraiser for Rebecca Kaplan

AC Transit: 1/1R, 11, 12, 18, 51A, 72/72M/72R, NL
BART: 19th Street

Friday, June 4 – Ferment Change: A Cultured Dinner for City Slicker Farms

AC Transit: 11, 12, 51A, NL
BART: 19th Street

Saturday, June 5 – Bluegrass for the Greenbelt: The Fifth Annual Benefit Concert for Greenbelt Alliance

AC Transit: 45, 57
BART: San Leandro BART (Greenbelt Alliance will provide a free shuttle to the Dunsmuir Estate from BART.)

Sunday, June 6 – Temescal Street Fair

AC Transit: 1, 12, 18, 26, 57
BART: MacArthur

October 12-18 Oakland Political & Community Events

11 Oct

Tuesday, October 13th – Final Vote on EBMUD Water Supply Management Plan 2040

Via EBMUD Director Andy Katz: “The EBMUD Board of Directors will consider adopting the Water Supply Management Plan 2040 to meet our water needs over the next 30 years on Tuesday afternoon, October 13.  While the Plan includes increased water conservation programs, recycled water projects, rationing during worst-case droughts, securing water transfers and groundwater storage, it also includes desalination, and expanding Pardee reservoir with a new dam. The proposal to expand Pardee Reservior would flood 1200 acres, including nearly three miles of riparian and scenic stretch of the Mokelumne River that is used for whitewater recreation and fishing.  I support managing our water supply relying on groundwater storage, recycled water, rationing at 15% in severe worst-case droughts, and increased investment in conservation programs to avoid the environmental impacts of a new dam that would destroy our natural resources. Public involvement is essential to achieving an environmentally responsible water plan that reflects the values of our community.” The Board of Directors meeting will be held at 1:15pm on the 2nd floor of 375 11th St., Oakland. For additional info, visit EBMUD’s website.

POSTPONED – Tuesday, October 13th 20th – Taste of Temescal

This event has been postponed until next week due to expected heavy rain and wind.

Twenty-one of Temescal’s best restaurants are offering a taste from their menus. Visit Dona Tomas, Pizzaiolo, Barlata, Burma Superstar, Mixing Bowl, Bakesale Betty, Lanesplitters and many more all while supporting Good Cents for Oakland, Emerson Elementary School, Claremont Middle School and Women’s Cancer Resource Center. Tickets are $25 for adults and children 12 and over. The event will be held from 6-8:30pm on Telegraph between 40th and 51st Streets. For details and tickets, visit the Temescal District website.

Wednesday, October 14th – AC Transit Board Meeting on Service Cuts & BRT Funding Swap

Ugh, I really wish i could make it to this meeting because it’s incredibly important. The AC Transit Board will be discussing the delay of service cuts and will be receiving an update on discussions with MTC regarding potential the shift of capital BRT funds to operating funds. If you haven’t been following this issue, check out V Smoothe’s two thorough posts about it. The Board will also be voting on a resolution to buy American (I’m sure this will make Joyce Roy and the rest of the Van Hool haters happy) and a resolution approving a collective bargaining agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union 192. This meeting will take place at 6pm in the 2nd floor board room, 1600 Franklin Street. You can read the agenda and see the relevant memos here. If you plan to attend and would like to write a guest post about the meeting, please contact me at oaklandbecks at gmail dot com.Wednesday, October 14th – East Bay Democracy for America Meetup

At their October meeting, Democracy for America will be focusing on water issues and update the group on the public option. From DFA: “Get an update on the status of the Delta’s water. While an effort to hand control over Governor Schwarzenegger and his cronies was thwarted, there is still a possibility of it happening while broader issues regarding the water in the state of California could be impacted during the on going budget crisis. Assemblyperson Nancy Skinner, chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, will talk about how she views water resources in California and what role her committee should play in making decisions about those resources. We’ll also hear about EBMUD’s efforts to meet our water needs in increasingly dry years. There are dam issues, water allocations and conservation measures that face EBMUD this year.” The meeting will be held at 6:30 at the Rockridge Library, 5366 College Avenue. RSVP here.

Thursday, October 15th – Women of the Black Panther Party and Beyond

The Main Library will put on a one-day exhibit, Women of the Black Panther Party and Beyond. This exhibit will celebrate the women of the Black Panther Party with photos, art and a short film honoring their service to the community, leadership, and vision. Hear the experiences of women fighting to uplift the community. The exhibit will be up from 2 to 8 pm, with the program starting at 5:30 pm. The Main Library is at 125 14th St. The event will take place downstairs in the West Auditorium.

Thursday, October 15th – Oakland Sierra Club Mixer & Activist Social Event

Join local members of the Sierra Club’s Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group for a fun evening in the Fruitvale transit center. They will be socializing and introducing some of our priority campaigns. Connect with other folks in the environmental community, including CBE, Transform, and other organizations. Find out how you can get active in your community! The event will be held from 6:30-8:30 at Mar Y Tierra Restaurant at the Fruitvale Village, 3411 E. 12th St. (ground floor). Directions: Take BART to Fruitvale station, exit and walk into the Transit Village. The restaurant should be on your left (downtown Oakland side). Look for signs. Contact: Kent Lewandowski, (510) 625-5831, or kentlewan [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Thursday, October 15th – Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets monthly to discusses bicycle and pedestrian issues. This month’s agenda covers updated criteria for prioritizing stair and pathway remediation, the 38th & 40th Street bikeways, and new bicycle parking rack guidelines. The BPAC is extremely inclusive – any Oakland resident who attends three consecutive meetings becomes a voting member of the committee – so if you’re interested in bike and ped issues, you should consider attending. The BPAC will be meeting from 5:30-7:30pm in Hearing Room 4 of City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Friday, October 16th – Pacific Coast Brewery 21st Anniversary Block Party

Celebrate Pacific Coast Brewery’s 21st anniversary with beer and music in the street. This event takes place from 5-11pm on Washington Street between 9th and 10th in Old Oakland. Find out more info at Pacific Coast Brewery’s website.

Saturday, October 17 – Oakland Kidical Mass

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland invites you to participate in a social ride for anyone interested in a kid-friendly, mellow bike ride, where you’ll get to know others who move their families around Oakland by bike. Children under 18 should be accompanied by an adult to participate. Ride meets at Frog Park (Hardy St. & Claremont Ave) from 10-10:30am with expected departure about 10:45am. Destination is Lake Shore Park. Ride is about 3 miles – expect a leisurely pace and relaxed atmosphere.

Saturday, October 17th – Linden Street Brewery Brats & Beer

Via Oaklandish: “Join us at Linden Street Brewery for a great party that benefits the Rotary Club of Oakland and Bay Area Community Services (B.A.C.S.) Come through to eat and drink for a cause! This event is Saturday, October 17th, 12:00-5:00pm at Linden St. Brewery (#8 Linden St. @ 3rd St.). There is no cover charge, and this is a family-friendly event. There will be a free shuttle from West Oakland BART and valet bicycle parking.” For more information, visit Linden Street’s website.

Saturday, October 17th – The Black Panther Film Fest

The West Oakland Branch of the library and It’s about Time presents the Black Panther Film Fest. Three films will be screened: Legacy of Torture: The War Against The Black Liberation Movement; Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers; and Lord of the Revolution. Films screen from 1 to 5 pm at the West Oakland Branch, 1801 Adeline Street.

Saturday, October 17th – Reflect. Honor. Prepare – Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

Via Jean Quan’s newsletter: “Our office will be joining many other organizations at an emergency preparedness fair and commemoration of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. Free raffle for 100 earthquake preparedness kits. Free blood pressure checks. Remembrance ceremony at 5:04 pm honoring those who lost their lives in the collapse of the Cypress Freeway during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989.” This event will be held from 3-5:30 pm at Cypress Freeway Memorial Park, Mandela Parkway at 14th Street.

Sunday, October 18th – Reviving Oakland’s Main Street: Greenbelt Alliance and Sierra Club Urban Walk

Stroll along Broadway with members of Greenbelt Alliance and the Northern Alameda County Group of the Sierra Club. They’ll look at the area along Broadway St. between 23rd Street and I-580. The city hopes to attract more retail here, creating a thriving new shopping district for Oakland residents and others. During the event, they’ll discuss the opportunities and constraints in welcoming sustainable development to the area, share news about the Project Alternatives, and provide ways to get involved. The walk will take place from 1-3pm – meet at 27th & Broadway, near the First Presbyterian Church (meet in front of the church). Contact: Joanna Winchester, (202) 725-6513, or joannawinchester [at] gmail [dot] com.