Tag Archives: Longs

July 13-19 Oakland Political & Community Events

12 Jul

Monday, July 13th – BART Police Department Review Sub-Committee Meeting

The BART Police Department Review Sub-Committee will meet on Monday, July 13, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in the BART Board Room, which is located in the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, Third Floor, 344 20th St., Oakland, CA. If anyone attends this, I’d be very interested in hearing a report of what happens.

Monday, July 13th – Summertime in the East Bay Mixer, EBYD Style

East Bay Young Dems are hosting a summertime mixer on Monday. If you made it to our awards gala or inauguration party, you know that EBYD knows how to put on a good party. Join us for a cool summertime drink with fellow young leaders and organizers, local elected officials, and meet candidates in the 10th Congressional District race. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan will also join us to update Oaklanders about the city’s vote-by-mail election coming up and the city’s package of proposed measures.This happy hour is FREE for members. (We request a $5 donation from non-members, though no one will be turned away.  All are welcome!) If you’d like to become a member, you can do so at www.ebyd.org. The mixer will be held Monday, July 13th from 6:30-8:30pm at the beautiful and new Grand Tavern, 3601 Grand Avenue, Oakland. Food will be provided for early arrivals and our brief program will commence at 7:15. Please find more details and RSVP on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 14th – Public Works Committee Hearing on Oakland Airport Connector

The Oakland City Council, via the Public Works Committee will finally have a chance to review the Oakland Airport Connector this Tuesday. This project has changed significantly since they last reviewed it so it is incredibly important for the Council to have another opportunity to weigh in. Please come to the meeting on Tuesday to voice your opposition to the current project and to ask the Council to support a study of a rapid bus alternative. The meeting will be held at 9:00 am in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. For background on why the City Council should weigh in on this project, check out my previous post on the subject. If you plan to attend, please RSVP on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 15th – Planning Commission Hearing on Pleasant Valley Safeway/Longs Project

This Wednesday, the EIR Scoping Session will be held for the Safeway Pleasant Valley project. As was abundantly apparent from my two posts on this project, many readers here care a lot about this development and have strong opinions. Whether your main concern is retaining the offerings of Longs or improving pedestrian access, this will be your first opportunity to weigh in. The meeting will be held at 6:00 pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza and the full agenda can be read here.

Wednesday-Saturday, July 15th-18th – The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival

If you like fire and art but don’t want to deal with a week on the playa at Burning Man, the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival is what you should check out instead. The past several Fire Arts Festivals have been incredible, more fantastic year after year, but this year’s should be the best yet since they’re moving it to a MUCH larger location. That means more art, more entertainment, and most importantly, more fire! Out of 40 art installations, 35 of them will involve fire. Plus, there will be fire dancers and other fire performances. The festival will be be held Wednesday-Saturday, from 8pm-Midnight at 2020 Engineer Road in West Oakland. There will be a free shuttle from West Oakland BART, which sounds like the most convenient option, since free parking is a couple blocks away from the event. You can find out all the other details and buy tickets at the Crucible’s website. For photos and write-ups of the past two years of Fire Arts Festivals, check out my posts on the 2008 and 2007 festivals.

Thursday, July 16th – Temescal Street Cinema

This Thursday will be the last opportunity this year to enjoy the Second Annual Temescal Street Cinema at 49th and Telegraph (Bank of the West Building)! There’ll be live music and free popcorn, with the event getting started at 8 PM. Movies will start when it gets dark, no sooner than 8:30 PM. Come early or bring a chair! This Thursday will feature Migrations, a series of shorts: “Everyone’s moving from place to place, so travel from a border crossing simulation in Mexico to a giant Chinese mall, the biggest in the world.” Find out more details at the Temescal Business Improvement District’s website.

Thursday, July 16th – Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets monthly to discusses bicycle and pedestrian issues. 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.

Saturday, July 18th – BEAST Bloggers Camp

“East Bay” is Pig Latin for “beast”, a name that has all the power of bloggers in the SF Bay Area who are the eyes and ears of the East Bay community. In honor of all the East Bay bloggers, Spot.Us, Tech Liminal and A Better Oakland are hosting their first BEAST Bloggers Camp. A BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. The day consists of sessions proposed by attendees and the schedule is created on site the morning of the event. BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn from each other in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants. The camp will be held from 8am-5pm at at TechLiminal, 268 14th Street in downtown Oakland. You can find out more details at A Better Oakland.

Sunday, July 19th – JC Cellars Summer Beach Party

JC Cellars is holding its annual summer beach party this weekend. Pouring over 13 different blends and vineyard designates. Embracing our urban environment with a taco truck (spicy salsa is optional). DJ Brett will be spinning groovy beach beats. A children’s craft table will keep the little ones entertained. Admission costs $20 advanced or $25 at the door and includes plenty of wine, snacks, and fun. Sunglasses and flip flops are encouraged! The event will be held from 1-4pm at JC Cellars Winery 55 4th Street, Oakland. Take BART to Lake Merritt, the ferry to Jack London Square or drive to the winery. Find more details and buy tickets at the JC Cellars website.

What do we want for the Pleasant Valley Safeway project?

1 Jul

I’m often a bit surprised by which of my posts generate the most comments. For example, I never could have imagined that my post earlier this year on alternatives to a surface parking lot in Uptown would ultimately led to a movement to stop it. And though I knew many people would miss the Big Longs on Pleasant Valley, I was pleasantly surprised at how immediately so many of you were willing to engage, either by sharing your comments here or by attending the meetings last week.

The meetings were a bit of a disappointment, especially since they turned out to be just a presentation of the images that were already available online and a couple opportunities to speak with Safeway reps (some of whom either didn’t know what they were talking about or lied). But whether Safeway holds more meetings or not, this project will becoming to the Planning Commission several times before it is approved. The first hearing will be on Wednesday, July 15 at 6pm, even though one of the Safeway reps told me she had no idea when this would be coming before the commission. So put it on your calendar and I’ll be sure to remind you as the date approaches.

Before that though, it’s important to think about what we want. I sometimes fall into the trap of focusing on what I don’t want. For example, one thing this project does not need is more parking. I wanted to make sure of that so I stopped by on Sunday afternoon, and I was even a bit surprised at how empty the parking lot was. This was taken in front of Longs, from the middle of the first section of parking:

empty longs lot 1

And this was the parking situation near Pet Food Express and Chase:

empty longs lot 2

Now I know it sometimes gets more crowded than this (I’ve seen it more crowded), but nobody’s going to convince me that more parking is needed.

But what do we want? Many want Longs to stay or something to take over its myriad of 24 hour offerings. Others have called for housing on top of retail. And some of us would like serious bicycle, pedestrian, and transit improvements. But only one person I know has taken the time to come up with an actual plan to meet some of these needs.

Eric at Transbay Blog proposed this:

Green = two height classes. Pink = pedestrian alley/plaza. Yellow = commercial storefront (does not represent a different height).

You’ll have to head over to his blog for an explanation, but as you can see, it includes dense development and no surface parking. It also has a much more urban feel and includes residential on top of retail.

I love this proposal. Do I think Safeway will go for it? Probably not, but that’s ok. We need a starting point. We need to ask for what we want and then compromise from there. It’s not nearly as productive to keep telling Safeway what’s wrong with their proposal, unless we can show them what a desirable proposal looks like.

Thanks to Eric for taking the time to put this together. I’d love to hear thoughts on this or hear about alternate proposals.

Pleasant Valley Safeway & Longs community meetings

23 Jun

UPDATE: I had the wrong address for the location. The correct address is now updated below.

I apologize for not having the time to put together this week’s events listing, especially since there’s a ton happening this week, as always (feel free to use the comments section below to promote any events you know about). But there was one thing I couldn’t have forgiven myself for not writing about – the community meetings tonight and Thursday night about the proposed removal of Big Longs and the expansion of Safeway on Pleasant Valley, between Broadway and Piedmont.

As you probably can guess from my previous posts on the College Avenue Safeway, I’m all for store expansions when they add to the community, especially when they add in additional small retail, which this plan calls for as well. But I couldn’t be much more sad about the potential loss of Big Longs. There’s basically nowhere else in North Oakland (or anywhere in central Oakland up until Walmart) that you can find everything at any time of day (they’re open 24 hours!). Seriously, every time someone asks me where to find something random, I recommend Big Longs. They have a huge garden section, hardware, kitchen supplies, pet stuff, a surprisingly large fabric section, groceries, and of course all the stuff a regular Longs would have. When the Big Longs closes, I’ll probably have to do my random shopping at Target in Albany.

That said, I’m not sure what can be done to save Big Longs, unless Longs wants to stay and is getting pushed out. If the closure of Longs is a done deal, the next best thing is to make sure that the small retail that’s added to the plaza covers most of what Longs offers. I’d love to see a small nursery and a hardware store, for example.

At this point, the plan’s preliminary, but you can check out Safeway’s design plans.

One thing that sticks out to me about this plan is that they’re adding more parking (which seems crazy), but they do plan to take away some surface parking by adding parking on top of the Safeway. This will create extra room for retail shops on Pleasant Valley.

Tonight and Thursday night are the first opportunities to weigh in about this project so if you have any thoughts or concerns, I highly recommend attending one of the meetings:

Tuesday June 23, 2009 7-8:30 pm or Thursday June 25, 2009 7-8:30 pm
Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary, 4499 Piedmont Avenue
(Just off Pleasant Valley)

You can find more info about the meetings and answers to basic questions in Safeway’s flyer.