Monthly Archives: September 2009

Tell Oakland City Council to vote against BART’s $522 million airtrain to nowhere

Another load of debt, a slow $12 train to get to not even next to the terminal, and no economic development on the ground. Great work MTC and BART! Not. So, let’s get to it!

Below reposted from TransForm (great 501c3) email:

On Tuesday, October 6th, the Oakland City Council will vote on a resolution expressing opposition to the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project.

Two weeks ago the Oakland Public Works Committee questioned BART about the OAC and moved the resolution to the full Council because committee members have come to see that this project is bad for Oakland and bad for regional users of Oakland’s airport.

Make an immediate impact. Call your Council Member today, ask them to vote to oppose the OAC and FOR: (see numbers below)
A Stronger Economy: A bus rapid transit connector would have intermediate stops and would be affordable to all Oakland residents.
More Jobs: Reverting OAC funds back to transit agencies would create more jobs than building the OAC.
Better Transit: A bus rapid transit connector could be as fast as the OAC, AND the money saved would stop transit service cuts throughout the Bay Area.

Costs for the Connector have ballooned from the voter-approved $130 million in 2000 to $522 million. Riders are projected to pay up to $12 roundtrip (in addition to the price of a rider’s BART ticket) for a slow (possibly 27 mph), three-mile journey. All of the stops that would serve the local community have been eliminated, removing the economic development aspects of the project. Meanwhile, there is a fast, affordable alternative to the project.

After spending months trumpeting Oakland’s support of the OAC, BART is now saying that Oakland’s opinion doesn’t matter. Watch the video in which BART’s spokesperson says that. But Oakland is going to weigh in, and its voice will matter.

This vote is one of our last chances to stop the OAC and to secure a better connector, and we need your help!

There are three ways you can make your voice heard to the Oakland City Council:

Join us on Tuesday, October 6th at 7pm at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza to speak in support of the Council’s resolution and in opposition to the current Connector. RSVP and spread the word on Facebook.
Call your Council Member to encourage him/her to support the resolution (find contact information below).
Email your Council Member to encourage him/her to support the resolution (find contact information below).

Tell the City Council, vote YES.

For more information on the Connector and TransForm’s proposed alternative, please visit http://www.OaklandAirportConnector.com or contact me directly.

Thanks for making a difference today for the future of Bay Area transportation.

Contact information for Oakland City Council:

Rebecca Kaplan, At-Large
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

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Free Parking and How to Stop a Bullet

VSmoothe @ABO alerts us to Oakland’s updated car parking drama today.

Here’s a relevant quote from today’s StreetsBlog:

“The root of the problem is that none of these streets were designed for cars in the first place. So I think it’s a little bit backwards for the kneejerk reaction always to be prioritizing cars.”

I agree.

Free parking is worthless to me. Parking spaces are DEAD SPACE. It’s like having zombies in your living room. You can’t put anything useful there, because the zombies are decomposing, messy, giving off poisonous gases.

Much like a cemetary, a parking lot is not so useful to the living.

If you look at old videos on youtube of people in public places, you notice that they walk all around the plazas and streetscapes haphazardly. There are no cars to watch out for. Well-to-do people are relatively free and relaxed in cities, even with the advent of streetcars, because these are slow on fixed guideways. Bicycles don’t kill pedestrians at stoplights in that era, unlike today’s cars.

Councilmember Kernighan, Shame on You and other businesses for promoting ecologically irresponsible “free parking”!

People should pay for the PRIVILEGE of leaving their oil-dripping heaps of glass, steel, vinyl and petro in our shared PUBLIC SPACES.

These spaces could otherwise be used for outdoor cafe seating, walking on wider sidewalks, REAL parks (search the net for “park(ing) day“), small sports fields — soccer, basketball, you name it; small garden plots, shrines, pull-up bars, massage tables, cooking classes, flea markets, lemonade and hotdog stands or any other socially useful purpose.

Cars and parking lots are dead zones at best. The best kind of parking lots are underground, where these polluting death beasts belong. Hidden.

I think that the best uses of these lots are for farmers markets (Temescal on Sundays), mini-golf, karaoke bars, reverting to natural habitat, housing or business spaces.

I assert everywhere and always that parking and car driver amenities should be limited to the maximum extent possible.

The street is our last common, public space we all share. What a shame for cars to gobble it all up. We should do as Copenhagen did: Transform Oakland from car-centric to people- and nature-centric! One street block at a time.

It’s all about creating a place worth caring about which is walkable, not retaining our vast WalMart parking lots, vast Oracle Arena parking lots, multitudes of BART parking lots. Walk, people! Lose weight the natural way. Avoid car payments, parking tickets, gas fill-ups, oil changes, crash liability insurance, speeding tickets, collisions, stress, boredom, fright, animal car-kill, road rage and zipcar. Work fewer hours to supporting a bad habit.

Less truly is more.

Except for public amenities. Just a few months ago, there was a bench outside my apartment complex. But it’s been removed. Lame!

***

How to stop a bullet? Jobs. People who are comfortable in life don’t go causing trouble.

Example: A new gang in LA: solar installers. (Homeboy Industries.) Could Oakland “employ” this model with a push from Van Jones, Coach Carter and FAB? Indeed, why don’t Oakland Tech and OUSD at the high school level offer vocational job skills classes? Car and bicycle and house repair, woodworking, urban agriculture and home cooking, financial literacy… you know — useful, transferable skills. I know Berkeley USD is ahead of the curve here with their elementary school gardens which supply local restaurants such as Chez Panisse and Flora under the “Green Leaf” BUSD brand; not sure about the non-food items above.

But playing devil’s advo, supporting social programs such as these from private donations and foundation funding only support more “social welfare” programs right? Which in turn support an ever-growing human population on a finite planet…

Still, I support re-localization and de-globalization, because ultimately these WILL provide more fulfillment and make the future a tad easier.

We’ll stil face famine, war, natural disaster. But at least we’ll be a bit better prepard for this future, without our up-till-now fossil-fueled cushion.

Uptown Weekend: Koreatown and Loud Music

I missed today’s “northgate/koreatown” street festival with blocked off telegraph with booths. Instead I observed Lafayette and diablo valleyans having a good time at their beer/wine festa. It was not so interesting, hot, and I wasn’t impressed with any of the drinks or food served.

Back in Otown, a band called “further” is playing at FOX Oakland all three nights Frri-Sat-Sun and the fans are making a fuckload of noise until 3am last night, and as I write at midnight tonight, probably doing the same tonight.

I ought to stab the drummer. But maybe it’s our fault for moving into an apartment complex across from multiple music venues. I saw some dirty hippies running out behind our car from the garage too, they are living out of a truck on 20th next to the Uptown Apts and part of this hairy hippy fest.

I wonder what the big deal is, and what these hippies do for a living. It seems like their Christmas/New Year or something.

Speaking of which, happy new year to all the jews in Oakland. Cheers.

What’s up in Up Town?

Nothing much lately… music acts are picking up at the FOX Oakland theater with Arctic Monkeys or some such playing to a packed house yesterday. This Tuesday 9/15 was the last “trivia night” for the year at The Den, which I missed. Sounds like fun for next year.

I’ve purchased a second pedicab recently.

My late-planted corn plants have finally tassled in time for not-quite “Indian Summer.” One of them is even growing an ear!