Tag Archives: bart

running for life, recallquan status, bloggers, future

2H March 2012 Update

Tabling for New, Better Mayor

I witnessed two gents tabling for the Recall Oakland Mayor Quan campaign by the Downtown Marriott last weekend.  A good spot to camp out – many Oakland Marathon registrants passed by. Other highlights:

  • Rain
  • plenty of takers though at the booth
  • donuts and cookies provided by moi
  • every weekend at farmers market near you!

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If you’re into sustainability thoughts and trends, you might read up on how Ancient China kept up its transport mobility mojo in an era of post-asphalt roads during a time when Ancient Europe failed to do similarly. With a Chinese wheelbarrowWell – it’s true the ‘peons used Roman paved roads for a millenia, but it was all dirt roads from there. What’s this got to do with the East Bay? Continue reading

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Liveblog: Street and bicycle improvements Lake Merrit BART/Chinatown

What Lake Merritt/Chinatown junction could look like with enough pre-2007 level economic development. Photo by me near Tokyo circa 200?

Since VSmoothe is out to lunch and I’ve also been out to lunch… here’s transcript of tonight’s Planning Commission meeting about the Lake Merritt Specific Area Plan.  Good to see a lot of you Oakland blogospherians at the podium. By the way, this blog is mistitled a bit. It’s about redeveloping the Lake Merritt/Laney College/South Chinatown area, not just putting in street and bike improvements. But I’m not going to change the title now.  My smartass commentary below is inside [brackets].

Highlights:

  • pro-development/ economic boost people
  • safety, transportation and land use are (duh) major issues
  • no big vision other than defining Chinatown properly with Gate, branding, like other Chinatowns around the world. (in itself, a bit of a vision)  renaming Lake Merrit BART Station as Laney-Chinatown station or similar would be a big help.  Connectivity is lacking in the area for pedestrians, though not for cars and buses (the lake physically pushes central – east oakland traffic thru Chinatown, affecting residents)
  • plan should partly heal the scars of 1950s freeway and BART infrastructure “progress” — of which the urban fabric was torn apart, like 980 connector through “black wall street” west of uptown.
  • 880 is a major contributor to air pollution afflicting residents, and its dank underbelly is a block between Jack London and Lake Merritt BART as well as Old Town, Downtown, Chinatown.
  • large actors (Laney, BART) haven’t written strong comments yet except Alameda County, which was critical.
  • development should incorporate and fund community benefits — including pedestrian and cyclist safety (lighting, striping), two-way and narrower streets which nobody doubts, but also affordable housing of which there is contention between regular folks and developers
  • most people in favor of taller buildings for economic expediency, climate protection, fulfulling sb375 TOD growth mandate, funding of community benefits
  • for whatever reason city council wants SAP moved quickly to finish up by end of 2012 (in time for elections?)

Go back in time, live on KTOP:

http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityCouncil/s/VideoArchive/index.htm

Tonight’s city hall presentation is a nice follow-up to my previous post from March 2011 about the  Lake Merrit BART Station improvement plan area.

Liveblog:

7:20PM: Joint statement by Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce (Alan) and another business group: Plan needs revision to link BART/Laney area with Chinatown. Not be a barrier between the two. Mechanism for growing small biz. Needs to prioritize pedestrian level lighting, not just striping bike lanes. Desiring zoning for a multiplicity of businesses. (multi-use zoning) [completely agree with multi-use zoning] Chinatown Biz Community views development as: CC is vital part of Oakland not just a tourist spot. [agree] Contributes $MM sales tax revenue to city…

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Bitter Tea and Tasty Sandwiches: Yesterday’s MTC “You Choose Bay Area” Workshop and “Tea Party” Eruptions

Attended MTC’s second Oakland spring workshop for Bay Area future planning and visioning tonight, May 24th, 2011.  The visioning process is called “You Choose Bay Area” which is part of ABAG and MTC’s “One Bay Area” project.  You can “vote” on the type of sub/urban future you’d like to see at the YCBA site. The workshop was from 5:30-8:30pm with basic box sandwich dinners provided.  Ham, roast beef, tuna and chicken. Tea was also provided…though not by MTC. I’ll dive into that later.

The purpose of this event (like the oversubscribed May 19th workshop I missed) was for residents of Alameda County to tell the MTC what they’d like their future to be like: Business As Usual or new and different.  How to prioritize land use and transportation options, policies and incentives and tax money.  Everyone did that quite well, though some less civilly.

The night’s most memorable negative feature was the sizable and obnoxious contingent of all-white* folks mostly from Livermore, Alamo, Dublin and other 680/580 suburbs. Some people might call these people “Tea Partyers.”  They were variously very dismissive, distrustful, extremely rude/shrill/loud/uncouth, (think Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin and ten of their dittohead friends in a room), ignorant about fossil fuel realities and were completely “antiMTC, public mass transit, planning, taxes, regulations and density. By re-arranging the letters in WASP, we get SAWP, or Super Angry White People. That’s what they were.

[*5/28/2011: At this point, let’s take a break and discuss race. I couldn’t help but notice that all the people who were loud, or anti-MTC/transit, happened to be white.  Does that mean the tensions in the room were due to race issues? In some people’s minds it very well could play a strong part. In a better read of the situation, it really boiled down to who was from newer  suburbs/exurbs, vs who was from older suburbs and urban cities.  Urban workshop participants were also largely white, but far more racially mixed (Asian, black, etc) given the more mixed demographics of the urban Bay Area.  I’m leaving the text as I wrote it, but keep this in mind. It’s more of a “inland vs coastal” sparring match. In microcosm, the US coasts vs the “heartland.” You can see charts of this I commissioned in 2008 for a city sustainability study.

Inlanders from the 680 valley were defending their car-based single family home way of life against decreased funding for them (which they’ve enjoyed for decades mind you), and increasing funding for less car-based, more “dense and convenient” ways of life.  I also have to note, based on the Bay Citizen story this week, that it is self-serving for Tea Party efforts to be led by a sales commission-based realtor… but still the main tension is over “The Economy, Stupid.” Also, there are no black UN (US) helicopters forcing people out of their SFHs and cars back into cities… economics alone do that. We’re in the “maturity and death” part of our society cycle right now. A new society will be born in the US by 2030. Now back to original post…]

You could say they were the ultimate version of that group of NIMBYs in North Oakland and Berkeley who frown upon any buildings taller than two stories or  Bus Rapid Transit. From talking to other people who tried to engage with them, and seeing their actions and hearing their words, I could see that they were there to get their point across to MTC (fine) but their manner of doing so was extremely rude. “Ghetto” would not be far from accurate. They were a riot. The irony! Continue reading

Lake-Chinatown wasteland remediation meeting notes

3/5/11

Notes from Lake Merritt BART station & BART HQ neighborhood design charette

New Oaktown Backgrounder: The area between the lake and the SFBay estuary has always been in flux but for the past several decades has felt like a sad environment with nobody outside. The main park in the area is habited by homeless and transients, though sometimes with children and tai chi practicing elderly too. Continue reading

Downtown Oakland needs its rail back

I am posting this today to coincide with V Smoothe’s post at ABO about Streetcars on Broadway.  Was going to add more detail before posting in the future at some unknown date.  On the other hand, I feel very discouraged that this will probably never happen which is why I didn’t post it sooner.  The idea of putting railcars back onto Oaktown streets is not original to me, although I didn’t know of other people’s opinions on this until today.  (Other than say people like Len or Vivek saying it probably wouldn’t happen.)  Streetcars are unlikely to return to Dolores, Valencia and Guerrero either.

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I wrote this post knowing that Detroit will rebuild/rebrand itself in the near future by bringing back “railroad tracks” and “trains” on city streets.  It will be a smaller city, but a city with streetcars again.

Downtown Oakland (aka theDTO) experienced glory in no small part because of our intra-city and inter-city rail systems.  We used to have good ground-level trains here. Being close to San Francisco’s earthquake-phobic gold and silver flippers helped as 1906 quake ‘fugees fled to the East Bay, hipster style but for different reasons. The World War Two economy also greatly aided Oakland’s ramping up, with Kaiser’s ship-building yards (yes, that Kaiser) and the Ford plant in Richmond among other things we used to make here.

It is probably more accurate to say Oakland’s glory was due to its strong, productive economy, and that streetcars were a symptom of its largess.

We have the 1R and 72R rapid AC Transit buses which are good, decent terrain for cycling, and BART for working in Fremont or SF, but a street car system would be Ooo-la-la! Much less jerky than busses, supportable sometimes with wind and solar and even those dang BloomEnergy BloomBoxes everyone’s yapping about today[weeks ago]. If Oakland ever gets a BloomBox fuel cell system, it should be installed right in the midst of EBMUD’s sewage treatment plant — plenty of “directed biogas” available there!  But back to today’s topic: Oakland and its former streetcar rail lines.

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Remember that waste of money, the OAC?

The OAK Airport Connector. You keep hearing about it and don’t want to keep hearing about it. Join the club.

Well, it is a huge waste of our taxpayer money so you will keep hearing about it from me until MTC+BART-CoO cancel it and build the best alternative possible.

We know what the best alternative is. We know that the best alternative costs 1/5 the $0.522 Ba-hillion OAC. We know that only $25MM out of that $0.522 will be “lost” if the OAC is not built.

AirBART Bus
AirBART Bus photo by LAW

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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