Tag Archives: ceda

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].


  • 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:


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.


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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Behind Government Budget Problems

Sutro Baths Steps by sirgious
Sutro Baths Steps, a photo by sirgious on Flickr.

This month’s post by Gail the Actuary explains our country’s (and the world’s) economic situation better than I ever could, so here it is.

This obviously speaks for Oakland as well, since we’re one of hundreds of US cities built upon a once lustrous but increasingly potholed and cracked foundation of cheap (and now all burnt up) oil and gasoline.

We’ll need to find other means of social lubrication, and in the meantime, don’t be poor!

The ramifications touch every part of our society, and thus I’ve tagged this with all categories. Put on your systems thinking cap and get reading!

Because we play (with) ketchup

We lay down ketchup over greasy french fries and hot dogs.

We (Oakland) also play catch-up to San Francisco, a city twice as dense as us. (SF density: 17,459 per sq mi. Oak density: 7,966 per sq mi.)

They have sports teams; so do we, for now. They have the Infinity; we have The Grand.  They have the Ferry Building farmers’ market; we have the Jack London Square farmers’ market. Our politics are as corrupt and union/business/developer/mafia-influenced as theirs.

So why not copy off our neighbor? Besides, we’ll beat them to the punch on a high value target acquisition: SF Target by 2012. We also got ourselves a mayor-puppet before they will.

Two items I expect we will emulate shortly, below.

Comment: This looks good, can Audi do this on Grand-Lakeshore or Temescal-Telegraph too? I applaud the below action by luxe car company Audi mainly because at the end of the day it is time for them (and us, along with other car companies) to give back to the public realm what they (and we) took away from it. Streets are for people!

Comment: It’s about time! Midmarket needs to lose its crime and downtrodden elements (people who panhandle me daily asking for beer/ cigarette money–screw off!), and add business/ home/condo owners who are invested in its success.

I have a truly long comment for this (you can too), which is posted below. In any case, our “Midmarket” areas for improvement would include: Broadway Auto Row, 16th Street Terminus, East 14th Street.  (Did I miss any spots?)

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LIVE: City Hall budget meeting, video here

Today’s city budget meetings from 5pm to 6pm and onward are viewable LIVE here via KTOP (and possibly thanks to the city’s Dept of IT)

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Today’s RDA/CCEDC Meeting (2pm) re Uptown empty lot

Make sure to review these papers before calling the committee members to give your views on a parking lot vs alternatives in the empty Uptown lot.


Click to access 5689_A__Concurrent_Meeting_of_the_Redevelopment_Agency_and_Council_Community___Economic_09-04-28_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

Legislative Background (context: present/future claims on the space)

Click to access 21585.pdf

CEDA Recommendation (pro parking lot)

Click to access 21702.pdf

And as much as I’d love to see one there, unless people are willing and able to pay for it, we should not be promoting more park space. Even as much sense as it makes to us. Context is important: the city can’t afford to maintain its current parks, not to mention build/maintain a new one.

Bring your good ideas and push for alternative uses! Thanks.