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…