Tag Archives: lake merritt

interesting perspective on dto bids


Discussion of Lake Merritt/Downtown business districts, security theater, public safety in the post-2007 era.

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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Lake-Chinatown wasteland remediation meeting notes


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


City contractors have completely weed whacked “Fox Farmette” to oblivion so nothing is growing there right now except a few sweet clover and garlic plants.

Measure DD – Lake Merritt 12-lane highway deconstruction project begins! According to this flyer, city politicians broke ground on new, better car + ped/bike bridge with kayak access to the Alameda estuary. Nice work. Any word on a target completion year? Looks like at least a 2-3 year project to me.  Also curious when the new East Span of the Bay Bridge will be completed.  No info on that on the official baybridge.info site.

All for now.

Tour of downtown Oakland

Everyone loves photos.

Here are some snaps from the past few weeks.

1. Raw sewage notice at Lake Merritt, 3/23:

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Oakland’s Police Foundation… Waiting for a BattSignal

Oakland’s Police Foundation… Waiting for a Batt Signal

By Ken O

In today’s SJMerc, columnist Tammerlin Drummond reflects on our new OPD Chief after the  unveiling of his 5-year strategy last week.  Mainly, Chief Batts won’t give up trying to improve Oakland policing and community engagement without a good attempt. Anyone would applaud that.

Then Chief Batts says something odd.  He wants to “start a foundation” to support OPD’s mission and better the city.

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Captain Obvious: Lake Merritt is our GGP!

By Captain Obvious (KenO)

Thanks to John Klein for posting photos of our local repaving team at work:

Repaving LM pavement

Repaving LM pavement

Keeping Lake Merritt firmly ensconced in a brand new asphalt setting (or “collet” if you are British) will keep our aqueous Jewel looking shiny and welcoming for quite some time. The city’s Public Works department has also repaved the walking paths around the south side of the lake. Completing the makeover, with the new Lake Chalet finally open, the Lake now has its own upscale eatery.

Do not interpret any of this as diminishing the important part (and utility) of the Lake Merritt Bakery though.  The Merritt R&B is still open until 12am or 2am (thanks Oakland city council for the 2am must-close rule!) unlike the 3-4am sitdown times I enjoyed back in my 20s after a night of hard SF house clubbing. Continue reading