Tag Archives: parking

San Pablo/19th parking lot under construction

No, it’s not multi-level. At least not in the Emeryville IKEA or SF Costco sense of multi-level. There won’t be hoards of middle class college kids hauling teflon pans and plastic encased sawdust-and-glue furniture home. Continue reading

Fox Uptown Parking Garage: Terrible car onslaught or necessary amenity?

Sunfield Sustainable Development (“Sunfield”, “SSD”) plans to build a massive parking garage for the corner of San Pablo Avenue and 18th Street. Figure A. (click for large view)

Note that the currently green-fenced “empty uptown lot” between FOX Theater and the Uptown Apartments is empty, unlike in the illustration.

Continue reading

Heads up: Fox Uptown Parking Garage

http://www.sunfielddevelopment.com/FoxBlock.html

Details forthcoming, TBA.

Park-o-matic Borg on the Loose?

Oakland’s city planning department as noted on other Oakland blogs has some enthusiasm for surface parking. We’re not sure why. We wish they were bigger fans of say Lady Gaga (coming March to the Oakland Arena) or basashimi (raw horse sashimi). The city has plenty of sunlit Urban Heat Island inducing blacktop already. [Update/caveat: we haven’t verified this alleged enthusiasm ourselves, and are depending on good reporting from other Oaklanders and or Oakland blogs.]

More parking means more cars, more gasoline imports, less space for relaxation, less social life, less “green city,” more “gray city.” Cities are for grid-connected electric vehicles (elevators, streetcars), not horses and cars, silly!

A sampling of downtown’s existing parking lots and parking garages shaded red below. Click to enlarge.

Maybe the city planning department wants Oakland to look like Houston. Downtown Houston looks like it was bombed out during WWII.  At least they did it with their own oil…

Link to Houston satellite photo.

Link to Oakland paid parking lots.

The high cost of parking has been discussed endlessly in planning circles.

Alternatives to surface parking lots w/ examples:

  • Underground parking lots – San Francisco AMC Theater, Kintetsu Mall, Oakland Kaiser Convention Center/City Center
  • Buildings – the rest of Oakland downtown, SF, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Boston…
  • Sports fields (Americans are out of shape and bored) – Berkeley’s soccer fields by 880 @Gilman
  • Outdoor Concert Halls – Greek Theater, Berkeley
  • Temporary tree nursery lots – SF’s Better MidMarket plan contemplates this
  • Art installations – SF’s mid-market, Uptown’s empty lot fencing
  • “Wild space” – you know
  • Community gardens – plenty of people would want to start/maintain these, ie Hayes Valley Farm, Tenderloin People’s Garden
  • Dog parks – Hardy Park, Rockridge; better than car parks

Are you against adding yet-more parking to downtown Oakland? Find who to contact at A Better Oakland. Let’s stop the CEDA-Planning Commission park-loving borg entity… and actually raise property values and increase human amenities downtown! (Plus emergency capacity.)

And just kidding about basashimi. I’d eat fried cockroaches before eating horse, rabbit or dolphin.

Posted from The Punchdown.

Parking Irony

In today’s SF Examiner, the headline piece is:

“Meters until midnight”

“Controversial plan would extend parking pay hours to late n ight and SUndays to generate $9 million”

Will Oakland’s political-business elites grow a pair and bring back either (A) higher parking rates or (B) longer meter hours, a few months from now?

Perhaps March or April before Earth Day would be a good time for it.

Is Grand Lake Theater on Crack?

Is this man on crack?

Is this man on crack?

Of all Oakland small biz owners, I recall one in particular, Allen Michaan, who rallied a rabid frenzy of gasoline-dependent “consumers” and fellow biz owners into an anti-city government parking fee increase froth.

Not that small businessees don’t have legitimate concerns of pure business survival during Great Depression 2.0, but the argument against parking  went too far. (I generally like his outdoor sign commentaries…)

Michaan, owner of the local movie theater by the lake claimed that his business was down 50% (?) due to the increased $0.50/hr parking fees? C’mon! Wake up and smell the non-fair-trade blue bottle coffee. Your theater has less patrons because their disposable incomes have shrunken like a cotton sweater left in the dryer on High too long. And you scared them off with parking ticket talk to the mainstream media. Heckuva job.

So now that Oakland City Council repealed its parking rate hike (and longer hours) this week, will we see a 50% rebound in said movie theater business? I highly doubt it. The Grand Lake shuck-and-jive to “roll” back higher parking rates will backfire into some other tax increase or service cut.

The real reason for Grand Lake businesses hurting is this:

Unemployment keeps increasing. Nationally the Sept unemployment rate is officially up to 10%.  That represents around 1 million fewer people working in Sept vs August.

To make house payments on your American Dream or to go out to movies every week requires a steady paycheck. A lot of people are losing that, which means they’re losing their disposable income.

Even if you keep your job, let’s say your credit card rate just got increased from 20% to 30% or your credit line got trimmed a cool thousand.  Now you have all the more reason to jump on Hulu.com or visit your local paid-for library’s DVD section… Plus, you might be inspired by all the bad news to actually save a few bucks for when you get laid off.

$3 gas now hurts more than $4 gas did in 2008.

Oakland business owners who have come to terms with all these facts of reality are battening the hatches for a few stark years  — and likely decades  — to come, Japan-style. People are only buying essentials these days. They’re going out less frequently.

Businesses which succeed will be the best of the best.

You can generally find these businesses at yelp.com’s “best of” sections.

They’ll also be located in great locations like Temescal, Uptown, maybe West Oakland, and perhaps even Rockridge. Areas close to public transit. Grand Lake can succeed too: at a smaller scale. Does any low-density neighborhood really need 5 beauty salons within three blocks?

Surviving businesses will thrive when their lesser competitors close. Survivors will have survived thanks to better service, unique ambiance you can’t enjoy anywhere else, maniacal focus, or being tight-knit with the local community. And most of all, offering something tangible which people really need. Food. Water. Air. Shelter. Clothing. You might have noticed that over in SF, the former Sony Metreon building now features an all-week farmers’ market indoors where sony hardware once sat. (Love the empenadas and day-old cupcakes!)

If they don’t offer the above, they are short-cutting or cheating somewhere. Think “bailout” or mafia.

Cheap and good is the order of the day.

Wishing small biz owners out there all the best! We’re in for a decade of penny-pinching. Now support your damn local economy by closing your national zombie bank account and switching to a local/regional bank or credit union!

I just closed my Chase account this week. If you can’t tell, I’m quite pleased with myself. 😉

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.