Tag Archives: sb375

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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Yesterday’s Gems

Before we get to resources, here’s some icing on the SF media’s cake.

The day after Chronicle reports on a woman’s body and car being burned in the Lower Haight among other things, they trot out this article on Oakland’s hilly cemetary of unknown buried people by Pleasant Valley Safeway.  I bet the Chron saves up these nuggets for times when SF has truly macabre news in order to deflect the pall onto Oakland, the “dirty” city across the bay which was afraid to be further sullied by a Gentlemen’s Pimp tv show. As if that could even be possible, for that is our reality.

Okay, onto Today’s Gems.

  1. Mapping America – type in 94612 (Uptown) and see what you get. You can see where people of different ethnicities cluster, as well as view population through income and other variables. Look at Oakland. The Bay Area. The nation. >10 minutes timepass.
  2. Strategic Growth Council – a working group created by SB 375, California’s anti-suburban sprawl legislation.

Of local interest:

  • City of El Cerrito – Ohlone Greenway Natural Area and Rain Gardens – $903,721 Create a 2.75 acre riparian forest beneath the BART tracks along an accessible multi-use trail.Contact: Melanie Mintz, Environmental Services Manager, (510) 215-4339 mmintz@ci.elcerrito.ca.us
  • City of Richmond – Miraflores Sustainable Community Greenbelt Project – $1,664,319 Convert Brownfield to a 4-acre green space, adjacent to City greenbelt, by daylighting 750 feetof Baxter Creek and adding recreation zones and a community garden.Contact: Natalia Lawrence, Sr. Development Project Manager, (510) 307-8180natalia_Lawrence@ci.richmond.ca.us
  • San Francisco Planning Department – Cesar Chavez Street Low Impact DevelopmentGreening Project – $1,000,000 Enhance an ongoing, multi-modal transportation project by adding trees, green stormwaterplanters and drought tolerant landscape along roughly one mile in the city’s highly urbanizedMission District.Contact: Andres Power, Project Manager, (415) 558-6384 Andres.Power@sfgov.org
  • San Francisco Recreation and Park Department – Boeddeker Park and Urban GreeningProject – $493,000 Improve stormwater capture at a one-acre park with climate-appropriate landscaping, bioswales,permeable paving, and an underground infiltration system. Interpretive signage about theproject’s unique green features will also be installed.Contact: Jacob Gilchrist, Project Manager, (415) 581-2561 jacob.gilchrist@sfgov.org
  • San Francisco Recreation and Park Department – Cayuga Park Renovation – $710,779 Enhance existing green space and improve stormwater capture at City’s hilltop park. The projectwill construct a green roof on the park’s clubhouse and convert 6,500 square feet of street intoadded park space.Contact: Toni Moran, Environmental Specialist-Fiscal/Grants, (415) 581-2555toni.moran@sfgov.org
  • Golden Gate Audubon Society – Pier 94 [hunter’s point -ed]Restoration Project – $75,000 Enhance native upland habitat to encourage passive recreation in a severely disadvantagedcommunity.Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director, (510) 843-2222 mlynes@goldengateaudubon.org

All funded by Prop 84 money.  No money for Oakland. We lack suction?