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Three important transportation meetings

Though Oakland does not have a Transportation Commission, the city does plan major transportation improvements. However, there’s no one resource for learning about proposals, no regularly scheduled meetings on transportation policy, and no consistent decision-making process. In the next seven days, three important public meetings offer the opportunity to aid the city’s transportation needs.


Bus Rapid Transit

Bus Rapid Transit, the world’s most successful transit service, has proven controversial in Berkeley, with bus opponents launching an initiative to “leave our streets alone” (I am part of the campaign against this measure). Heated rhetoric aside, this is a major transportation improvement that deserves more attention from Oaklanders and policy-makers. North Oaklanders, and indeed anyone who plans to ever take transit to North Oakland destinations not adequately served by BART (like Temescal or Koreatown), are invited to learn more about the proposal tomorrow. (Thanks for the reminder, Becks!)

Jane Brunner’s Community Advisory Meeting on BRT

Saturday Oct 11, 10a

Peralta Elementary School, 460 63rd St

UPDATE: Becks reports on the BRT meeting at Living in the O.


Taxi Service

Think Taxi service in Oakland is adequate? Never waited too long for a taxi? Never spent hours calling the only two cab dispatchers in this city of over 400,000 people? Never resorted for a female friend’s throaty phone voice to get you a taxi back from a West Oakland warehouse party? Never missed an Oakland Opera performance because there just weren’t any cabs at 7pm in the DTO? Then this meeting is not for you.

Biannual meeting on adequacy of permitted taxi service

Monday, Oct 13, 7p

Hearing Room One, City Hall

(If you cannot attend the meeting, comments can be sent to Assistant City Administrator Barb Killey, bkilley at oaklandnet dot com)

UPDATE: Not many people came, but everyone who spoke was a regular (at least weekly) taxi user and said Oakland needs more cabs. I also heard from several people that they didn’t know about the meeting, and there was no notice on the city’s website.


Oakland – Alameda Transit Connections

With the expected development of the rest of the former Alameda Naval Air Base, the issue of providing improved public transit access from Oakland to Alameda is even more pressing. Proposals range anywhere from amphibious buses to Bus Rapid Transit to a “futuristic” monorail. Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, of which I am a member, invites the public to comment on ways to bridge the Estuary.

Estuary Crossing Study

Thursday, Oct 16, 5:30p

Hearing Room 4, City Hall

Posted in alameda, brt, california, citycouncil, janebrunner, oakland, taxis, transportation.

13 Responses

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  1. Max Allstadt says

    DTO, a short correction. There is no such thing as “Koreatown”. You may mean “Northgate” or “Pill hill” or “Mosswood”. While Korean businessmen hold a lot of property in these areas, the population is not even plurality Korean. The proliferation of the term “Koreatown” was created by a business district association with an ethnocentric agenda and a habit of alienating non-Korean neighbors. This alienation is due to be exacerbated soon: signs emblazoned with “Koreatown” are about to go up in Northgate.

    But um…. Yeah, go to the BRT meeting folks! And support BRT, we need it.

  2. dto510 says

    I’ve been calling mid-Telegraph Koreatown for several years now, because the predominance of Korean restaurants and other businesses is so striking. A neighborhood’s brand is not solely determined by who lives there: Ghost Town along lower San Pablo seems to be named for its shuttered storefronts, not the health of its residents. In any event, the Koreatown Business Improvement District was formed by a majority vote of the property owners through a public process.

    And what are the alternatives? Pill Hill are the hospitals, on the hill, not the commercial district. Northgate is obvious plannerese (why do planners call everything a gate?) and Mosswood isn’t catchy or descriptive.

    Becks has a writeup of the BRT meeting. Sounds like it went really well.

  3. Max Allstadt says

    1. If you tell me the southern and northern borders of “Koreatown”, I’ll gladly count the percentage of storefronts that are Korean, and that which are not, and show you no more than a slight plurality, if that.

    2. Are you telling me that you, and the city of Oakland, believe that only property owners get a say in what a neighborhood is called? Classism is not ok.

  4. dto510 says

    What a neighborhood is called is a function of culture, not government. The city can call the Army Base “Gateway” (which they used to call Uptown) but it’s up to real people to use it and make that a real name. The BID’s street signs can’t force you to call a neighborhood anything but what you want to call it. Just please don’t call it Northgate.

    Business Improvement and Community Benefit Districts, newly popular in Oakland because of the city’s poor service delivery, are created through an open and fair process dictated by state law. Select property owners are paying for the Koreatown signs, not the taxpayers.

  5. Max Allstadt says

    OK DTO , we’re on a tangent, so a few BRT thoughts to follow, I promise…

    It isn’t an open and fair process just because you call it one. The Business Improvement District leadership has been stacked in Northgate (the name the Oakland Museum uses on it’s neighborhood map). And culturally, most of what’s south of 27th, (with the exception of one super market, one restaurant and a nail salon), is well on it’s way to being Uptown. If you want to give south of 27th a divisive name that’s accurate culturally, it should be called Hipstertown.

    Also, as a real estate marketing consultant, tell me which of the two names we’re discussing here would help push property values up, and which stagnate them.



    One thing that might be good for BRT in terms of shushing traffic whiners would be to move some of the proposed stops a few blocks. Many of the stops I saw in the AC transit animation are dead in the heart of the commercial districts they serve. This means that they’re in major intersections. If they’re moved back or forth a few blocks, perhaps the traffic worry warts would be a little less threatened.

    But that’s actually not why I want to move them. If you move the stop a few blocks out of the center of a commercial intersection, commerce will grow towards the stop. Say in Temescal, you move it to 46th, right at the edge of the strip that centers around telegraph and 51st. 46th becomes a new center, and growth is thereby encouraged all the way down to 40th, tying the whole area together. I think this strategy could work in other places too. It might even reduce the number of stops needed in some cases.

  6. dto510 says

    I don’t see what’s so divisive about calling a street lined with Korean restaurants and shops Koreatown, which as I noted before, many people have been using for years. The BIDs follow a predetermined process spelled out in advance by state law. The same process produced two other assessment districts this summer as well. It’s irresponsible to say that the “leadership has been stacked” just because you don’t like the outcome of this year-plus-long process. How intimately were you involved? It’s not a closed and unfair process just because you say it is. The process is created by state law, it’s the same process for everyone, and it has to be ratified by a majority vote of property owners – that’s open, and fair.

    Whichever name gives the area a more coherent and memorable identity will be good for property values. Northgate is generic plannerese, that name is unacceptable. Koreatown in LA has been extraordinarily successful, and the growing interest in Korean food and Asian culture should continue to attract people to Telegraph.

    The BRT stops are not in the intersections, just near them. Because BRT has a dedicated lane the location of stops has no impact on car traffic. At least that’s what I understand.

  7. Becks says

    dto510 is correct about the BRT stops. Also, as someone who rides that line daily, I think the current choices (which aren’t final) for stops make a lot of sense. They’re nearly the same as the current 1R stops and they are the busiest stops along the line. I’m all for encouraging the spread of business along the route, but I think it makes the most sense to place stops where people are currently using them. Also, many of the stops are placed at transfer points along the route, which is extremely important.

  8. Max Allstadt says

    I return to my previous comments. Residents who don’t own property should get a say in what their neighborhood is called, and they should be actively sought out.

    Also, again, where do you think the boundaries are? There isn’t a single operating Korean owned business south of Koreana supermarket, for instance. My anecdotal impression is that from 25th to 46th, there is a weak plurality at best.

    And in your opinion, DTO, what is the threshold of ethnic plurality that one must cross before it is appropriate to claim ethnic ownership for a neighborhood.

    This is not the same as Chinatown. Chinatown was forced into existance by the Exclusion Act. Plus Chinatown is an overwhelming majority of Chinese American businesses and residents.

    I can understand based on your pro-development alignment why you’d like the idea of a second Asian American enclave. There’s a very pro-business culture that would be advantageous as a voting block against the socialist wing of the City Council. I would probably see that as a plus myself…

    But there’s a principle here. The principle is that one shouldn’t claim physical territory for ANY particular ethnic group in a city. Once you have momentum in an ethnocentric neighborhood, the next step is rampant, tacit, illegal housing discrimination against everyone but the in-group. Not OK.

    As for BRT, I’m more interested in stretching the economic benefits than appeasing the hysterical NIMBY traffic freakout. If you build a stop, it attracts business. So why build it next to existing business when you can attract new business by stopping the bus a mere 100 yards away in either direction?

  9. dto510 says

    As I wrote an a post, if it were up to me downtown’s boundaries would be pushed up to 27th, making the area you’re talking about Uptown. I don’t see why the gallery area around 23rd is so concerned with this, they have their own identity and it’s not compromised by somebody else’s signs.

    Putting together a BID with a marketing strategy and signage along a commercial street is not “ethnic ownership for a neighborhood,” it’s not even “what the neighborhood is called,” what people call the neighborhood is what it’s called.

    The political argument is totally irrelevant, this has nothing to do with marketing condos to a specific ethnic group.

    The BID and CBD process are increasingly widely used in Oakland and represents using private funds to supply missing government services. Property owners had the opportunity to join the Uptown BID if they didn’t like the Koreatown one. The whole thing was out in public and ratified at a Council meeting. Some people may not like the signs but I’ll bet they’re going to like the sidewalk cleaning.

  10. Max Allstadt says

    I didn’t say a thing about condos. I was talking simply about the population.

    The political argument is that demographically, Asian-Americans tend to be more pro-business and fiscally conservative, so the more that live in district 1 and 3, the more anti-socialist votes you get, ostensibly. This is good for people who want to build condos, smoke in bars, have lower business taxes…good for your interests and fine by me.

    On the flipside, the Korean property owners community is doing a lot of mothballing, and surface parking lot landbanking.

    And a name is not ownership, true. But planting a flag on land means something. Planting signs on the public way is going to feel like claim staking to many Northgate residents.

  11. dto510 says

    I think you’re taking this way too seriously. Businesses have already staked their claim by opening their businesses. Signage is no more than signage, and I don’t think that Northgate is an historic name, it certainly doesn’t sound like one (and the Oakland Museum’s map is not necessarily gospel).

    Speculating about people wanting to the change the population of an area to create specific political outcomes is divisive and paranoid (and Nancy Nadel strongly supported the Koreatown BID). But you are talking about condo marketing, because most people move into a neighborhood by buying new homes. Realtors can call the area whatever they want (I would call it Uptown, General Plan be damned), and so can anyone else.

  12. Max Allstadt says

    The bit about changing the voting block was an aside, not entirely serious.

    What do you mean most people move in by buying new homes? Do you mean that as the vehicle for population growth, or demographic change? Demographic change, without population growth can also happen when rents change enough to export or import a new income bracket, all too often tied to race in one way or another.

    Anyhoo back to BRT. I sure with some antiBRT person would chime in here so we can see some PWNage.

  13. OaklandSpaceAcademy says

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