ULI San Francisco Blog

Recap: Redefining Oakland’s Broadway Corridor

The City of Oakland received a boost from ULI’s national expertise in re-visioning the Broadway corridor. The March 1st presentation at City Hall Council of Chambers culminated the City Study Visit, one component of the year-long program for the Oakland ULI Rose Center Fellows, four Oakland officials, Deanna Santana, Gregory Hunter, Aliza Gallo and Mayor Jean Quan.

The ULI Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use assembled a national panel of professionals to visit the fellowship city of Oakland, learn about their land use challenges and advise the Fellow team.  The nine-member panel addressed how Oakland can redefine Broadway as its “Main Street” by strengthening, seeding and connecting its assets.  Co-chaired by Mark Shapiro, Mithun (Seattle) and Calvin Gladney, Mosaic Urban Partners (Washington, DC), the panel outlined general observations, gave corridor-wide strategies, identified Priority Nodes of Broadway, and gave concluding thoughts to the Rose Center Fellows.

Panelist Kennedy Smith, Community Land Use and Economics Group (Arlington, VA), included in the observations that Oakland has strong administrative leadership and that the new residential development invigorates downtown.  Among the strengths/opportunities, she emphasized that the corridor has strong transit infrastructure in BART and AC Transit, and 180,000 daytime workers in City Center.  The challenges included the barriers and gaps between the districts along Broadway, and the real and perceived safety and crime issues.

Among the Corridor-wide Strategies, Roger Williams, RW & Associates (Potomac, MD), recommended they articulate a place-based vision for Oakland’s Main Street.  To help integrate city policies and programs the city should create a staff position to facilitate business access to city services for predictability.  Paul Moore, AECOM (Atlanta), spoke of strengthening the pedestrian linkages between the different areas, since pedestrians are the “customers” of the area.  This is especially true in under Interstate 880 on the way to Jack London Square.

Leroy Moore, Tampa Housing Authority, (Tampa) and Thomas Deller, City of Providence (Rhode Island), presented the team’s Priority Nodes, including a focus on Uptown, Broadway/Valdez and the connectivity to Jack London Square, and listed observations, challenges and recommendations of each.  One recommendation is aiding development of Uptown convenience-oriented businesses to meet the needs of neighborhood residents, as the new housing creates critical mass. In the Broadway/Valdez the future identity could include an Auto Row and a mixed-use district, they are not mutually exclusive.  For the pedestrian experience under Interstate 880, panelist Mami Hara, City of Philadelphia (PA) showed samples from other cities of art lights brightening up walkways under overpasses.

After summarizing their concluding thoughts, the panel team assigned homework to the Oakland ULI Fellows.  These include articulating an initial place-based vision for Broadway, collaborating with BIDs (Business Improvement District) to outline a public safety strategy for the corridor, and convening a committee with the business community to develop a job description for an ombudsman for Broadway.

The Oakland ULI Rose Fellows were extremely receptive to the panels’ key recommendations and appreciated ULI’s fresh eyes on the Broadway corridor.  The Fellows will provide a progress report in late April.  The final presentation will be made at the ULI Fall Meeting 2012 in Denver.

Thank you to the sixty local ULI members and citizens who assisted with Oakland’s City Study Visit by participating in interviews with the panel.

Read more on the ULI Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership and Land Use.

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