Oakland releases draft Broadway Valdez plan

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 by Joel Devalcourt

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The Draft Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan has been released to the public and we are very excited to share some of our initial thoughts leading up to the City of Oakland’s community workshop on Thursday, October 3 (see below for further details).

Residential development is a crucial catalyst for and is essential to the success of retail and the vitality of the Broadway Valdez District as a whole. The draft plan has made significant progress in making sure that the district is a complete community, with the development of more homes for a range of incomes being a central component to revitalization—it now calls for at least 1,800 homes and encourages 15% of new units to be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The Better Broadway Coalition, of which we are a part, urges the City to show their commitment to inclusive communities and make these housing goals a requirement in the final plan.

We also would like to see more flexibility for key sites amendable to residential development, particularly in the North End, to accommodate homes, live-work spaces, and other non-commercial uses on the ground floor.

The Broadway Valdez District has incredible potential as a place for new homes, shops, jobs, and active public spaces and as part of burgeoning downtown Oakland.

Surprisingly, the City is just now prioritizing the building of a “catalytic” parking garage as a companion project to new retail in the area. Although a reasonable amount of parking will likely be required in the future, previous plans had already acknowledged the abundance of existing parking and the need to maximize the use of these lots and structures. The cost of building a new parking garage puts a financial strain on the City and developers with each space coming with a $30,000 or more price tag.

We commend the draft plan’s recommendation of forming a Transportation and Parking Management Agency that will create up-to-date supply and demand data. With strong parking supply management in place, Oakland can make informed decisions about if and when there is an appropriate time to build a public parking garage.

The draft plan also urges the creation of a parking benefit district, in which parking revenues would be used to fund improvements in the area. Prioritizing streetscape improvements and pedestrian and bicycle enhancements, rather than funding future parking garages, should be the first priority of public funds.

We envision the Broadway Valdez District transforming into a thriving, compact community that will help Oakland meet its ambitious climate goals by being a neighborhood designed for people.

Please join Greenbelt Alliance and our Better Broadway Coalition partners at Oakland’s next community workshop for the Broadway Valdez District to learn more about the draft plan and share your comments:

Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Location: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland (map)

If you have any questions, please email Joel Devalcourt at jdevalcourt@greenbelt.org.

 

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