Oakland’s Uptown is where the cool cats play. Hip taverns and restaurants of national renown reside in the neighborhood and some want to rebrand the 19th Street BART station to reflect its resurgence. Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney proposed Tuesday to seek preliminary support for renaming the station as “19th Street/Oakland Uptown.”
However, the city’s potential expenditure for new signage, brochures and other costs associated with the name change could be costly. BART Board Director Robert Raburn, who represents the area surrounding the station, told the Oakland Community and Economic Development Committee the cost of tinkering with station names could be as high as $600,000.
McElhaney and others noted the planned renaming of the Oakland Coliseum station next year to reflect the addition of the Oakland Airport BART connector to the system represents an opportunity for Oakland to defray its costs, but only if it acts soon. The BART Board of Directors meets Thursday to finalize the Coliseum name change.
No cost estimates were including in Tuesday’s agenda item. Instead, McElhaney said she is merely seeking council support for the concept and direction to move forward with a cost estimate. Even in the event, Oakland can split the cost of rebranding the 19th Street station, Councilmember Libby Schaaf said, she could not support the city footing part of the bill. Schaaf later voted to move the item to the full City Council. The name-change item was placed on the City Council’s consent calendar for consideration Sept. 17.
Spotlighting one of Oakland’s most vibrant neighborhoods all over the BART system could be a boon to the area’s business community. On Tuesday, McElhaney hinted members of the Uptown business community might be asked to help pay some rebranding costs.