Broadway Auto Row by Shanan,http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanan/6812397395/in/photostream/
From Eric Angstadt, Director, city of Oakland, Department of Planning, Building and Neighborhood Preservation
The Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan process is alive and well. Three community workshops were held on the Draft Plan Concept between April and December 2011; city staff and the consultant team are currently working on preparing a Draft Specific Plan and commencing the environmental review process.
Completing the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan is a top priority for the city of Oakland, and part of a larger strategy of improving the overall Broadway Corridor. For instance, the city of Oakland was recently selected by the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center to participate in its 2011-12 Fellowship Program. This year-long program is intended to benefit the respective fellowship cities through technical assistance on a local land use challenge. Oakland’s selected land use challenge is focused on defining the Broadway Commercial Corridor. Also, the Caltrans-funded “Broadway Transit Alternatives Study” will soon begin, and its objectives and timeline will be coordinated with the ongoing Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan process.
More than a year before the recent loss of redevelopment, city staff and the consultant team had already begun work on revising the land use concept for the Broadway Valdez District to better address market demand, improve feasibility and include new implementation and funding options that do not depend on redevelopment funding.
The current Draft Plan Concept for the Broadway Valdez District capitalizes on the “people attractors” already existing in the area, such as the area’s thriving arts and entertainment scene, and the nearby activity nodes of Downtown and the Uptown District to the south, Whole Foods to the east, Art Murmur to the west and two major medical centers at the north end. The realization of this new vision for the Broadway Valdez District is not without challenges – some inherent to the area (numerous land owners, small parcel sizes, high land values, perception of public safety, lack of retail identity, etc.) and some relate to more global issues (poor economic climate, retail industry in flux, etc.).
All of these challenges - including the possibility, and now reality, that the Redevelopment Agency would be eliminated - have already been factored into the current planning effort and have been publicly discussed with the community at various workshops since April 2011.
At the last community workshop held in December 2011, city staff presented the Draft Plan Concept that focuses on a set of near-term and mid- to long-term strategies aimed at bridging the current economy and positioning the area for new development. The Specific Plan will be flexible enough to result in a range of positive outcomes for the Broadway Valdez District.
The strategies proposed in the Draft Plan Concept seek to:
These near-term strategies will be important to demonstrate the city’s commitment to the vision for the Broadway Valdez District, and support existing businesses and landowners who are already working to revitalize the area.
The next public meeting will be the Planning Commission “scoping meeting” for the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Specific Plan, which is tentatively scheduled in June 2012. Please check the project website for the exact schedule and more details about this meeting and other project documents: oaklandnet.com/bvdsp.
If you are interested in learning more about Oakland’s citywide retail development efforts, please contact the Office of Economic Development at (510) 238-3627.