Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oakland First City To Copy S.F. 'Sunday Streets' -- NOT Berkeley

Posted By and on Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge Let's go Oakland!
  • Let's go Oakland!
For the first time in the history of time -- that we can recall -- Oakland has kicked the green-flecked ass of Berkeley in being first East-Bay city to adopt an environmentally friendly policy. Or so claims a consultant hired to put on a June 27 Oak-town edition of Sunday Streets, the San Francisco auto-free street-fest whose latest edition Sunday went off fabulously on the Embarcadero.

"Berkeley has always been seen as the greenest of the greens. But actually, Oakland is up there, too. And we're doing a lot of stuff where it can also be seen that people can live a green lifestyle," said Karen Hester, an event planner hired by the advocacy group Walk-Oakland Bike-Oakland to put on Oaklavia, a Sunday Streets type event where 12 blocks of Broadway and three blocks of Telegraph will be auto-free for four hours.

Berkeley, of course, is the city with a network of bicycle boulevards -- yes, the city is criss-crossed with entire streets devoted to bicycle travel -- bike lanes and bike racks everywhere else, and BART's first attended bicycle parking facility downtown. This vastly outpaces meager bicycle amenities in cities such as Oakland or San Francisco, despite the fact bicycle transportation lobbyists within Berkeley have a budget one-tenth that of San Francisco.

"I think

it's important for Oakland to be

first in something rather than the worst homicide rate, the worst public

schools," Hester gloated.

Worse yet for Berkeley, Hester said, cities such as Redding and Stockton now have activists inquiring about how they might put on Sunday Streets events of their own -- perhaps before Berkeley.

Eager to knock Berkeley down a few more pegs, we asked Hester if Oakland had ever been first at anything else that was good.

click to enlarge Now Oakland is in the vanguard...
  • Now Oakland is in the vanguard...

"We did one-stream recycling, where they put the single bins on the streets," Hester said.



was first in California, and some

think in the whole country to implement curbside recycling. What Oakland

did before Berkeley was just the

single bins. We were able to roll that out before Berkeley," Hester explained. "For a city of limited recourses, that's significant."

Well. Maybe.

We can tell you that, if Broadway through downtown Oakland June 27 is anything like San Francisco's Embarcadero was yesterday, the city will experience a sort of magical quiet that occurs when a downtown boulevard usually filled with automobiles is filled only with motorless devices and people.

Hester says she's raised $15,000 so far, and needs another $10,000 -- mostly to pay police patrolling this summer's Oakland event.

The event is "important because residents need to have an opportunity to be on the streets where roadways are becoming a public space for more than just cars. This is a community building experience that's really a lot of family fun," she said . "Our goal is to really start this up. We hope to do four to

six events in the following year. It's an international movement, and we're

excited that in the East Bay Oakland

will be the one with a Sunday Streets event. It's not going to be Berkeley.

It's going to be Oakland that's

going to be the first."

By press time the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coaltion's Rebecca Stievater hadn't been able to return a call to explain how this could have happened.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Authors

Matt Smith


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"