Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Renaming Oakland’s 19th Street BART Station Could Be Costly

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | 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.


Perfect! McElhaney proves beyond any doubt that she has joined fully the know-nothing, do-nothing City Council culture after less than a year in office.

Never mind that Oakland has some slightly-more-significant problems to deal with than a BART stop name-change. I'm pretty sure this isn't any sort of problem.

Some real problems for the out-of-touch, elitist McElhaney to think about (assuming she knows how to think at all): a major lack of economic development, amazingly poor support for poor families and the poor community generally, outstanding levels of murder and other violent crime, a truly constipated business-suppressing permitting system, not to mention many more like this.

"Spotlighting one of Oakland’s most vibrant neighborhoods all over the BART system could be a boon to the area’s business community."

Exactly how would this "boon" occur? Is your first name Daniel?

Jerry Brown was, at best, a mediocre mayor of Oakland, but at least he did something useful. He worked to build the residential population downtown and the result, in part, was economic growth in the uptown area.

McElhaney and the rest of Oakland's Council are much-less-than-mediocre pols. Mediocre pols would look at community-building and establishing conditions for economic development in East Oakland and other parts of this city which really need help.

Crime... not enough police to cover the city... but THIS is what the City Council focuses on? It's nothing more than an admission that they can't solve substantive issues so they'll look busy with trivial matters.

Last I checked, the City Council is still working on crime issues. For those of you who forgot / didn't pay attention or didn't have a Civics class in High School, our representative democracy consists of more than just a single issue government.
Did anyone notice that this item went to the Community & Economic Development Committee, not the Public Safety committee of the Council?

Yes, crime is a major problem in Oakland, but the management of a city of 400,000 people has to do more than just oversee the police department. I don't know if anyone commenting here lives in Oakland, but I do and live near Uptown. I can attest that the economic activity happening with new restaurants and businesses opening make the area much safer than it has been for years. Highlighting the Uptown district on BART maps and in-train announcements will give Oakland millions in "earned media" after the cost of new signs and maps are paid for. Of course, as noted in the article, BART has to change maps systemwide anyways to advertise the Oakland Airport Connector opening in 2014 at the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. No, I don't know what the new name for the Coliseum Station will be. I strongly support our Council doing what they can to advertise another positive aspect of Oakland. I hope those of you commenting are doing the same - not just telling the bad stories that happen daily in our community.

As for community building in East Oakland, that is a great point and some work is happening now. It is just not reported in the mainstream media. Oakland received almost $1 million from the State of California to conduct transit & economic development planning along International Blvd in conjunction with the planned Bus Rapid Transit corridor. See:
Yes, $1 million is a small drop in the bucket, but you have to start with a plan before you can attract private sector, foundation funds and government grants to build new facilities and improve the community.

And I agree Jerry Brown as Mayor did a decent job of changing the conversation about Oakland's development potential. Yet, he too was fixed on branding - hence his work with former SF Mayor Wille Brown to ensure the East Span had a signature tower. While we can debate if the delay and cost overruns were worth it, I think most will agree it is a signature structure that has already put a positive spotlight on the eastern side of the Bay.

I'm not sure what your solution is: have all of the Oakland City Council members be deputized and ride around in police cars?

First duty of government is providing safety for the citizenry. If this is neglected, all else is lost.

The Council and Mayor of Oakland have for too many years NOT overseen the police department. Thus low police morale; rapid police turnover; a decade of failure to meet ethical standards for policing; utter lack of police resources to investigate crimes, solve them and thus reduce crime overall; failure to institute real community policing; much much more.

$1 mil in funding to study transit and economic development in East Oakland is absolutely worthless, especially in the light of a complete lack of understanding of contemporary community-building and urban design principles among Oakland elected officials. The electeds know nothing and thus do nothing.

There are very many aspects of solving Oakland's many problems. Solutions begin with elected officials who admit to problems, develop and establish a vision for a better city and who start work on each one of the many paths towards a future. The fundamental problem with Oakland is a benighted, narcissistic city hall culture and a very poor quality of people holding, not to mention running for, elected office.

Bayside Dweller sounds like a troll for city hall. Most of us who are Oakland natives can smell this a mile away.

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