Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beautiful Lake Merritt II

Yesterday's walk around the lake gave me the opportunity to shoot another panorama of our local jewel. This one is a bit wider, going from shore to shore in 6 pictures.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

signs: Children's Fairyland

Children's Fairyland

This special Saturday edition of Our Oakland signs is brought to you by the beautiful weather which inspired K and I to take a walk around Lake Merritt. We took a short detour and had lunch at Farley's East on Grand (which was great; haven't tried the coffee yet, but the food and service were very good), but there were hundreds of people out enjoying the lovely day and walking, running, riding or paddling around the lake. And no small number of dogs with them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

take action on the Oakland Airport Connector

As I blogged about last week, the FTA is withholding funds from BART's boondoggle project otherwise known as the Oakland Airport Connector. This is because "BART failed to conduct an equity analysis for service and fare changes for the Project." They have until March 5th to try to complete a study, and if they don't or it doesn't meet with the FTA's approval, $70 million in ARRA funds will be distributed to another region.

The FTA's letter (PDF file) encourages the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to reallocate the funds to other transit here in the Bay Area, noting it is unlikely BART will be able to meet the deadline. This money could help BART, AC Transit and other transit agencies avoid service cuts and fare increases by giving money for needed maintenance.

(If you haven't been following the story, BART is not proposing an extension to Oakland Airport like the one to SFO. What they're proposing is a $492 million people mover, that will move slower than traffic for much of the journey. For comparison, the new station in Dublin is being built for about $80-$90 million. So for much less money, BART could build a new station at 98th Ave. and implement a bus rapid transit system (BRT), thereby improving service for airport riders and local residents.)

What you can do: On Wednesday, January 27th, the MTC will decide whether to gamble on a half-billion dollar airport tram for the elite by continuing to pursue funding for the project, thus risking the loss of $70 million in desperately needed stimulus funds or they can act in the interest of Bay Area Commuters and low-income families and moving the funds to save jobs and transit service for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents.

Attend the Rally for Justice and Jobs on Wednesday and tell MTC to stand up for commuters, low-income families and Bay Area jobs by putting $70 million to Bay Area Transit, not a rinky-dink people mover to the airport that will cost nearly 1/2 billion dollars total.

Rally for Justice and Jobs Info:
Wednesday, January 27
MTC Headquarters
101 Eighth Street, Oakland

If you can't attend:

Send a letter to MTC telling them not to risk $70 million in jobs creating stimulus funds on a risky OAC project that has been found out of compliance by the FTA. Tell commissioners to save jobs and transit now, by sending an email here (If it's possible, please write your own message, it makes a bigger impact. It can be as short as one or two sentences!):

More reading:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beautiful Lake Merritt

On my way home from downtown today I rode past the lake, and it was gorgeous. The air was clear after the rain, the sun was shining, people were out running, riding and walking around the lake, and Lake Merritt shone like the jewel it is.

This image is stitched together from 4 images I shot consecutively. The software did some funny things with the windows in one building, but overall the result is pretty. Click on the image to see it larger.

Friday, January 22, 2010

signs: Hi Hat Cleaners

Hi Hat Cleaners

In the Dimond on MacArthur is this great sign for Hi Hat Cleaners. Thanks to dc at Fragmentary Evidence for the reminder about it. I took this shot today during a break in the rain.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

signs: Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital

The neon is in terrible shape, and the sign starting to rust, but the sign for Children's Hospital is a classic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FTA says no to funds for Oakland Airport Connector

I'm delighted to write that the FTA has said no to funds for BART's proposed Oakland Airport Connector because "BART failed to conduct an equity analysis for service and fare changes for the Project." TransForm, Public Advocates, Urban Habitat, and Genesis filed the initial Title VI civil rights complaint that led to this. According to a comment by Wynn at Living in the O,
Not only did BART and MTC fail to make sure the required analysis was done, but they falsely certified to the feds and the state that it WAS done.
So the good news is that BART is unlikely to get federal funds to sink into the boondoggle. The bad news is that if they fart around, some of those funds could be lost to Bay Area transit. You can help by encouraging the MTC to reallocate the $70 million in ARRA funds to Bay Area transit at large. That will be a big step in avoiding service cuts and fare increases by BART, AC Transit, and other agencies. Go to TransForm's website to send a note to the MTC, and encourage others to do so, too.

More reading:

signs: Used Cars

Used Cars

On Broadway in the middle of the remains of Auto Row is this used cars sign. I took this picture some time back, but just went past it again today on my way back from the Habitat for Humanity office, reminding me I ought to post it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

signs: Hooper's Chocolates

Hooper's Chocolates

Hooper's Chocolates in the Temescal isn't an easy place to miss. Besides the giant lamp on the sign, the Cape Cod-style building is pink. I lived and worked in Berkeley for a number of years, so I saw my share of pink (and purple and orange) houses, but pink Cape Cods, not so many.

Hooper's Chocolates

Monday, January 18, 2010

signs: Drafting Furniture

Drafting Furniture

Iforget the name of the art supply store that was here, but its great sign lives on.

Friday, January 15, 2010

signs: Foothill Liquors

Foothill Liquors

Today I took a different route coming home from Larm's (to look at pavers for the front walk) and came across this gem of a sign. The neon is in good shape, so it might work. Without my Google map of Oakland signs, I doubt I'd find it again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche

While working on an Oakland map project, I noticed a neighborhood named Ralph Bunche between the Prescott and I-980. I wasn't familiar with the name, so I Googled and found this about Ralph Bunche on Wikipedia. He was a diplomat and political scientist, and the first person of color to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. What I haven't been able to find is if there was any Oakland connection to Ralph Bunche, or if the neighborhood was just one of the many things named to honor him. Anybody out there know?

signs: Temple Tattoo

Temple Tattoo

On 17th Street in the area of shops vandalized in the wake of the Oscar Grant shooting is Temple Tattoo with its nice multi-color neon sign.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Greetings from Oakland

Oakland postcard

Sometime back I bought some vintage postcards of Oakland. They're a familiar format, with 'greetings from', and the letters of 'Oakland' filled with images from Oakland, of course.

I love them for their vintage-y goodness, but honestly, Curt Teich & Co., Inc, could have done better picking images for inside the letters. It has:
O - Alameda County Courthouse
A - City Hall
K - Lake Merritt
L - San Francisco Bay Bridge
A - Posey Tube
N - Municipal Auditorium (aka the Kaiser Convention Center)
D - Wild Ducks on Lake Merritt

(Searching on Oakland Municipal Auditorium to confirm that it was the Kaiser Convention Center lead to this interesting picture, showing the building being used as a hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic.)

So my question, dear readers, is what would you include for the 7 images for Oakland if you were creating this today? My partial list is:
  • Lake Merritt
  • Tribune Tower
  • Redwood Regional Park
But what else would you include?

Friday, January 1, 2010

signs: Shoe Renewing

Shoe Renewing

Out with the old year, in with the new. Here's hoping that 2010 will be a year of continued renewal and growth for Oakland. Chip Johnson suggests it needs to start with new leadership, and I have to agree. Another major problem has been the economy and the effect it's had on the budget, something that Make Oakland Better Now is addressing. But despite the leadership and the wretched economy, there's been lots of good stuff happening in Oakland, so here's hoping that continues in 2010 and beyond.