Friday, December 20, 2013
signs: Latham Square
This wonderful sign marks the surprisingly controversial Latham Square at Telegraph and 16th Street. For many years the intersection between Telegraph and Broadway was a mess. Telegraph comes in at an angle, and 15th Street doesn't quite line up. It's been the scene of many a near-miss, not just cars vs. pedestrians or bikes, but cars vs. cars, too. So Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, East Bay Bicycle Coalition and others lobbied to have it made into a pedestrian plaza. The decision was made to try a 6-month trial to see what all the effects were, but instead of 6 months, the city mysteriously cut the project off at 6 weeks, and changed the configuration to one-way south. There were complaints from some local businesses that business had dropped off, but it's impossible to tell if the closure had anything to do with it after only 6 weeks. Sole Space, Aardvark Engraving, and especially Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, I'm looking at you! Not all your customers drive. Many of them walk, bike or take transit, and it's absurd to try to blame a change in business on it after such a short pilot. As CM Rebecca Kaplan said, "I just want to say, on a process perspective, I think the City of Oakland owes every stakeholder involved a huge apology." Sigh.
Anyway, back to the sign. It's both old and new. It's made of old city of Oakland street signs (the ones without the oak tree), and includes a planter on top. The square is named for the Lathams. There's the Latham Fountain honoring them, and the historic Latham Square Building across from the Cathedral Building.
Posted by Gene Anderson at 6:50 PM