The Peduto administration unveiled the city’s first EcoInnovation District plan Tuesday, focusing on the Uptown and West Oakland neighborhoods.
“We understand that there's going to be a lot of change it's going to be occurring very rapidly in this area, mainly through the development of the Bus Rapid Transit system that will go through that neighborhood,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “We also see the stresses that are happening as we're starting to see the Hill District develop and Oakland continuing to develop, and instead of having this neighborhood (Uptown) get squeezed.”
Peduto said officials started asking questions about how this plan could meet the needs of residents, expand job growth and be environmentally sustainable. Over the last two years, 700 people completed surveys, 550 attended public events and a community steering committee met 10 times.
"How does the community want to see it develop?" Peduto said. "What should be the factors that go into that? And then how can we do it in a way that really ups the environmental aspects of that development?”
According to Peduto, similar initiatives have helped transform communities across the country. He said the resulting plan addresses four areas: community, development, mobility and infrastructure.
The mayor said aspects of the EcoInnovation Plan will be incorporated into the building of the Bus Rapid Transit system from Oakland to Downtown, and the initial focus will be on what he calls “public realm” issues: streets, sidewalks, planting of trees and green solutions to problems such as combine sewer overflows.
“We've lost a lot of that perspective that this is a neighborhood and what the folks who live in these neighborhoods of West Oakland and Uptown want to see is the ability to get those public areas and to be able to make them more of a community," Peduto said.
City Planning Director Ray Gastil called West Oakland and Uptown “a great test bed” to build a vision for the future.
“The lessons we’re learning here in Uptown will inform the next generation of neighborhood plans throughout the city," Gastill said in a press release.
While the mayor said he would like to implement plans in the remaining 88 neighborhoods, the most likely next in line are Larimer and Garfield, “two areas where I expect that there will be continued investment," he said.
"We have a lot of land that is city owned in both of those neighborhoods where we can create really great models of green infrastructure that can be an enticement to people to want to live there,” Peduto said.