R E – I N V E N T West Oakland Walk
Urban Design “Greenway” Concept re-uniting
Central & West Oakland, CA
The West Oakland Walk is a concept to leverage existing central City assets into a “social circuit” for walking, biking, organic gardening, exercising, and meeting friends, all the activities that build sustainable communities. It developed from pro-bono work our firm performed for renovating the Raimondi Park Sports fields. The idea is to knit together the parks and public places of Central and West Oakland by improving a 4.5 mile loop of existing city streets into an urban greenway running East – West from Lake Merritt in the center of the City to Central Station at its western edge. Between these two points currently exist 23 parks (totaling 110 acres), the civic, commercial, and cultural downtown core of Oakland, 4 BART stops, and 7 freeway entrances and exits from the major regional arteries that run through Oakland and out to the broader Bay Area. It is an area that encompasses an extraordinary history of the City’s Parks, Places and People.
How can it be accomplished?
Few downtown cores are endowed with the particular combination of assets enjoyed by the City of Oakland, and fewer still have them arranged in patterns that can be so easily linked. The parks have been long established; the civic and institutional buildings have been serving the City for decades; the streets that connect these assets exist now. In other words, no significant capital investment or private property condemnation is required for this idea to take shape. The West Oakland Walk is a found design that will help transform the way people see and use Oakland. Along this pathway all the elements that make a city great are in place waiting to be laced together.
What are the benefits? With a simple geometric stroke the West Oakland Walk could:
• Re-unite West and Central Oakland through an urban design focused on walking, bicycling, playing, socializing and gardening.
• Reinforce community with a circulation event that celebrates the history and place of every neighborhood it passes through.
• Redefine Oakland to itself and to the world as a coherent network of Parks, Places and People.