Rockridge Talking: Wish Lists & Ideas Shared at June Town Hall Meeting

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Oakland City Planning Director Rachel Flynn drew a huge crowd at the June RCPC Town Hall, where she provided a richly informative overview of Oakland's approach to urban planning, how Rockridge fits into that vision, and what kinds of things we can do to further enhance our neighborhood. RCPC board member Virginia Hamilton then led the 70-plus attendees in an exchange of ideas including expressions of local concerns as well as a wide range of possible solutions.

The ideas offered by community members at the June program added to the wealth of material produced by participants in the February 22 Town Hall, "Reducing Crime through Community Design," facilitated by RCPC board members Hamilton and Gabe Kleinman. That discussion addressed community concerns related to public safety, and elicited a number of solutions substantially similar to those heard on June 19.

RCPC will post the substance of these meetings at rockridge.org. Meanwhile, here is a sampling of what residents say they would like to see and experience:

Make Rockridge more pedestrian and bike friendly: level sidewalks; more visible crosswalks; better lighting; more trees; more places to sit; better garbage collection; more public art; fewer potholes; more bike lanes; a College Ave Shuttle from 51st to Alcatraz.

More actively promote and support local businesses: more local business advertising opportunities in The Rockridge News; crowd-source small business loans for neighborhood priorities and local businesses; improved use of digital tools for local promotion and public communication; more shared parking on weekends; public notice kiosks.

Do more to discourage crime: cameras at major gateways (reduce "get away" access to Hwy 24); reduce orphaned space around freeways; encourage residents to know immediate neighbors (soup nights, block parties, Neighborhood Watch, volunteer locally); emergency call boxes; and better use of street barriers/traffic circles.

Miscellaneous: • Develop a social media strategy that might include a Rockridge blog; smart phone app; City-issued email addresses; free wi-fi with community notices and broadcasts. • Collaborate with local churches and schools. • Improve management of homelessness. • Create a CA State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (AB 1999, Atkins).
• Create a Neighborhood Improvement District. On College Avenue: a hacker space; a start-up hub; community space for kids after school; community garden; bowling alley; more live music. Longer-term: fewer parking lots on College; more intensive use of the BART parking lot; and underground utility lines.

Email info@rockridge.org with your thoughts.