Support Latham Square

If you’ve been following this blog, you might have read the fantastic piece by our own Dave Campbell about Latham Square in Downtown Oakland. Basically, Telegraph and Broadway intersect at a sharp angle, and the City of Oakland is conducting a six-month pilot project to replace a few hundred feet of automobile lanes in the odd intersection with a bright and active public park. To be completed with large planters, trees, tables and chairs by August 15, this project will rival those in New York and San Francisco. See proposals for the final installation in Dave’s article, or this image of volunteers in progress below.

Volunteers painting Latham Square on Saturday, July 27.

Volunteers painting Latham Square on Saturday, July 27.

Awesome, right?

We think so. If you agree, and want to make sure this project gets to enjoy its full six-month pilot phase (you know, before someone complains about having to drive an extra block to a safer intersection), please take the time to express your support to the City of Oakland.

Suggested Contact Information

*Mayor Jean Quan – use her contact form

District 1 councilmember – Dan Kalb

District 2 councilmember – Pat Kernighan

*District 3 councilmember – Lynette McElhaney

District 4 councilmember – Libby Schaff

District 5 councilmember – Noel Gallo

District 6 councilmember – Desley Brooks

District 7 councilmember – Larry Reid

*City Councilmember at Large – Rebecca Kaplan

*Oakland Complete Streets Project Manager – Jaime Parks

Sample Email

Mayor / Councilmember / Mr. Parks,

I am writing to thank you for your support of Latham Square Plaza.

After following the discussion and designs for the plaza over the last few months, I was thrilled to see the work done last weekend by Rebar and the volunteers. There are two specific reasons I’m excited about this project.

First, it’s a huge step forward for Oakland in terms of creating safe and beautiful spaces for people. This ambitious project is of the type and scale you might see in New York or San Francisco. With all the negative attention around Uptown recently, it’s wonderful to see the city and its residents stand up for their right to live, work and play in a nice neighborhood. Oakland deserves nice public places like Latham Square.

Second, I strongly prefer this traffic configuration. I’ve driven, biked, and walked through that intersection for years, and it can be a bit scary all around. Driving or biking an extra block and making a more predictable turn is well worth the trade for this beautiful  public space.

I’m optimistic that Latham square will encourage people to explore and shop between Downtown and Uptown, while reducing the risk of traffic accidents. Before, it seemed like such a small, crowded, and dark piece of the city. But with the cars cleared away it feels so much bigger and inviting. Now, standing in the street you can see clear down Telegraph, through Oakland, past the Berkeley campus and into the hills. It’s a stunning view. I can’t wait to spend more time in it once it’s filled up with the tables, chairs, planters, and people.

In short, thank you for giving Oaklanders something positive to celebrate,

Your name