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More space on the sidewalk, thanks to Staff Assembly efforts

Did the sidewalk just get bigger?

Well, not exactly. But in case you haven’t noticed, the fence surrounding the vacant lot next to the Franklin building’s Broadway entrance has been moved back to the lot line.

The move has opened up about six feet of sidewalk space between the fence and the AC Transit bus shelter, making it much more comfortable for UCOP staff and others walking there. The project was one of several initiated by the OP Staff Assembly (OPSA) last year to make the empty lot at 12th and Broadway a little less obtrusive and unsightly.

It took nearly a year to make it happen but just half a day for Bailey Fence to actually move the fence, said Howard Fallon, principal analyst in Student Affairs and past OPSA member, who did the legwork on the project. He worked with UCOP’s Real Estate Services Group, the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown Oakland Associations and the City of Oakland Public Works Agency, as well as SKS Investments, owners of the lot.

“It’s the kind of thing you might not notice until you really stop to appreciate it,” said Ravinder Singh, research coordinator in Education Partnerships and former chair of OPSA and CUCSA, the Council of UC Staff Assemblies. “That part of the sidewalk is like our front door into the downtown area for those of us who use BART or go to Peet’s, Club One and the City Center shops.”

SKS Investments bought the lot in 2007 and is planning to build a 20-story, LEED Silver–certified office building there but has not yet found a major tenant. The design will incorporate the historic Key System Building at 1100 Broadway, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places but has been unoccupied since it sustained major damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Go to the SKS Investments website for more on their plan to develop the lot.

Comments ( 6 )

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  1. Cindy Barber August 14, 2012 Reply

    Thank you to all invovled in widening the sidewalk! It’s a huge improvement and much appreciated.

  2. Emily Montan August 14, 2012 Reply

    Thank you Howard for your efforts. Had I known about the extra space, I would have gone to the Oakland City Council to take action (as a citizen of course!). It had been that way for so long that I forgot we had that extra space. Good work!

  3. Gemma Rieser August 14, 2012 Reply

    Howard, can’t tell you what a difference it’s made – thanks for all your hard work. Gemma

  4. Jean August 14, 2012 Reply

    A “BIG” thanks to Howard for his efforts!! We no longer have to shove our way thru just to get to the corner. It no longer feels like a dark alley.

  5. Cheryl Bennett August 21, 2012 Reply

    Thank you Howard and congratulations to everyone involved. What a huge improvement!!

  6. Larissa Branin August 21, 2012 Reply

    I did notice it, but had no idea that we were behind the improvement. Four years ago, I had an uncomfortable experience in that very spot, so I really appreciate the extra space. Thank you!

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