While plans for a 417-unit development to rise up to 8 stories in height on the vacant 3-acre Caltrans lot bounded by Kirkham, 7th, Union and 5th Streets, a block from the West Oakland BART station and across from The Crucible, were approved back in 2016, the ground was never broken.

And with Panoramic Interests now leading the charge, plans for over 1,000 units to rise up to 23 stories and 233 feet in height upon the 500 Kirkham Street site have been drawn and will be presented to Oakland’s Design Review Committee on Wednesday.

Designed by Lowney Architecture and dubbed “The Hub,” the new plans now include a total of 1,032 residential units, the vast majority of which (758) would be two-bedrooms averaging 514 square feet apiece, along with one (1) studio unit, eight-seven (87) one-bedrooms, one hundred (100) three-bedrooms, sixty-four (64) four-bedrooms and twenty-two (22) ten-bedroom “rooming house” units.

The development includes over 44,000 square feet of ground floor retail, restaurant and “flex space” fronting 7th and 5th Streets as well as along two new pedestrian alleys between the development’s three buildings which would be built in two phases, with the 23-story tower at 7th and Union following on the heels of the eight (8) and nine (9) story mid-rise buildings to the west.

And as envisioned, the project would include a total of eight (8) off-street parking spaces under the elevated BART tracks which run over the southwest corner of the project site, which could be a problem.

From Oakland’s Planning Department:

“The project proposal does not provide adequate off-street parking and the application has yet to demonstrate analysis that justifies that additional parking can’t be accommodated in the [development].

Staff is concerned that: (1) what little parking is provided is visually prominent; and that (2) with no on-site parking for over 1,000 residential units, even minimal parking demand for the project would negatively affect public parking and circulation in the surrounding area.”

In addition, keep in mind that the 500 Kirkham Street parcel is only zoned for development up to 160 feet in height and a maximum density of 611 residential units.

While the approval of a Planned Unit Development and Density Bonus would allow for the additional 421 units and pave the way for the additional height as a concession for the added density, the plans as drawn would require three additional concessions from the City’s Planning Code (for the reduced parking, only providing one ninth the required open space, and the building mass along 7th Street), which is two more than provisionally allowed and would require a couple of variances that Oakland’s Planning Department “may not be able to support.”

And while Oakland’s Planning Department has been working with the project team to reduce the proposed development’s “monotonous and bulky massing,” department staff “remains concerned that the buildings are not sited to provide an inviting site plan with a rich public-private interface, and that the buildings are not yet elegant and attractive.” We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Pierre Johnson

    Just based on the numbers, this is surely the best project in the entire Bay Area. If they did 3-4 of those towers, they could surely push the unit count up to 2000+ and there’s no way that wouldn’t pencil. The city of Oakland should ignore (and possibly discipline) the “planners” who are demanding more parking.

    • Posted by Oaklandlover

      I agree! Add a couple pocket parks, maybe 1 floor of parking and get this thing going! Less cars!

    • Posted by Dubs

      Nah, you can make an arguement that Oakland requires too much parking, but there’s virtually nothing walkable from that location, expecting only 1 out of every 100 residences to have cars is absurd, given that area is the major parking hub for people off BART lines. You’ll be pushing all those cars over to the ACORN areas and taking over every parking spot within a square mile, which as planning said would negatively impact flow in the area. You can’t have many restaraunts/shopping if every parking spot is already taken.

      That said, the mass/height thing is dumb, the height is fine, 24 stories should be the minimum.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        In terms of parking ratios, keep in mind that the development as proposed would likely house over 2,000 residents. And the aforementioned eight (8) parking spaces aren’t for said residents but rather the commercial tenants.

      • Posted by Pero

        Dubs, did you every consider the possibility that the car-owning residents of this project will need night-time parking 6pm to 7am and the commuters parking at West Oakland BART will need daytime parking from 7am to 6pm?

        • Posted by Dubs

          Nah, that’s not really how parking works. Even people with cars who say work in the city and don’t drive there everyday need a parking spot. There’s a lot of data out there from planning research that says cars in cities move 60% of the day, so 40% of the cars that are owned would not move.

          • Posted by Pero

            This might be the case for people in suburbs that own a house with a 2 car garage where even a stay-at-home spouse needs a car for grocery runs etc. How many people in SOMA condos own cars? Further, you can adjust the pricing and/or regulation in order to prevent 24h parking at BART stops.

          • Posted by Dubs

            The study is done on urban areas, not suburban for one. And trying to equate SOMA with West Oakland is a laughable equation.

            I get that you are anti-car, that’s fine. But realistically this project won’t get done with no parking, so it doesn’t matter.

          • Posted by Pero

            Two points:
            1) Even urban areas in the US consist largely of single family homes.
            2) I’m not per se anti-car, I just believe that this location has very unique characteristics when it comes to public transportation and the types of people wanting to live here will be the no-car types.

          • Posted by Jk

            I’m sure there will be Zipcar in the building. I live in a highrise with “no” parking. “No” because it’s $450 a month. Zipcar, Uber eats and Amazon prime now solve most of the needs of having a car.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Other than the aforementioned 8 spaces under the BART tacks, which are intended to support the commercial/retail tenants, the development as proposed includes no other off-street parking spaces, loading zones or garage.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Keep in mind that the Planning Department’s concerns with respect to the proposed development’s parking, open space, height and mass aren’t subjective but based on the City’s Planning Code and laws.

      • Posted by Kraus

        And fortunately the State’s Density Bonus Law will override the City’s antiquated laws.

    • Posted by Kraus

      Agreed. This is an excellent transit-first project. Ideally located directly adjacent to a BART station, numerous bus lines and within walking distance of downtown Oakland and 10 minutes from downtown SF.

      This car-free project is exactly the type of affordable-by-design housing that should be vigorously supported by all jurisdictions.

      • Posted by Cynthia

        Affordable to whom? Certainly not the historic population of West Oakland.

        • Posted by E.Gonsalves

          Which period of West Oakland history are you referring to?

          • Posted by Cynthia

            Uh, all of it: “Typical household size is 2.9 persons. 2011 Median Income for a household of 4 persons in West Oakland was about $27,055, compared to $83,050 for the City of Oakland for the same size household.”

        • Posted by Kraus

          Everybody that is living (indoors) in West Oakland can, by definition, afford to live in West Oakland. This housing is for those that currently do not live in West Oakland, but would like to live there.

          • Posted by Cynthia

            “This housing is for those that currently do not live in West Oakland, but would like to live there.”

            And that’s an open admission of gentrification if I ever heard one. Belongs on a campaign mailer too.

      • Posted by Cynthia

        Also, the reason why developers are skimping on parking isn’t out of a magnanimous concern for the planet; it’s because parking spaces cost between $20 and $40K, each, to develop.

        And developers want to build near transit not out of a concern for the planet, but because urban infill neighborhoods are more profitable.

        • Posted by Kraus

          We don’t need anymore “housing for cars” — we need housing for people.

          “And developers want to build near transit not out of concern for the planet, but because urban infill neighborhoods are more profitable.”

          Those two objectives are not mutually exclusive.

          Building “urban infill” — especially directly adjacent to a major public transportation system — is both good for the planet and a good investment since that where many people would like to live.

          • Posted by Cynthia

            “Building “urban infill” — especially directly adjacent to a major public transportation system — is …good for the planet”

            Except it isn’t, because what actually happens (look at Portland and L.A. for two examples) is that the new housing is unaffordable to people who actually use public transit.

            When the AMI of the Mission — you know, the Mission, one of the most transit-rich and walkable neighborhoods in the country — soared, so did its car ownership.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            The Mission always had a lot of cars, a culture of car owhership. Do you have any statistics to display that its ratio of car ownership went up after the (only partially installed) Eastern Neighborhoods plan?

          • Posted by Kraus

            Housing is expensive because people like you, i.e.NIMBYs., have been fighting it’s creation for over 4 decades; thus creating a chronic shortage and skyrocketing costs.

          • Posted by E.Gonsalves

            Owning a car is a $9,000 per year expense on average. People without cars have far more money to pay for housing. Owning a car is an $800 per month extra expenditure. That’s a lot of BART and Uber rides.

        • Posted by Kraus

          “And that’s an open admission of gentrification if I ever heard one. Belongs on a campaign mailer too.”

          Cynthia, are you living in the exact same location where you were born and where you grew up? If not, that’s an open admission of hypocrisy if I ever heard one. Belongs posted on your front door too.

  2. Posted by Pero

    Great project at a great location. I hope the city council recognizes the unique characteristics of this project when it comes to parking: BART gets you in 7min to SF downtown and in 3min to Oakland City Center. You can easily BART to Berkeley, or down the East Bay for work (or pleasure). Therefore, the people choosing a condo in this location will be the ones who want a life without a car. This is why limited parking is justified in this spot.

  3. Posted by jwb

    I appreciate a nice, maxed-out development as much as anyone but I find it sad that projects like this one lack any open space at all. Without open space this is just dehumanized drone storage. There has to be some place for people to gather and for children to play. This development at Union City BART hits the right balance, in my opinion.

    • Posted by Dubs

      Yeah i wish they used the roofs for this more often. I know they have solar panels up there, but seems like open spaced on roofs would be a great use of space

    • Posted by Occupied in Oakland

      We have to do everything we can to end urban automobile dependency. Nearly every study covering urban mobility and climate change in the last twenty years says just this. Sad to see some pretty uninformed replies about nothing being nearby now, wanting a Union City style development, etc. First, you can do a lot in the neighborhood now and can be in Downtown Oakland, Rockridge or Downtown SF in minutes thanks to every single BART line stopping a block away. Everything the neighborhood lacks… major grocery store (one is in the works), dry cleaners, bourgie bars/dining will come w/ 2000+ new residents. Need a park? There are a dozen within a 20 minute walk… or take BART to Lake Merritt! We cannot enable automobile dependency near West Oakland BART -house more people, not more cars!

      • Posted by jwb

        I’m not advocating for more parking, I’m advocating for more space. Walking to West Oakland BART, waiting up to 20 minutes for a Dublin/Pleasanton train (because it’s Sunday), getting off at Lake Merritt station which is not at Lake Merritt and then walking to the actual Lake Merritt, with your toddler, is not a good existence. There should be little squares and plazas all over the place, not up to an hour and a BART ride away.

        • Posted by E.Gonsalves

          JWB, the Lake Merritt BART station is very close to Lake Merritt. The 19th Street station is also close to Lake Merritt.

          • Posted by Brian M

            Not by foot.

          • Posted by E.Gonsalves

            Less than .3 miles from LM BART to Lake Merritt. Walk 2 blocks on Oak Street, turn right on 10th and walk between the Oakland Museum and the Henry J Kaiser Auditorium. We are talking 5 minute walk to the shores of Lake Merritt from Lake Merritt BART.

          • Posted by Notcom

            The point pertained to family visitation (“…with your toddler”). I think 5′ for one third of a mile for a toddler is unreasonable. indeed one-third of a mile might be too ambitious for a toddle, period.

          • Posted by jwb

            Not that I expect this to remain forever, but between HJK and OMCA is currently a major encampment of the homeless, not the kind of place I want to go on my way to the nearest patch of grass.

          • Posted by E.Gonsalves

            The homeless encampment is on the other side of the Kaiser Auditorium right next to the Channel. You can walk right next to OAMC and right to the amphitheater at Lake Merritt. No need to walk next to the homeless encampment.

        • Posted by joe

          Word. I’m a huge transit booster, but BART is a terrible service on weekends. For a housing project to rely on BART as its portal to the world, weekend service has to be completely reformed first.

          • Posted by curmudgeon

            Yes, plus late night service. One of the hindrances for West Oakland BART or BART in Oakland generally is that lack of weekend and late night service isolates folks from San Francisco. I’m convinced that Oakland housing would boom (even more) if connections to SF were really seamless….and West Oakland most of all naturally.

          • Posted by 89centeggs

            BART runs 12 trains per hour to SF from West Oakland on Saturdays and 6 on Sundays. That’s not terrible service. West Oakland has several bus lines and a bikeshare station too.

          • Posted by curmudgeon

            Okay, weekend point taken (I should’ve checked schedules) but late night is a problem that probably won’t be resolved until there’s a second tube, unfortunately.

        • Posted by 89centeggs

          Good thing there’s a playground a 5 minute walk away at 3rd and Center and another one a 7 minute walk away at 12th and Union. A lot of the existing outdoor and green spaces in West Oakland are underutilized (and under-maintained) and would benefit from more nearby residents using them and caring about them.

          • Posted by E.Gonsalves

            Great post. I agree. There are parks in West Oakland. The question for decades has been maintenance and safety.

          • Posted by Dubs

            That’s literally full of homeless people. It’s not a family oriented green space. unless you want to advocate driving them out.

        • Posted by EBGuy

          Port of Oakland parks had some nice play structures back in the day (several years ago, when new). They’re just a short bike ride away (not sure how well they’ve aged).

          • Posted by jwb

            That’s a two-mile walk from this site, and through some of the worst urban-industrial blocks you can imagine.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          The British have an awesome invention called a “push chair” that allows families to bring their toddlers along on long walks.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        Oakland’s Municipal Code allows a planned unit development in a “Transit Accessible Area,” a designation which applies to the 500 Kirkham Street site, to reduced its required number of parking spaces by 30 percent.

        And with a 30 percent reduction, the City’s Planning Code would still require a total of 361 parking spaces as opposed to a total of 8 spaces for the development’s 44,000 square feet of retail and flex space and zero (0) for its residents as proposed.

      • Posted by chris

        that is very wishful thinking. i live in west oakland and i have to take the car pretty much any time i go anywhere because nothing is remotely walkable and if im shopping and will have multiple bags to carry, forget about bart, my arms will break off.

        if you lived in downtown SF, sure, a car is more a burden then a requirement, but honestly i wouldn’t recommend walking around my neighborhood after dark and i’d much prefer the safety of the car to get home. that said, my building has a garage with enough enclosed parking for all residents, so it doesn’t take street spots from the rest of the area.

        i’d much prefer all of oakland to be as you described it, as dense with walkable commercial development (bars, restaurants, stores, etc) as say, rockridge, or piedmont, but it has a very long way to go to get there and in the mean time, people on the west side will probably still need cars.

        • Posted by Tia B Good

          And I live in West Oakland and do not have a car.

          I have no issue taking a backpack and cloth bags for my grocery shopping (and if a big shop – which is once a month or less I take a lyft home). And for things I “do” Bart and bicycle have been sufficient.

          As for walking around at night: as more people move in, there will be less concern about walking at night. Though I do it all the time – staying alert has done me well.

      • Posted by E.Gonsalves

        Great post. You hit the nail on the head. This is a public transit dream for people who would love to take BART everywhere. You can take BART to beautiful Lake Merritt for recreation. You can stroll beautiful College Avenue in Oakland with a stop at the Rockridge BART station. You can take BART to 19th Street in Uptown Oakland for all the great pubs, clubs and restaurants in Uptown. You can take BART to work to the shinny City Center office buildings or to the Lake Merritt Financial District. You can go shopping in Union Square or Walnut Creek. You can go to Oakland International or SFO without a car. This could be a great project. Just add more nearby green space for the residents and this would be a great location to live.

        • Posted by Justin

          This project is a [dud]. 2bd units that are smaller than an average studio? The lack of parking for so many units is really negligent. All the street parking is needed by Bart riders anyway. E. Gonsalves has such a sunny take its a little too bright for my taste.

          • Posted by Kraus

            Oh my gosh! Someone figured out a more spatial efficient design than “the average”.

            I can only imagine the horror you are feeling being subjected to innovated ideas that aren’t beholden to conventional thinking.

            It must be very threatening to your cynical mindset.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The project as proposed incorporates 22,000 square feet of open space versus 206,000 square feet as principally required by the City’s Planning Code.

  4. Posted by Bobby Mucho

    Can we not, with the blue? It looks like its sponsored by BART.

    I’d be keen to appreciate a more dynamic massing, esp with the 3 identical mid-rise structures that look more like a confused podium for the adjacent tower. Overall I think it’s passable but needs to try a little harder, esp as a probable precendent for the surrounding blocks in coming years.

  5. Posted by JIPB

    The parking would be a disaster for the neighborhood. Yes, the site is near an already crowded BART station (try to get on a train at West Oakland between 7:00 – 9:00 AM), but other than that there is not much in terms of public transportation or amenities such as health clubs, food or other shopping. And the traffic flow is crappy already. Reliance on public transport is a great idea for people in other people’s neighborhoods.

    • Posted by Zig

      Unfortunately with BARTs fare structure it is expensive to hop on and off of BART

      These sorts of developments should include a monthly pass for all residents to ride BART and AC transit unlimited around the East Bay like a Muni pass

    • Posted by Dustin Hoffman

      There is likely soon going to be a health club 10 minutes North at Grant and Mandala Park.

      Touchstone climbing gyms have a public notice up for additional parking for a new gym they’re planning to build in the American Steel Pipeworks Building.

  6. Posted by SFRealist

    Two bedroom units mean families (which is great!). But families need to drive to the store, to football practice for the kids, to doctors appointments. I could go on. Especially as there isn’t much around here. They don’t need two cars per unit, but it’s unrealistic not to acknowledge that families will have a car.

    • Posted by Dustin Hoffman

      Two bedrooms doesn’t mean families, it can also mean roommates?

      The organic food store across the street is about to expand into where the old dollar store was.

    • Posted by Zig

      If there was little parking the carless, family or otherwise, would self select

      Seems people can figure this out

      • Posted by Cynthia

        Except that they don’t. Ever.

        • Posted by Zig

          If street parking is possible some will use so I guess conflict with existing neighbors is possible but otherwise if someone is dumb enough to buy a unit but not consider where to park their car all day their problem

          • Posted by Cynthia

            Except it isn’t their problem. It becomes their neighbors’ problem.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Factually speaking, the families that live here would have a car. The (predictable) problem comes when they look for a place to park in the neighborhood. That’s bad news for the people who already live there, and that neighborhood doesn’t need any additional bad news.

        • Posted by Zig

          Likely some will but I assume many buying a unit on top of a BART station one stop outside of SF would not because of self selection

          Assuming you reduce the number of possible units and increase the cost of each by including bundled parking, factually speaking, what is the proper ratio here?

          • Posted by SFRealist

            I’d say one spot per 2 bedroom.

    • Posted by JWS

      Not at 517 square feet for those two bedrooms!

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        Exactly. It was all I could do not to stop reading when I read 517 square feet for two bedrooms. Are those bedrooms even large enough to contain a bed? I’m really having trouble imagining livable 2BR units which are that small.

        • Posted by Notcom

          You can check out the floorplans in the link below; basically it’s achieved by using the central – “living room” – space as an access point to all the subsidiary rooms (beds, bath), so you’re gaining the space normally given over to a hall, but giving up the privacy that normally affords.

      • Posted by Jax

        These are being built as “Micro” units, so sq footage is less and the price point s/b cheaper than your conventional units.

    • Posted by busrider

      Clearly some families will have a car. But this is by no means required for a family. Many families (our included) do not “need to drive to the store, to football practice for the kids, to doctors appointments.”

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Right. Not every single family. But most will. And their cars will flood the neighborhood, screwing the neighbors.

        • Posted by busrider

          The Bay Area is confronted with huge challenges, including having too little housing for an ever-growing population and impending climate change, with possibly harrowing effects. Mandating parking is a significant part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.

          I’d argue that cars flooding a neighborhood as the result of a bold project that severely departs from the status quo is a small price to pay – if this same project helps ameliorate some of our most pressing problems.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Or, you could build the project with parking, which would eliminate that significant cost that the neighbors would have to bear.

  7. Posted by Notcom

    “the plans as drawn would require three additional concessions from the City’s Planning Code”

    So what might be seen as a variant of the Uber maxim (“ask forgiveness, not permission”) has now seemingly spread to the fair Eastern Shore, tho to be fair the M.O. might be better described as “demand permission” and bring forth the minions in support (the call for “discipline” of Planners for actually doing their jobs – OMG!! – was particularly rich)

    That having been said, I don’t find the project bad, absent those pointless palms, of course. Not brilliant, and not particularly evocative of West Oakland – or even Oakland at all – but not terrible either.

  8. Posted by 89centeggs

    If you build 1,000 homes next to West Oakland BART and you don’t include any parking, you’re going to attract a lot of people that don’t have cars. And if the lack of parking makes the development less desirable, then good, rents will be cheaper for people that can get by without a car. This entire development is a massive experiment in affordable by design housing in an efficient location. It’s a fantastic project and could help us finally redefine expectations for land use around BART stations.

    Some have mentioned that there’s not a huge amount of retail in the immediate area today. That’s true, but this development alone could provide the needed density to expand local retail options and services. Even without more retail, almost anything that anyone needs to do can be done by walking, biking, taking a bus, riding BART, or getting an Uber/Lyft from this location.

    • Posted by oakland lover

      you are correct 89centeggs. Im no personally huge fan of West Oak, but I have walked from downtown to west oakland via 12th st. its not too bad a walk. If they ever tore the 980 down as rumored, it would be amazing, but its not too bad now. Meaning you can walk to the restuarants downtown with not much hassle, and even to the lake. Its really not that far

      • Posted by Turin

        You’re right. It’s about a 1 mile, 20 minute walk from this location to the heart of Old Oakland. Mentally, it seems like a long distance, but it’s really not.

  9. Posted by JWS

    Love this project on principle but two bedrooms at 517 square feet?? How??

  10. Posted by Fishchum

    2 BDR units averaging 514 square feet? I’ve seen studios that size.

    • Posted by Notcom

      The company – and they’ve done quite a lot around the area, tho not quite of this scale – specializes in “micro…efficiency”. So you might find it illuminating – or horrifying, maybe – to check out the brochure.

      • Posted by Kraus

        And if you are “horrified” by it, then by all means do not choose to live there.

  11. Posted by MKP

    8 spaces is laughable. this project should certainly have *reduced* parking, but not *no* parking. as a west oakland resident, I still need and use my car fairly often.

    that said: please build NOW. this project has the potential to totally transform the neighborhood. it would provide the spark needed for more development, restaurants, cafes, and all the other trappings of urban life.

    if things keep going the way they are going, west oakland could really “make it” and change forever.

    • Posted by JWS

      I am rooting for Oakland. First, they seem to have taken a pro-growth stance, at least compared to the other big players in the region. Second, the transit is great. Third, the projects have mostly been in the core and displacing nobody. Fourth, they have space for days.

      Hope these can all (a) get financing and (b) get started before the downtown. I know tons of people for whom a good new unit on BART would be way preferable than an in-law in the Outer Sunset.

      • Posted by Cynthia

        Evictions have soared in Oakland since it began adopting its “pro-growth” stance.
        Oakland has lost black residents, and poor residents. Its median home price has soared.

        Those are good things?

        • Posted by E.Gonsalves

          The Oakland economy is booming and unemployment is at a historic low of 4%. Violent crime is also at a 17 year low. The 72 homicides last year were the second lowest number since records have been kept. These are all great things.

        • Posted by JWS

          Median home prices have soared across the entire region. We have no homes. At least Oakland is doing its share of building them.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          San Francisco has been anti growth for 40 years. It has lost black residents and poor residents and has seen its median home price soar.

          These things aren’t happening because Oakland adopted pro growth policies.

  12. Posted by anon2.5

    The people calling for more parking are ignoring the game changer that is Uber/Lyft. You can live at this location without a car. It’s super easy. There are all these antiquated notions of requiring grocery stores nearby, etc. that are just not applicable to the younger demographics who will choose to live here. Hardly anyone I know goes to a grocery store on a regular basis. Google Shopping/Instacart/Amazon Fresh is so easy, time and cost effective, that it makes no sense. You don’t even need late night service on Bart. Most people who will be able to afford these units won’t think twice about taking an uber after a night out on town (whether in Oakland or in SF).

    Yes, it will be a parking ****show on the streets, but that will be true no matter what. Even if you had 1:1 parking, it will be a ****show because of guests visiting folks who live there. But so what? Let the demand work itself out and normalize. The people who can’t live without parking will find a way. I would bet that most people will figure out a way to live without a car.

    • Posted by anon2.5

      Also, I haven’t checked recently, but I believe BART doesn’t enforce 24 hour parking on weekends? There are a 150 spots at West oakland bart.

    • Posted by Cynthia

      “One promise of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft was fewer cars clogging city streets. But studies suggest the opposite: that ride-hailing companies are pulling riders off buses, subways, bicycles and their own feet and putting them in cars instead.

      And in what could be a new wrinkle, a service by Uber called Express Pool now is seen as directly competing with mass transit.

      Uber and Lyft argue that in Boston, for instance, they complement public transit by connecting riders to hubs like Logan Airport and South Station. But they have not released their own specific data about rides, leaving studies up to outside researchers.

      And the impact of all those cars is becoming clear, said Christo Wilson, a professor of computer science at Boston’s Northeastern University, who has looked at Uber’s practice of surge pricing during heavy volume.

      ‘The emerging consensus is that ride-sharing (is) increasing congestion,’ Wilson said”

      • Posted by RichardC

        Uber/Lyft aren’t solving congestion, but they do make it easier than ever to live in an urban location without owning a car (and needing parking for it). Still the best way to encourage non-auto ways to get around is to put dense housing and jobs in locations near transit, so a block from the West Oakland BART is perfect.

      • Posted by anon2.5

        Apples and oranges. I am commenting on the impact of rideshare on parking, not on traffic generally. I don’t dispute the findings re traffic.

      • Posted by E.Gonsalves

        The future is autonomous vehicles. No one will need to own their own hunk of steel that remains parked 90% of the time. There will be no drivers and fewer cars on the roads in the future. Autonomous vehicles can be utilized 100% of the time. If owning a car in this project is a huge hassle because of no parking people who want to own cars won’t live here. Simple as that. People who don’t want to own cars will live here.

        • Posted by Anon123

          “There will be no drivers and fewer cars on the roads in the future.”

          See the SS numbers for car ownership. Even if people give up car ownership it does not translate into fewer vehicles on the road – so far ride hailing services create more travel by individual vehicles beating out buses, bikes and walking 🙁

          • Posted by E.Gonsalves

            Fewer parked vehicles. Efficient computerized autonomous vehicles will take vehicles off the road. An autonomous vehicle can be routed in an efficient and logical manner 24 hours a day.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            E.Gonsalves, please come out and post your prediction of the year and quarter when “Efficient computerized autonomous vehicles” will become prevalent enough to “take vehicles off the road”.

            There are those of us who don’t think that’s going to happen quite as quickly as the techno triumphalist utopians would have you believe. Tesla’s technology is still killing people and it supposedly requires the driver to stay awake and keep their hands ready to take over the wheel.

            Given the uncertainty involved, it would make sense to us to not build housing projects that just assume the all-singing, all-dancing marketplace will produce a solution just in time for a forseeable, avoidable problem.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            Also, I’d encourage all those skeptical of the techno triumphalist notion that Autonomous vehicles are the be-all, end-all silver bullet for urban planning to check out Allison Arieff’s piece in the New York Times earlier this week: Automated Vehicles Can’t Save Cities.

  13. Posted by army of love

    I generally like the project, and the lack of parking is bold. It would be great if another form of mobility incentive could be included though, i.e. some number of car share spaces seems like a smart idea, as well as investments in the pedestrian and bike networks. As we move from parking we should be pushing for broad investments in other forms of mobility. Does anyone know if such things are included?

    I also think that the open space concept as shown is pretty weak. The development simply lacks generosity. As an anchor to the new transit, pedestrian oriented vision for West Oakland, this is something that though intangible, will pay back strong dividends if the the architect and developer invest more in making this a place people want to be.

  14. Posted by Realtalk

    The parking and this project as proposed are a disaster.

    I get that many new and expect to be residents want high towers of masses of people just so they can see water but in reality, the city should ensure that parking is captured and that there aren’t units that price out the general population. By this I mean it’s meaningless to build 3 “towers” if you’re gentrifying the ones down the street and not building these new ones to include people who live here and make truly below market incomes. I’m talking the masses who are being strangled in the district by solicitors who’ve bought housing and are demanding people make xxx the rent or have xxx credit score or use private, online setups to ensure the housing is not mixed – culturally and/or economically.

    Lastly, with the district holding many historic sites that are either architectural or cultural statements about who West Oakland was and still is need to be respected. 23 stories is too high, respect the WOSP recommendations. Build towers inside the city, not on the edges. Don’t push to make West Oakland full of towers and cranes. People who don’t wish to live in a house don’t see things the same way as homeowners do.

    I couldn’t live in tiny boxes with a thousand other random people. Such a silo. No way to build a community outside of a tower of concrete and glass in a district where the mere definition of community depends on how long you’ve lived here, if you know your neighbors and how deep you know/understand the history and the dynamics of where West Oakland is. Projects like these get built and then 10 years from now these same advocates for it will start to complain about it. Too many people, poorly managed, crime rises etc – pick a topic.

    As for the designs, the images of the buildings in this article are not in line with the single family home architecture. Steel and flat-colored paint and don’t reflect who West Oakland is. The shine from their reflection the higher up you go is probably not smart either. the West Oak BART Redevelopment Project is alright at 8 stories. Kirkham, not cool, wrong location, will only add to the current segregation occurring in West Oakland.

    • Posted by RichardC

      There are basically two ways to create more affordable housing:
      1) Provide subsidies to build it – which is great and we need more, but there’s much more need than money to build, and
      2) Allow a lot of housing to be built by private developers and minimize the costs to build it, which will ease the overall imbalance of supply and demand. That means allowing smaller units, less parking, and denser buildings, which you may not want to live in because you’re lucky enough to own a house, but it might be the only thing other people can afford without commuting to Tracy. And putting new housing for 2,000 people on a vacant lot means 2,000 fewer people competing and bidding up prices on the limited number of homes that already exist.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      This isn’t the West Oakland of charming victorian SFHs. It is bounded by a freeway, parking lots, and industrial spaces. Seems like a fine place to try something new.

  15. Posted by Hancock

    This project will be a boon to the neighborhood. Hopefully it will happen in this cycle!

  16. Posted by Pablito

    It seems like they should require some massive bike rooms – at least 2 bike spaces per unit in the bike rooms. Plus secure bike parking for guests.

    All the Uber / Lyft/ ups pick ups/ deliveries? That should be required to be accommodated on site.
    No parking for guests or out of town visitors? That seems a bit unfriendly…

    Address the numerous transport holes – then build it. 🙂

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The development as proposed, which includes a total of 2,380 bedrooms and 44,000 square feet of commercial/flex space, would provide parking for a total of 535 bikes.

      • Posted by Pablito

        No car parking and 2,380 bedrooms?
        The City should require a minimum indoor secure parking for 2,380 bikes…..
        Bike parking is cheap.
        If the developer is really expecting at least 535 bikes – then the City should require them to fund a bike lane to add capacity…..

        • Posted by Jimmy The Landlord

          Car parking is obsolete because Uber.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            There were roughly 365,000 cars registered to San Francisco addresses in the year 2000. At the end of 2016 the number was over 413,000, up from 408,000 the year before (2015). That’s 48,000 more cars competing for parking in San Francisco in the absolute, despite the rise of Uber.

            And on a per capita basis as the population has grown? That’s actually inched up in the age of Uber as well, from 1 car for every 2.13 residents in 2000 to 1 car for every 2.11 residents in 2016 (which was up, not down, from 2.12 in 2015).

          • Posted by Anon123

            Thank you SS, those are really interesting numbers. Are there similar statistics available for Oakland?

  17. Posted by LBottoms

    Here is the Design Review Committee’s staff report for forthcoming Feb 28 meeting. It contains a few more renderings of the 5th Street side and pedestrian areas on pages 54-56.

  18. Posted by zoro

    They could be entitled to the parking reduction if they added more affordable units. It sounds like they only have enough affordable units to get one concession. The Density Bonus allows 3 concessions if you include 30% affordable units. So they’d have a much stronger argument to zero out the parking with more affordable units, but I imagine they’ve done the math and can’t figure out how to make that work. In either case, planning should push them to zero out the parking in exchange for more affordability. They could always try to get low income housing tax credits on the affordable units, too. I don’t know why more market-rate developers don’t do that.

  19. Posted by Jk

    758 2-bedrooms versus 87 1-bedrooms. Most people want to move to Oakland for cheaper rent to not have a roommate. They should really revisit those numbers. I’m sure 1-br is more in demand.

    • Posted by E.Gonsalves

      How about for the weather, the parkland, the walkability, the transportation, the restaurants, the arts, the zoo, the topography, the views, the charming neighborhood shopping districts, the ethnic neighborhoods, the convenient airport, the bike friendly infrastructure, the theaters, etc.? I just hope the people who move to this development in West Oakland will love Oakland and become Oaklanders. We don’t want West Oakland to become East San Francisco filled with SF centric residents.

      • Posted by Brian M

        charming neighborhood shopping districts? next to the freeways and BART tracks?

        • Posted by E.Gonsalves

          Not in this West Oakland neighborhood. I was referring to many other great Oakland neighborhoods.

  20. Posted by Wanderer

    Amen to E. Gonsalves’ list of Okland’s virtues. This location has a walkscore of 83. It has two parks–Lowell and South Prescott–within 1/2 mile. Downtown Oakland is less than a mile away. In addition to BART, there is frequent AC Transit bus service. Most critically for me there’s a brewery nearby! While there isn’t the lush array of services like near Rockridge BART (where the neighbors prevent building a single stick) it’s not crazy to think that people will want to live there without cars. And if somebody parks a car on the street sometimes is that a world historic tragedy?

  21. Posted by Sabbie

    Great place for high density development, which should always and only be within less than 5 minute walk to regional transit. Why not add some parking spaces for carshare services such as Zipcar, and ask them to help finance it?

  22. Posted by SFRealist

    I’m strongly in favor of this kind of development in this kind of place. They just need to have some parking so the immediate neighbors aren’t so impacted.

  23. Posted by RatkaMira Popovic

    As a long standing home owner and resident in the neighborhood I can tell you parking is a problem. I am not opposed to the development but they need to include parking for future residents.

  24. Posted by Nycdr

    Panorama Interest is not in the business of building affordable housing as evident in little public benefit in this development. They rent out their micro units at top tier prices. Instead of charging $4 for a half gallon of milk, expect $2 for a cup.

    • Posted by Kraus

      These new 2-bedroom units will be substantially less expensive than the 2-bedroom units in any of the housing developments in the surrounding cities (e.g. Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, San Francisco, etc. Why is that a bad thing? That alone would be a great “public benefit”!

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        They are substantially less expensive than the 2-bedroom units in most of the housing developments in the surrounding cities because they are substantially smaller than existing 2-bedroom units in the surrounding cities. That is a bad thing because it means our standard of living is going downward instead of upward.

        Forcing people to accept less is not a great “public benefit”, it’s a private benefit to the developer.

    • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

      As opposed to entire history of construction where profits haven’t driven development?

      Collective memory seems so short as to the broad failures of government-run public housing in the post-war era in the US. Be it Cabrini Green, or Geneva Towers, mass efforts at subsidized dense housing have been social and economic failures.

      I wonder if the shorter buildings will be modular construction as Kennedy has used in the recent past?

    • Posted by Jax

      True that, Panoramic Interests has at least (5) bldgs in Berkeley. Although well designed, these are “Micro” units and provide little or no parking.

  25. Posted by marian

    This housing is for Atheists Only. If you don’t have a car, how you gonna get to church? There is more to life than work, school, and shopping.

    • Posted by don

      Google Maps tells me there are 10 churches less than a mile from here. Also one mosque; not every non-atheist goes to church.

      • Posted by marian

        Yeah, one church is just as good as any other. There’s one Catholic Church, St Patrick’s. You would have to be very brave to walk the route there.

    • Posted by Kraus

      I didn’t realize that Non-Atheists we’re not allowed on BART, buses, trains, rideshare vehicles and that they were prohibited from biking, walking or even going out for a brisk stroll. You learn something every day!

  26. Posted by Brian Beveridge

    I’m pretty active in this community near the WOBART and was involved in the public meetings held by the previous developer for this site. Those meetings identified a lot of community value potential in a project at this important site. None of that is reflected here.

    I am not aware of any community meetings held by this new development team. Cars and parking are important. So are sun light, open space, livable and affordable spaces (2 bedrooms in 540 sq. ft?) sustainable design, opportunities for local small business and schools, to name a few.

    What does the local community get in exchange for nearly doubling the density?

  27. Posted by Anne Whitacre

    Problem with this? there is no decent grocery store either within walking distance or on a transit line from this site. West Oakland is a food desert.

    I live in Jack London Square, and the closest grocery store is 1.5 miles away from there, not on transit. A bike makes it work, but you can’t haul more than one bag of groceries on a bike. (and not everyone rides bikes, especially at night or in the winter).

    Unless this proposal has a good grocery store in it — one that carries day to day goods — this just makes the neighborhood need more cars, not fewer. Also, keep in mind that while riding BART everywhere may be the ideal, BART doesn’t come anywhere near the Kaiser Oakland campus, or any of the other large health care centers in the city. This development needs a shuttle service to the Target/Safeway at 40th street — at the very least.

    • Posted by Don

      Depending on which part of the Kaiser campus you’re headed to, it’s an 8-10 block walk from MacArthur BART. Kaiser also runs free shuttles to 3 different campus locations on a 10-20 minute schedule all day. Lots of people use them. Shuttles go to Children’s and Alta Bates/Summit too.

      I’m in something of a food desert too; it’s not that far for me to walk to Pak’n’Save or Target but I hate those places and I hate trekking across parking lots. (I’d rather hitch a ride on the Kaiser shuttle and go to Piedmont Grocery.) But I think part of the fix for food deserts is more people. A grocery store looks a lot more viable with a few thousand mostly car-free people living on top of it.

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