Abel’s eNews: Affordable, transit-oriented housing breaks ground, BRT updates, walk-and-talk with Latino businesses

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More Affordable Housing and Community Space Breaks Ground
Earlier this month, the Unity Council and EBALDC broke ground on 279 units of mixed-income housing at the Fruitvale BART Transit Village (E. 12th St. at 36th Ave.) – Casa Arabella – that will serve veterans, families and residents who earn 60% of the average median income (considered “very low income” households). The project, named in honor of longtime community leader Arabella Martinez (right photo), will also include 10,000 square feet of ground-floor space for an urgent care facility for La Clínica de La Raza and other non-profits. Congrats to Arabella and Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias (left photo) on this important milestone.

Looking at the bigger picture, Mayor Schaaf reported last month that we anticipate completing roughly 3,600 units of new housing in Oakland in 2018. That’s triple the amount we’ve ever built in a single year. Oakland also has roughly 15,000 units in the pipeline, which will help alleviate housing demands and ease rental prices.


13th Ave. Traffic Calming
We finally got a stop sign and crosswalk striping installed on 13th Ave. at E. 26th St. The Bella Vista Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council has been advocating for these pedestrian-safety improvements to make the intersection safer for young students, their parents and senior citizens.

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Healthy Foods, Walkable Sidewalks in Chinatown
On March 7, the Alameda County Health Department revoked E&F Market’s food permit. Food safety is a top concern for Oakland and Chinatown residents. We look forward to having E&F Market back once the health situation is addressed and the community can be assured that the food they provide is safe and healthy.

I’ve also been working with merchants and City staff to deal with sidewalk encroachment issues (photos: before and after), so I’m grateful that this action will also help seniors and disabled residents be able to walk safely on less obstructed sidewalks.



Welcome Our New District 2 Staff | Pamela Erickson
Join me in welcoming Pamela Erickson to my District 2 team. A Bay Area native with 15 years experience working in education and government, she was a Presidential Management Fellow and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Pamela holds a B.A. in political science and international relations from UCLA and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University. In my office, she will be a constituent liaison for the Lakeshore, Grand Lake, Cleveland Heights/China Hill, Rose Garden, Crocker Highlands and Arbor Villa neighborhoods.

She is also an active volunteer at Crocker Highlands Elementary, where her two children go to school, and a mentor for the International Rescue Committee. You can reach Pamela at perickson@oaklandnet.com. Please welcome her to our team!

Saturday, March 17 | Spruce Up on 13th Avenue
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Meet at 13th Ave. and E. 27th St.

Join Friends of Bella Vista Park, 17 NCPC and Trybe to help pick up litter, clean graffiti and pull weeds on 13th Avenue. This cleanup complements efforts to increase safety for children on their walk to school, including advocacy for stop signs and crosswalks to calm traffic, urging AC Transit to reduce bus speeds on 13th Ave., repaving 13th Ave., and planting street trees.

Saturday, March 31 | Community Walk-and-Talks: Latino Business Walk for César Chávez Day
10:00 am-12:00 pm | meet at Jalisco Mexican Food, 1721 International Blvd.
Interested in supporting and learning more about the Latino-owned businesses in the neighborhood? This month, on César Chávez Day, I am excited to co-host a walk-and-talk with the Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce to visit and celebrate several of our Latino-owned business in the San Antonio neighborhood. The walk will start at Jalisco Mexican Food and we will conclude the tour with a celebratory lunch at Tacos Sinaloa. If you’re planning to attend, RSVP: 510-238-7002

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Workshops for Businesses | BRT Business Assistance Funds and Technical Assistance
Last month, I co-sponsored workshops for businesses along the International Blvd. corridor to provide an update on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) construction project and the availability of the City’s business assistance programs. Businesses along the route are able to apply for Business Assistance Fund grants before they experience adverse permanent impacts from BRT infrastructure changes. Although District 2 businesses are not yet directly impacted, we want you to be prepared for the expected impacts that are coming later this year. If you have questions: Xavier Sibaja, Business Assistance Specialist, ANewAmerica, xsibaja@anewamerica.org


Update on Bus Rapid Transit Construction in District 2
Often called “light rail on wheels,” Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will run along a 9.5-mile corridor between downtown Oakland and the San Leandro BART station. It will be a few more months before BRT construction begins in District 2, and we will let you know expected start dates when they are confirmed.

There will be eight BRT stations in District 2 – one median station at 20th Ave. and seven pairs of curbside stations. Each station will feature hallmark artwork, native landscaping, lighting, security cameras and other amenities. The construction project will also add several traffic signals, upgrade ADA ramps, and add a fresh new layer of pavement from curb to curb.

In District 2, the BRT will run on portions of International Blvd., 14th Ave., E.12th St., 12th St. and 11th St. In District 2, construction is slated to begin in Zones 2 and 5 this summer, with Zones 3-4 starting this fall. Map of zones

Before June, the work will include tree removal and pre-construction activity such as verification of utility lines. 

Because the BRT stations along E. 12th St. are new, their construction will involve the removal of some existing trees and planting of new ones (Pistacia chinensis). When construction is completed, the BRT project will have planted a total of 285 new trees. At some locations, one new tree will be planted for every one removed. In other locations, replanting will occur on a 3:1 ratio of new-to-removed trees. The project will eventually have planted more new trees than there are on the corridor today. For more info about the BRT project: brt.actransit.org


Sponsor Student Runners at Oakland Running Festival
Oakland kids are excited to run the 2018 Oakland Running Festival on Sunday, March 25. The Oakland Public Education Fund’s roster will include 350 student runners, but 150 of them still need sponsorship so they can race. A $45 donation covers one student. Donate today

While training for race day, they build math, health and social skills, plus a major sense of accomplishment and the confidence that comes with it. For the past three years, Oaklanders have ensured all kids who want to run can, regardless of their ability to pay. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring a group of student runners: Quierra Trammel, quierra@oaklandedfund.org



Wear Your Chinatown
Oaklandish has a new shirt design featuring Oakland Chinatown’s pedestrian crosswalk scrambles artwork! Show your love for Chinatown, and order your shirt today.


Volunteer for Earth Day
Register a beautification site for Oakland’s Earth Day, and volunteer to clean up a place near you on Saturday, April 21. Register your project and request City assistance with tools, debris bins, trash pickups, mulch, volunteer matching and event promotion.

Saturday, March 31 | Spring Plant Exchange
12:00-4:00 pm | 4500 Lincoln Ave.
Join fellow gardeners, landscapers, urban farmers, educators and enthusiasts for the Plant Exchange’s free, one-day event to exchange plants, equipment, tools and information about ways to make our urban environment healthier, more sustainable and more beautiful. The event also features gardening demos, food trucks, a live band and a silent auction. For more info Email connect@theplantexchange.com to volunteer.

Sunday, April 1 | “Stacks ‘N’ Sausages” Pancake Breakfast
8:30-11:30 am | Lincoln Square Park Playground, 11th and Harrison Sts.
Join the Wa Sung Community Club for its 62nd Annual Easter Pancake Breakfast. Festivities include entertainment, community booths, youth activities and raffle prizes. $5 donation. For more info: wasungserviceclub@gmail.com

Youth Boating and Sailing Camps
The Lake Merritt Boating Center is accepting applications for its popular Youth Boating and Sailing Camps. Various levels offer students a chance to explore Lake Merritt on a variety of vessels to improve your sailing skills. Limited scholarships for Oakland residents are available on a first-come-first-served basis. For more info To register youth for summer activities


Public-Engagement Contracts Available for Community Organizations
The City of Oakland is starting a new opportunity for community-based organizations and non-profits to get compensated for the valuable work you do, especially in providing assistance with public engagement and outreach for various projects, and strengthen the City’s equity-driven transportation efforts.

These contracts will be used to provide as-needed assistance. Non-profits/CBOs will submit their qualifications, and, if selected, the City can contract more quickly with an organization on specific projects. Although the focus of the application is transportation projects, the on-call contract will be a citywide contract and available to all departments. All interested organizations are urged to apply. Submittals are due by April 9, 2:00 pm. For an application and more info

Summer Jobs for Oakland Youth
Oakland’s Parks, Recreation and Youth Development Department invites everyone to participate in its annual Summer Hire. Do you know a teenager who is good with kids and looking for a summer job? Part-time summer positions range from recreation leaders to sports officials to lifeguards and cultural-arts specialists. Age requirements vary by job, but opportunities are available for youth as young as 16 years old. Apply by Friday, March 23.  For more info about application details and job descriptions