City to start neighborhood planning process in Oakland

The under-construction stoplight and crosswalk outside Lawrence Hall.

Oakland might look a bit different in a few years, but it will all be according to the plan.

The Department of City Planning announced Monday it will begin a two-year process to create a 10-year neighborhood plan for North, Central, South and West Oakland. The process has recently been used for other Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including Uptown, Homewood and Hazelwood.

In response to the rise in development activity along Forbes and Fifth avenues, the City said discussions with community leaders made it clear that Oakland needs to have a shared plan for how to sustainably develop the neighborhood.

The planning process will focus on four main areas: community, development, mobility and infrastructure.

The City expects the plan to be finalized and adopted in about two years, during the spring and summer of 2021. If adopted by the City Planning Commission, the plan will become official City policy and direct public and private investment in Oakland.

The first step in the planning process is to create a steering committee of 20 to 30 community representatives to manage the process. The City said the committee will meet for the first time as a group in October and then form a series of action teams to tackle specific issues. A list of steering committee members was not immediately available online, and Derek Dauphin, the project’s manager, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The City will hold a series of open houses in Oakland to introduce community members to the planning process, beginning this week at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Workshops will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. to teach residents the basics of urban design.

Additional workshops, featuring topics such as planning and building regulations, mobility and transit, parks and the environment, and energy efficiency, will take place throughout July and August.

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