archive: three concepts

At the second public workshop on June 2, 2010, concepts were presented to explore a wide range of options for the site — from a quiet, natural setting focused on returning the site to its bayfront beauty, to a rich park experience that could offer features such as a gondola ride, kayak landing, trails, fishing pier, art, museum, and a destination restaurant.

We asked the community to tell us what is liked about each concept. In the next step, we will try to fit the favorite elements into a plan. This is more complex than fitting puzzle pieces together since some uses just don’t fit well side by side — no dogs romping through a wetlands preserve or freeway-bound cars passing by a playground. We will listen to your preferences and shape a new plan that we hope fits the desired character for the park and delivers features important to the community.

Three Concepts

The park concepts are designed to explore how best to nurture a natural setting, serve the area workers and West Oakland, and enhance the Bay Trail and Bay Bridge pedestrian and bicycle experience. Among the possibilities:

Concept 1: Relax and Regenerate would restore the industrial area to its natural beauty and generate new wetland areas

Concept 2: Getting There would create trails linking all of Oakland to the park and the future Bay Bridge bike and pedestrian experience

Concept 3: Great Destinations would offer a variety of ways to have fun at the park such as a Ferris wheel, gondola, art, or a destination restaurant

All three maps are divided into named areas that read from left to right: The Point, Baywalk/Bike Access, Boardwalk, The Green, Entrance/Park Road, and The Maze/West Oakland. This helped workshop participants to follow along more easily as the concepts were discussed.

Concept 1: Relax and Regenerate

Focus is on the visual and natural regeneration of site; place for enjoyment of natural features of the bay and site habitat; “passive, light touch”

  • Focus on natural features, restoring the bay to its natural condition prior to its industrial use
  • Emphasize conservation, regeneration, and wildlife habitat protection
  • Re-use buildings on the site for educational purposes such as scheduled school tours, without a museum or artifacts (no trains, engineering tools, or structures, etc.) 
  • Create a wetland area underneath the freeway maze
  • Favor the natural habitat by providing limited bike and pedestrian access to the Bay Trail and The Point
  • Encourage passive uses, such as picnics and birdwatching, and particularly those with educational content
  • Minimize conflicts with adjacent land,  and incur minimal maintenance and operation cost

Click on thumbnails to enlarge:

This graphic shows the emphasis on site restoration, particularly in two areas (colored green) with activity centers marked with a gold asterisk. The point where the bridge touches down for pedestrian and bicyclist access is marked with a dashed ring.

Concept 2: Getting There

Focus is on making it safe and fun for green transportation modes (bikes/pedestrians/transit) to access the park.

  • Provide many trails, including an overhead bike/pedestrian link to West Oakland along West Grand and Maritime Street
  • Connect to Bay Trail (a 500-mile bike and walking path around San Francisco Bay) system, Bay Water Trail (network of linked access sites around the Bay for kayaks, etc.) and Middle Harbor Park
  • Create an attractive gateway to West Oakland, and connect Oakland to the port area and Bay Bridge bike trail
  • Feature West Oakland’s heritage – trains, engineering marvels --  through personal exploring at an interpretative center about transportation
  • Display transportation artifacts around existing buildings
  • Reuse existing buildings for educational purposes and for bike and artifact storage
  • Provide some bike/education concessions (such as bike rentals, storage racks, etc.)
  • Provide a dramatic lighting/art underneath the freeway maze

Click on thumbnails to enlarge:

This graphic shows the emphasis on an extensive trail system. The green lines and dashed green lines with arrows mark the trails, with activity centers shown with a gold asterisk. The point where the bridge touches down for pedestrian and bicyclist access is marked with a dashed ring.

Concept 3: Great Destinations

Focus is on cultivating a varied park experience – learning at a museum or unique playground, a relaxing gondola ride to enjoy a breezy day, and dining at a waterfront “destination” restaurant.

  • Create a rich mix of park amenities and programs, also serving area workers and West Oakland
  • Reuse historic buildings for cafe/restaurant purposes, with public art and a full museum celebrating the site’s rich history in transportation/engineering/military/maritime
  • Move existing buildings to create a large lawn for outdoor events such as dances, movies, and birthday parties and improve views
  • Make bold improvements: Ferris wheel, gondola, art and artifacts
  • Connect to Bay Trail and Bay Water Trail and Middle Harbor Park
  • Enjoy water-edge access, including boardwalk and fishing pier, kayak, and ferry
  • Bring space below the freeway to life with community programs such as community garden, dog park, and court sports - underneath the freeway maze
  • Allow extensive public access, including trails to the natural preserve north of Freeway

Click on thumbnails to enlarge:

This visual shows the emphasis on multiple activity centers marked with a gold asterisk that also reflects the level of intensity by the size of the asterisk. There are trails marked by dashed green lines, and arrows, fewer than the trail system shown in Concept 2. The point where the bridge touches down for pedestrian and bicyclist access is marked with a dashed ring.