OAKLAND (KPIX) — Officials in Oakland have major plans to revitalize and improve access to the waterfront, largely thanks to the infusion of federal funds that will turn those plans into reality.
Oakland’s waterfront is currently cut off from the rest of the city by Interstate 880, leaving the waterfront and Jack London Square area remote, sleepy and quiet.READ MORE: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
A new $14.5 million dollar federal grant is looking to improve access to the water and make the streets safer for pedestrians.
“This city is painfully aware that infrastructure saves lives,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
It’s part of the TOWN For All improvement plan. TOWN stands for “Transforming Oakland Waterfront Neighborhoods.”READ MORE: UPDATE: News Crew Security Guard Shot in Oakland Dies From Injuries; Photo of Suspect Vehicle Released
“It really proposes a way that the people who live there now and how will live here in the future and the people who will work here in the future can move around with dignity,” said Oakland Department of Transportation Director Ryan Russo. “Even though they are in such close proximity, they will have to fight across freeway entrances, pork chop islands, speeding traffic.”
The money will build red carpet bus lanes all the way down Broadway into Jack London Square, as well as for Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. The plan also promises high-visibility pedestrian crosswalks, new bike lanes and much-needed sidewalk repairs.
“Fiber optic lines run under the street to bring OakWifi to West Oakland,” said Russo.
These projects will also help another high-profile project proposed at Howard Terminal.MORE NEWS: Burlingame Shoppers Show Up for Small Business Saturday
“Today’s announcement absolutely supports a new waterfront ballpark for our beloved Oakland A’s. As part of our early deal with the A’s the city agreed to raise funds to pay for offsite infrastructure – today’s announcement is a significant milestone toward that commitment,” said Mayor Schaaf.