To Connect Oakland—Remove the I-980 Freeway

A grassroots, ambitious vision called Connect Oakland is gaining steam in the East Bay city. The key element of the plan's ambition: replacing the I-980 Freeway with an urban boulevard and new housing.

Read Time: 2 minutes

November 17, 2015, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Downtown Oakland

kropik1 / Shutterstock

John King explains the details of the so-called Connect Oakland plan, a proposal gaining political support in Oakland City Hall to remove the I-980 Freeway—"a broad swath of landscaped asphalt that separates residential West Oakland from the city’s downtown."

According to King, the plan would replace the freeway with "a boulevard lined with housing at all price levels, reknitting the urban landscape." The proposal could also "include space for BART beneath the boulevard, a tunnel that could connect to a second BART tube from Oakland to San Francisco."

Throughout the article, King, the San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic, provides the historic context of the construction of I-980 and of the precedent set by freeway removals in the Bay Area. King describes Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco, for example, as a comparable example for the future direction of Connect Oakland.

The proposal has been pressed "for the past year by a handful of local architects and planners with good intentions but little clout," reports King, but city recently moved the idea into a new level of legitimacy when it requested "requested $5.2 million from the Alameda County Transportation Authority to begin planning studies of an I-980 conversion and a second BART tube."

As for King's take on the idea, he clearly approves of the spirit of the effort, proclaiming: "I-980 is a relic ripe for change, and its future shouldn’t be taken for granted."

Saturday, November 14, 2015 in San Francisco Chronicle

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

55 minutes ago - Orange County Register

Protesters with signs in Atlanta after Tyre Nichols murder

Memphis: Crime-fighting Camera Sheds Light on Police Abuse

The irony is unmistakable. Public surveillance cameras, long controversial in the criminal justice community, provided pivotal video footage of the beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on January 7.

1 hour ago - The New York Times

Photo of cars on two-way separated highway with illustrated lines between them indicating tech-driven decisions

How Autonomous Cars Could Impact Energy Use

The complex algorithms used by self-driving vehicle technology use massive amounts of energy, which could lead to a steep rise in carbon emissions as autonomous cars become more commonplace.

2 hours ago - Dezeen