Oakland has approved a 66-year (!) lease with Foster Interstate Media to build five 70-foot high, 20-by-60-foot brightly lit digital billboards by the touchdown area of the new east span of the Bay Bridge.
The billboards would distract drivers in a complicated lane-changing area, contribute to light pollution, and detract from panoramic vistas of the East Bay hills and toward San Francisco. Largely at the insistence of two previous Oakland mayors, the state has spent $6.4 billion to build a visually stunning “signature” span, rather than just $2 billion for the causeway that Caltrans originally proposed. How can the city and the state now consider cheaply compromising this investment in aesthetics?
At least two of the planned billboards would stand in the planned $200-million Gateway Park, a nine-agency project to be funded primarily by Caltrans. The park, along the southern edge of the freeway, will house a transportation museum in the old sawtooth-roofed Key System building and is the setting for bicycle and pedestrian trails accessing the muscle-powered lane along the new bridge to Treasure Island.
The billboards would shine all night, every night, on every motorist, bicyclist, and pedestrian in the area, as well as on the birds that rest and nest in the shallow tidal flats along the “Emeryville Crescent” just on the other side of the highway (less than 1/4 mile away!) These include the endangered clapper rail. The state Department of Parks and Recreation has classed this portion of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park as a wildlife preserve.
Three older, existing billboards farther west along the bridge approach are already brightly visible from distant residences and roads in the hills, and from nearby neighborhoods.
There is one remaining chance for stopping the new billboards. They require approval from Caltrans.
Update: 6/6/13 – write to the Oakland City Council!
Email the Oakland City Council:
District 1 – Dan Kalb email@example.com
District 2 – Pat Kernighan firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 – Lynette Gibson McElhany D3Intern@oaklandnet.com
District 4 – Libby Schaaf email@example.com
District 5 – Noel Gallo firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6 – Desley Brooks email@example.com
District 7 – Larry Reid firstname.lastname@example.org
At-Large – Rebecca Kaplan email@example.com
Tell the Councilmembers not to allow billboards along the Bay Bridge touchdown in Oakland.
For more information, including a petition you can sign opposing the billboards, see the web site and Facebook page of Make Oakland Beautiful at: