Rockridge residents angered by Ford GoBike station placed near Oakland firestorm memoriallove car

Rockridge residents angered by Ford GoBike station placed near Oakland firestorm memoriallove car http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/ford-gobike-rockridge-bart-firestorm-memorial-oak-12495097.php

By Michelle Robertson, SFGATE

Published 5:25 pm, Friday, January 12, 2018

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Photo: City Of Oakland

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Photo: City Of Oakland

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Oakland officials said they are looking for a new location for a Ford GoBike docking station after residents expressed outrage over its proximity to an Oakland firestorm memorial.

Photo: City Of Oakland

Oakland residents have mixed feelings about the installation of a bike share docking station near an Oakland firestorm memorial at the Rockridge BART station. In response to the outcry, city officials said the current location will be temporary while they determine a new site.

The Ford GoBike rack was installed Thursday morning just a few feet in front of one of three walls covered in tiles dedicated to the memory of the people and homes lost in the 1991 inferno.

Residents have taken issue with the GoBike station's proximity to the mural, composed of 2,300 tiles hand-painted by everyone from Oakland schoolchildren to former President Bill Clinton.

"There are some people who are overjoyed to have the bike station there and don't care where it is," said Rockridge community planning chairman Stuart Flashman. "There are also people who feel that, though a bike station is a good idea, that's not the right place to put it."

Flashman said the biggest issue stems from a lack of communication between the city and the bike share contractor, Motivate, and residents. He said officials held a town hall about a year ago indicating plans to install a GoBike rack at the Rockridge station, but they did not provide specific details of where the rack would be located.

"Then they never bothered to come back and ask anyone," Flashman said.

Former Oakland Public Works Director Brooke Levin spearheaded the creation of the memorial, in collaboration with CalTrans, BART and the city of Oakland, shortly after the firestorm. It was installed in 1994.

Levin said the placement of the rack obstructs the viewshed and interrupts the viewer's experience of the 24-year-old mural.

"It's like looking at a quilt square versus the entire pattern," Levin analogized.

In a Friday statement, the Oakland Department of Transportation acknowledged the community's concerns, saying the organization planned to "make the current installed location temporary."

"We will be coordinating with Ford GoBike, Motivate and BART to engage with community members in a process aimed toward an improved design, including reevaluation of the current site, or relocation to another nearby location that would serve the needs of the bike-share program and the community benefits it strives to provide," the statement said.

The city invites residents to provide additional feedback by emailing [email protected]

When Ford GoBike docking stations first arrived in Oakland last year, some welcomed the arrival of greater transportation accessibility. Others decried the bikes as symbols of gentrification. Read more about the controversy in The San Francisco Chronicle. 

Michelle Robertson is an SFGATE staff writer. Email her at [email protected] or find her on Twitter at @mrobertsonsf.