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Thousands Play in Oakland’s Streets at the First-Ever ‘Oaklavia’

On Sunday, June 27th, Downtown Oakland opened two miles of its streets to fun and activities—zumba dancing, circus arts, BMX bike competitions and performances from local musicians. Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) partnered with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Oaklandish, Oakland YMCA, Cycles of Change, SPOKES, and other civic organizations to create the East Bay's first “Sunday Streets” style event. Preparations are in the works for another Oaklavia in the coming months.

[intro music]

Carli Paine: [00:12] Walk Oakland Bike Oakland have put on this really exciting event today, Oaklavia. We’ve closed down about two miles of Oakland Streets to cars.


[music]

Carli Paine: [00:23] Celebrating the streets for people, doing all kinds of fun activities.


[music]

Brian Drayton: [00:29] We’ve got a auto free street utopia going on, cafés in the street, biking in the street, families, kids, roller skates, people walking.


[music]

Carli Paine: [00:41] Earlier today I did some zumba dancing.


[music]

Carli Paine: [00:48] I learned the Thriller dance.


[music]

Carli Paine: [00:55] And I saw some kids doing circus arts.


[music]

Karen Hester: [01:08] We’re enjoying the streets of Oakland and we’re taking back the streets. It’s car-free. It’s wonderful. It’s very diverse and it’s very Oaklandish.


[music]

Karen Hester: [01:17] Right behind us we have the amazing bicycle bunny hop.


[music]

Speaker: [01:32] Lean forward, pull the bars up to your chest, lift with your legs and just go for the ride man, hopefully it all works out best.


Karen Hester: [01:39] It feels safe, it feels fun, it feels festive. I’m not worrying about getting hit by a car.


[music]

Speaker: [01:48] It feels like kind of funny cos it feels like totally illegal. It’s like I was rolling down the middle of Broadway, that can’t be right.


Brian Drayton: [01:59] It almost feels illegal to be this free. It almost feels illegal, that’s a shame. It shouldn’t feel illegal, it should feel like our right, our natural born right to get out, take over the street on a Sunday and have bike church.


Kassie Rohrbach: [02:12] So we chalked bike lanes on Broadway today to demonstrate the campaign that we’re running to get bike lanes all along Broadway.


Carli Paine: [02:19] Tons of bicyclists use Broadway everyday for their commute between Downtown Oakland and North Oakland, and yet there’s not a continuous designated bike lane to make sure that there’s kind of a clear place for bicyclists.


Kassie Rohrback: [02:30] Wouldn’t that be nice if they could ride this lane all the time?


Dave Campbell: [02:35] Today we’re doing a Parklets for People demonstration here in Old Oakland, showing how businesses can creatively reuse the space in front of their stores, to create community space, to expand their businesses, and generally to make the streets a more lively, comfortable place for people to spend some time, enjoy their neighbourhoods.


Erik Jensen: [02:53] We’re taking over the parking spots, so what’s normally going to be used by a car to sit for, you know, a couple of hours and deliver one person to an area, is repurposed and turned into a place that dozens of people can use for any number of creative outlets.


Carli Paine: [03:08] It’s a lot of work but we’ve done it on a pretty narrow budget and it seems to be really successful. People are asking us when’s the next one? Is this going to happen monthly? That to me is a success.

[music]

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  • http://richmondspokes.org Brian Drayton

    Please add SPOKES to the list of contributors.

  • http://www.UpYourNonprofit.com Herb Paine

    A former Oaklander, I'm now living in Phoenix where efforts have been afoot for years to create a sense of an urban community, with limited success. WOBO's initiative and the collaboration of its partners exemplify in real terms what folks with imagination and will, even in the face of limited resources, can do. The Oaklavia gives substance and meaning to oft-used words like placemaking, community-building, and connectivity. Congratulations on the debut of what I hope will be a great and growing event. (Disclaimer: The fact that my daughter, of whom I am exceedingly proud, is the WOBO chair does not influence my praise of this accomplishment.)

  • http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/09/BAH61EBUBF.DTL&tsp=1 Oakland rocks

    And last night we shut down the streets for more community building around some dumpster bonfires, some street art, free shopping, and helping local businesses by smashing their old windows.

    We shut down the street, and even blocked a bus (damn you public transit!)

    Unfortunately, most of the anarchists who came to Oakland last night are not really from the local, Oakland community, and they come out to cause trouble, regardless of the cause, as summed up in graffiti from last night: "Say no to work, yes to looting" - this has nothing to do with justice.

  • Carrie Ashendel

    Nicely done - both the video and the event. The No Derivs license at the end kinda killed it for me though. Isn't that against the whole theme of taking back space for common use? Please reconsider.

  • Gabriela

    Wonderful film. Thanks to everyone who worked on the event. Parklets, bike lanes, fun games...lets do it again!

  • Lucy

    Good for you! The celebration in OUR city and the film for all those who couldn't be there
    to see and wish we COULD have been, The credits went by so quickly - thanks to all.Would love to contact you. Looking forward to the next Oaklavia.

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