Confirmed victory

Require Kaiser Permanente to give public access during the day to the planned garden at SW corner of Piedmont and West Macarthur through two wide gates, and limit height of fencing to six feet.

This petition made change with 1,699 supporters!

Kaiser Permanente is planning to create a large, 35,000 sq. ft. garden at the southwest corner of Piedmont Avenue and West Macarthur, and to enclose the entire space with a 7-foot-tall iron fence. According to Kaiser, no one -- not Kaiser staff, patients, members, nor the public -- will be allowed inside the garden. "Only gardeners" will step foot inside. Kaiser was required by the city to landscape the area because it indefinitely postponed construction of a medical office building there.

Neighbors of the complex think this is wrong, and have filed an appeal to the Oakland Planning Commission asking that commissioners require Kaiser to make the garden accessible to the public during the day through two wide gates, one on Piedmont and one on Macarthur, and to limit the height of the fencing to no more than 6 feet.

Supporters of public access believe that cutting off such an important city corner with a tall fence would basically kill the city's best shot at reclaiming that long stretch of Piedmont Avenue as a critical pedestrian corridor. Lower Piedmont Avenue potentially links all fledgling development along Broadway (starting all the way from Downtown and Uptown, Broadway/Valdez, and the coming Sprouts market at 30th) with upper Piedmont Avenue. Fencing off that area would essentially create a dead zone on Piedmont Avenue and perpetuate the pedestrian unfriendly environment that existed before with the M/B Center building. It's also a waste of what could be a wonderful asset for everyone: Employees could have a place to eat lunch or take a break, patients and family members could have a space to recharge or wait for appointments, pedestrians could have a spot to rest, and nearby residents could enjoy the greenery and open space.

Kaiser's current plan to fence off that land violates many different goals, principles, and guidelines of the Kaiser Oakland Medical Center Master Plan that require Kaiser to activate its property's bordering streets, connect with neighborhoods, promote pedestrian activity, and create inviting outdoor spaces. It also violates what the company itself preaches through its "Thrive" advertising campaign!

Opening up that corner as a publicly accessible garden during the day would achieve many of the medical center's master plan goals and overall city goals of creating a more livable and walkable Oakland. Plus, it just makes good, common sense.

What we are asking is quite reasonable. There are many examples of privately owned property in Oakland and San Francisco that is accessible to the public, including: Kaiser's own rooftop garden at 20th and Webster streets and Serenity Garden in back of its medical office building at 3701 Broadway; Mountain View and St. Mary's cemeteries; the large, public plaza surrounding the Cathedral of Christ the Light at Lake Merritt; and Levi Plaza Park near the SF Embarcadero.

Though the garden is meant to be temporary until Kaiser decides to build on the land, there is a good chance that whatever is put there now will remain that way for upwards of 15 years.

So please help us convince the Oakland Planning Commission to require Kaiser to make the garden publicly accessible by signing this petition! The commission does consider the will of Oakland residents in its decisions, so every signature matters.

Today: Sarah is counting on you

Sarah Cohen needs your help with “Oakland Planning Commission : Require Kaiser Permanente to give public access during the day to the planned garden at SW corner of Piedmont and West Macarthur through two wide gates, and limit height of fencing to six feet.”. Join Sarah and 1,698 supporters today.