Urgent Notice: Preserve Our Historic Shortcut Path!
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Starting next week, the City of Oakland plans to significantly alter The Shortcut by replacing the stone stairs with uniform concrete ones; installing ADA-compliant railings along its entire length; and substituting multiple short runs of steps, separated by landings, for the long ramp. In addition, a steel bench is slated to replace the concrete one that now sits atop century-old stones.
This much loved and heavily used path runs from lower Alvarado Road to the Claremont Hotel property. It is part of the original hardscape of the hotel, a California Landmark that opened in 1915. The path features rustic stone masonry on the stairs and walls and is still lined by the Royal Palms planted when the path was built.
Although the path is badly in need of repairs, those of us concerned with historic preservation — including community members and the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board — have had no opportunity to review the plans in advance, provide feedback, or affect the outcome.
We urge the City of Oakland to improve the safety of the path without sacrificing its esthetics and character. To accomplish this goal, the city should have the path designated a Heritage Property.
We ask that the restoration of the Shortcut Path be postponed until the public and the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board have had the opportunity to participate in the planning process.
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