Walk this Way

Oakland invites designers to reimagine the spaces under the I-880 Freeway

City Terrain Transportation Urbanism West
Oakland invites designers to reimagine the city's walkways. Image: aerial view of Oakland. (Courtesy Robert Campbell)

A new two-stage competition, launched by the city of Oakland, is calling for the “best talent” in “urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, lighting design, engineering, transportation planning, acoustics, public art and community engagement.” Dubbed “Walk this Way: The Broadway/Webster Project,” its winners will embark on a $400,000 upgrade of Oakland’s underpasses and pedestrian walkways underneath the I-880 Freeway as part of a scheme to “reimagine a new future for this key area of Downtown.”

(Courtesy Oakland City)

(Courtesy Oakland City)

The competition brief stipulates that design teams may be “led or co-led by a firm specializing in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, or engineering” and encourages collaboration with local firms. “Walk this Way: The Broadway/Webster Project aims to transform the areas around, under and through the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses of the I-880 into a beautiful, safe, walkable, inviting, green and iconic passageway connecting Downtown Oakland and the Waterfront,” the brief continues.

(Courtesy Oakland City)

(Courtesy Oakland City)

The I-880 interstate has become a hotspot for the homeless in Oakland, though the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses serve as key pedestrian and vehicular veins between Old Oakland, Chinatown, Jack London District, and the nearby city of Alameda. Subsequently, submissions to the competition must look to enhance this urban experience through various means such as lighting, landscaping, architecture, art, wayfinding, and urban design and planning, as well imagining new uses for the area.

Winners of the competition are due to be announced in March 2017.

Below are outlines of the competitions two phases:

Phase I
• Develop an inspiring and implementable design for a set of beautiful, safe, walkable, inviting, green, and iconic passageways between Downtown Oakland and the Waterfront by reimagining the area surrounding and including the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses of the I-880 Freeway (including 1 block north, 1 block south, 1 block east and 1 block west from each of the underpasses);
• Develop a template of design elements that can be applied to other underpasses in the future;
• Conduct community engagement to garner public input;
• Develop construction drawings (35%) and a cost estimate for implementation;

Phase II
• Develop construction documents for bidding (100%);
• Support the City to secure approvals and permits;
• Provide construction management support.

More information detailing further guidelines and how to submit can be found here.

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