The February issue of Latitude 38 includes a perspective from former Oakland Marina harbormaster Brock de Lappe on the deteriorating state of the Oakland waterfront.
The City of Oakland’s annual budget is about $2.3 billion and it has over 4,800 employees, but that doesn’t appear to be enough to take care of its waterfront. Like Long Beach, it’s a city blessed with a large, successful shipping port, plus over two miles of shoreline theoretically available for public access and recreational use. Unlike Long Beach, much of the Oakland waterfront is littered with trash and overrun with derelict boats that continue to sink, wash ashore, and pollute the Estuary. Despite their budgets, the City and Port of Oakland seem unable or unwilling to manage much of their own waterfront.
The Long Beach waterfront and shoreline marinas are shining examples of what is possible for a well-run waterfront. Long Beach’s waterfront boasts a long, clean walkway continuously busy with people walking, running, biking and roller skating past thriving businesses and welcoming parks.
Jack London Square and the new $3.5 billion Brooklyn Basin development demonstrate the potential, but not far from these waterfront upgrades, basic care for the waterfront goes missing.