However, this prime location in its current form presents challenges: how to balance the demand for transit, bicycles, pedestrians, automobiles, and a public gathering space. To address these issues, the City has developed a proposal to permanently expand and enhance the plaza area that offers a larger pedestrian space adjacent to the commercial businesses and to keep and improve a two-way roadway on Telegraph Avenue between 16th Street and Broadway. The design and construction are being funded through Proposition 1-C grant funding from the State of California and Measure B funding from Alameda County.
Traffic and Construction Updates:
Construction of the Permanent Latham Square Plaza Project will begin in late-May 2015 and extend to winter 2015. Please see the Final Design and Construction section below for more information.
The City has worked closely with local stakeholders on the Latham Square plaza design. Outreach activities included: over 25 individual meetings with local businesses, property owners, residents and other stakeholders; public presentations to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and Oakland Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee; and five community meetings. The feedback gathered from the outreach and the pilot plaza (see below) played a critical role in the design of the permanent plaza.
In 2007, the City Council approved a new intersection configuration/design at Broadway & Telegraph Avenue, and Telegraph from 15th Street to 20th Street. See the Inner Telegraph Concept Design.
In 2008, the City received a $9.9 million Proposition 1C state grant for streetscape improvements in the downtown/uptown areas.
In August of 2012, the City began exploring ways to improve and expand Latham Square. This resulted in the idea of a “pilot” project (see below).
A community design workshop for the Pilot Plaza was held on February 23, 2013.
In May of 2013, the City Council approved the Pilot Plaza.
In June of 2013, the conceptual phase of the new re-design of Latham square began.
Pilot Plaza opening was held August 16, 2013.
Community Meeting #1 was held September 14, 2013.
The first Plaza PopUpHood event was held October 12, 2013.
Community Meeting #2 was held November 20, 2013.
City Council Meeting was held on January 7, 2013 and approved preliminary design.
Community Meeting #3 was held January 30, 2014.
Community Meeting #4 was held May 8, 2014.
Community Meeting #5 was held June 12, 2014.
A Tree Removal Permit Application was approved on August 19, 2014 for seven trees that will be removed and replaced by 14 trees.
In March of 2015, the City Council awarded the Latham Square Streetscape Improvements construction contract. See the Site Rendering.
Summary of Permanent Latham Square Plaza Project Community Meetings
The City has designed the permanent reconstruction of Latham Square using high-quality and long-lasting materials. See the Site Rendering. The basic principles for the permanent plaza were developed through the 2004 Downtown Streetscape Master Plan and advised through the observations of the pilot project and community feedback, and will help to accomplish several longstanding goals to support economic development in Downtown and Uptown. Implementation of the Master Plan principles will seek to enhance the experience for all users by:
Enhancing existing and attracting new business
Designing roadways and intersections with all modes and safety in mind
Creating a larger functional plaza space for daily use and special events
Highlighting and restoring the Latham Square fountain
Incorporating the latest in storm water systems design
Retaining and improving on the existing landscaping and trees as well as the important historical aspects of the square
City staff reported the results of the pilot project and provided a recommendation on the permanent conceptual design to the City Council Public Works Committee on December 17, 2013. City Council approved staff recommendation for the permanent plaza circulation design on January 7, 2014. Permanent design recommendations were based on the pilot project evaluation and community feedback, as well as the best course of action necessary in order to deliver the permanent project. See permanent plaza legislation (Reports, Resolution & Video)
Final Design & Construction
Final design for the plaza has been completed and the construction contract for this work was awarded by the City Council on March 17, 2015. See the Site Rendering. Oakland Public Works (OPW) has contracted McGuire and Hester, Inc. to construct the Latham Square Streetscape Improvements (Project). The streetscape construction is expected to begin in late-May 2015 and it is estimated to extend through winter 2015. See the Construction Announcement Letter.
Temporary Construction Traffic Control: During construction, there will be impacts to traffic on Broadway and Telegraph Avenue. Some phases of construction will require Broadway to be reduced to one lane in each direction of travel. One of the phases of construction will require a one block closure to vehicles on Telegraph Avenue from Broadway to 16th Street. OPW will make every effort to minimize inconveniences in the neighborhood.
Project Scope: The Project will reconstruct the Latham Square Plaza and neighboring roadways and intersections. The Project area is Telegraph Avenue from Broadway to 17th Street, Broadway from 14th Street to 17th Street, and 16th Street from Telegraph to San Pablo Avenue. See Project Area Map. The improvements include expansion of the Latham Square Plaza, improved intersections, traffic signal upgrades, new roadway surfacing, bulbouts, restoration of the historic Latham fountain, informational panels, landscaping, and pedestrian and decorative lighting.
Latham Square Pilot Plaza Project
In May of 2013, City Council approved a temporary pilot project to assess the impacts and benefits of full and partial closure of Latham Square to vehicular traffic to create a larger pedestrian plaza. The pilot project was installed in July 2013 and officially opened to the public to use and enjoy on August 16th. The pilot allowed for real-world observation of traffic flow, and led to a better understanding of how the plaza can be designed to maximize its potential as a pedestrian space. The first phase included complete closure of Telegraph Avenue and installation of signage, seating, trees and landscaping. The project's second phase included opening Telegraph Avenue to one-way southbound traffic and rearrangement of some elements of the plaza in September of 2013. The Downtown Oakland Association is generously managing the maintenance of the facility and event programming. See the Downtown Oakland Association's Latham Square website for more information on programmed events.