Oakland finally gets a Sunday Streets! Plus, highlights of this week’s blogoaksphere.

There are so many great blogs in and about Oakland. I try to tag the good politics-related ones for my news feed here on the site, but I often wish I had a way to highlight great posts from Oakland bloggers on other subjects. So I’ve decided to start a weekend feature where I can share some of the ones I really enjoyed.

I would be remiss to not use the inaugural weekly blogoaksphere highlights post to note how much I enjoyed reading all the great blogs posted about the Oakland Marathon. What an exciting event for Oakland! The other day, I encountered eight (eight!) people who had come to town just for the marathon. All of them made a point of saying how surprised they were to discover what a beautiful city Oakland is. It was totally heartwarming.

Oakland Marathon on Broadway

And it was so awesome seeing how crowded downtown Oakland was on the beautiful afternoon yesterday (and of course again today) so I was thrilled to come home after a day out and see that Baseball Oakland had been thinking the same thing. Deborah from Oaktown Art was delighted about the race passing through Ghosttown, where she lives. Aimee Allison shared a similar excitement about how well the marathon showcased the city, and then last night posted some really sweet stories from participants in yesterday’s twilight 5k.

And the New York Times Bay Area Blog had a nice interview with event director Gene Brtalik.

But our local metroblogs weren’t the only ones all abuzz about the race. Virginia of A Runner’s Story anticipated today’s event with a touching story about the emotional experience of her first marathon. (She also tweeted the marathon today). Tim from A Bay Area Runner was nervous about the hill and spent the last week hurt and sick, but excited for the event nonetheless. Running on Faith tried to pinpoint on the eve of the race what makes her push herself so hard.

Sesa in Stride talked about the new “booty shorts” she bought for the occasion. Another blogger running the half marathon hoped to wear his father’s shirt from when he ran the Oakland marathon in 1984.

Callipides and Roadburner thought the expo on Saturday sucked, but were excited for the race anyway. And maybe it wasn’t so great, I don’t know. But at least one runner was excited to meet Mr. Cooper while waiting on his bib.

It was really fun to listen to all the pre-race cheering this morning and watch all the runners go by.

Oakland Marathon

There was also plenty of post-race blogging from both runners and spectators, which you can find at:

  • Callipides: “Oakland is a great city that put on a great event. The police officers manning the course were cheering on the runners which is highly unusual in my experience. There was even on police officer out using his radar gun!”
  • tattarrattat: “7:25am – high five mr. cooper. RUDE people around me commented “mr. cooper, that’s the best we get in oakland?” um hello, mr. cooper is AWESOME!”
  • Virginia Runs: “I can’t think of enough good things to say about the inaugural Oakland Running Festival. This marathon was the best race I’ve ever run.”
  • I’m just sayin: “I didn’t even know this was going on right outside my window.”
  • Sesa in Stride: “For now, I’d like to thank the following…The City of Oakland, for closing the necessary streets, as well as gracing us with hot policemen and firemen”
  • Oakland Focus: “Regardless of who is named, Gene Brtalik of Corrigan Sports, and newly-minted Oaklander, made the Oakland Running Festival not just a reality, but a smoothly-running event.”
  • Spirit. Energy. Life.: “It was totally inspiring and totally helped me to have people cheering me on, letting me know i could do it!”
  • Photos at thedude.com, the eJournal of Vincent Rafe, Toujours l’audace, Oaklander Online, Half-Assed Marathoner, Running Commentary, Oakland Seen, Oaktown Art, and alamedarunners.com.
  • Metrorocker: “It was the sense of community that this event brought to Oakland. Often ‘misunderstood,’ Oakland residents have great pride in their community, and the Marathon was no different.”
  • ublach: “What a great event for Oakland!”
  • Couch to 70.3: “Can I tell you how much I loved this event? Finally one event that brought the people of Oakland together to do something healthy and positive.”
  • Out Box: “We ran through fiery arch at a soldering studio; we were cheered on by Oakland A’s fans and Raiders’ fans; we were sprinkled with fairy dust at Children’s Fairyland. And everywhere (and what I love about running these races) were people who just stepped out of their homes and businesses, with pots and pans or just their hands, rooting us on.”
  • A Trail Runner’s Blog: “Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums gave me some pointers – he used to be an avid runner, but “now that he’s 70 he just sticks to martial arts”. How cool is that?”
  • Baseball Oakland: “Heaven on a Sunday was how the Oakland Running Festival felt yesterday.”
  • On the Trail of Plastic Snappy Things: “Basically, it hella rocked.”
  • New York Times Bay Area Blog: “On Sunday, there was a connection between the runners and those who lined the race course. I started to feel as if I was running for a cause beyond stretching my own physical abilities.”
  • Becky Jean: “Anyway, as we were waiting at the start, we were greeted by Oakland’s very own Mark Curry. (You know, from “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper?) He ran through the start line about 10ft from me, giving everyone hi-fives. I thought it was pretty exciting.”
  • The Tao of Me: “The first thing I saw when coming up from the 12th St/City Center BART station was the Oakland Mayor and the actor Mark Curry, aka “Hanging with Mr Cooper.”
  • Mac on a Mission: “The Oakland Marathon runners breezed by my building this morning and there were a ton of them!”
  • The San Francisco Marathon Jog Blog: “I have no plans to run 2 races in the same weekend again, but I will say, it was definitely an adventure.”
  • Meet your new math teacher: “To anyone who has never run a half-marathon: do it. The race today was probably one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.”
  • Runner Girl Knits: “The route was varied and interesting and I saw a few areas of Oakland I’d never been through.”
  • A Bay Area Runner: “Before I get to my performance, I want to state that Oakland did a great job. There were about 1,100 full marathon runners. There also was a half and 5K. Overall it not a large race. Yet, the community came out in full support as if 25K people were running it.”
  • Fish Out of Water: “Yeah, well, the SF Marathon last July couldn’t hold a candle to the nastiness of the Oakland hills yesterday – yikes!”
  • Job Slobs: “So anyway, yesterday’s run was not that well-organized, but even though it was a little crazy and chaotic, the 13.1 miles was totally worth it for one reason: MR. COOPER WAS THERE!”
  • rebron: “I was surprised by the number of people that were out and about cheering (moreso than the San Francisco marathon).”
  • foodfoodbodybody: “But on the other hand, it was a beautiful experience. I loved the community, the being out in my great city, the energy.”
  • Terminal Berkeley Denizen: “The inflatable arch started to collapse! Someone ran under it to hold it up with outstretched arms as the rest of us runners zipped through. Holding up the arch for us: Comedian Mark Curry!”
  • Chasing Silas: “It was a tour of many lovely and not-so-lovely parts of the Town, highlighted for me (who am I kidding – for everybody!) by running through a flaming arch set up for the occasion in front of The Crucible.”
  • Running on Faith: “Check out who greeted us when we crossed the finish line. SUPPOSABLY he was not there when runners crossed earlier. So it is possible that the Big Guy wanted me to cross the finish line later, so I could see the MR. COOPER.”
  • Kathy Runs: “The amount of support and excitement from within the marathon, to the citizens of Oakland was outstanding. I’m definitely going to be running this race again next year!”
  • Entropical Paradise: “One young man rolled up on his motorcycle, and sauntered down to the corner, smoking a cigarette. “I guess I should put this out if I’m gonna watch them run,” he said sheepishly as he dropped his butt on the ground and turned it under a heel.”
  • alamedarunners.com: “Already looking forward to the 2011 Oakland Running Festival!”

And my favorite, from Mariposa Tales:

Although I am not an Oakland native nor a current resident, I couldn’t be more proud of a city that is usually seen in a negative light by the media and outsiders, and is somewhat notorious for having negative relations between its residents and the police department. Today, none of that was seen, felt, or heard. Today, was a good day for the City of Oakland.

Besides all the totally glowing media attention, another cool by-product of the marathon is the fact that like all the streets were closed today. Hooray for Sunday Streets in Oakland! I took a ridiculous amount of pleasure in marching smack down the middle of a totally car-free Broadway this morning to go get coffee after all the runners had passed.

Empty Broadway in Oakland

In other blogoaksphere news, this week saw the debut of another addition to the Oakland new media landscape — Oakland Seen, a project of former City Council candidate Aimee Allison. Jennifer Ward of Scenes From Oakland celebrates the launch by declaring this a golden age in Oakland journalism. I have to admit, it’s pretty freaking cool to think of how far online Oakland media has come in the last four years. When I started blogging, you could, like, count all the Oakland blogs on your fingers. It’s so thrilling how much things have exploded over the past couple of years!

And here’s some posts on other topics I really enjoyed:

Oh, and if you like the idea of car free streets in Oakland on more than one day a year, you may want to consider becoming a member of Walk Oakland, Bike Oakland and getting involved in their Oaklavia campaign.

22 thoughts on “Oakland finally gets a Sunday Streets! Plus, highlights of this week’s blogoaksphere.

  1. Jim T

    I was totally stoked to see
    the return of the marathon, and I give great kudos to the organizers. Well done. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, then, I have one request/question for next time – why were (downtown at least) all the businesses still closed? Flora, Penelope, B, Rattos, caffe 817, etc? What were you thinking?

  2. Doug J

    The marathon reminds us streets are for people. What a great sight, thanks to all of those who put this on.

    Now if you like streets full of people, come out and support Oaklavia, a series of Sunday morning street closures brought to you by WOBO so you can get out and run, jazzercize, rollerskate, do yoga, eat, etc in the middle of your public right of way!

  3. Ralph

    Congrats to Oakland on a most wonderful marathon (well except for that cruel joke at mile 21)!

    As to why the businesses were closed, they were probably thinking they did not want to lose money.

    And people, it is a marathon. it is not a “full marathon.” the recipe for waffles does not say a full cup of milk. it says a cup of milk.

  4. Jim T

    Hey Ralph, thanks for the comment. I think you’re right, but I wonder why our business owners and civic leaders should think that. The streets were busy, at least during the marathon, and likely would’ve remained so had there been any businesses to which these visitors could give patronage. In the grander vision of Oakland, I feel it was a missed opportunity to highlight some of the advances downtown has made in terms of attracting good local businesses. I was wondering if more could be done in the future to highlight that while yes, the streets may have been closed to automobiles, they were open to people, and lots of these people were there with dollars to spend, and opinions to take home.

    Again, I don’t want to sound negative towards what was a great event. I’m excited for Oaklavia, and I hope that that Sunday event gets a little more local business support and involvement. DTO is better than people know, and events like this are great opportunities to change perceptions.

  5. Ralph

    Jim T, I don’t want to rain on your dreams, but the fantasy is better than the reality. Your likely scenario is very unlikely. From my own experience, I know most marathon participants tend to scatter after the event. The last thing we are looking to do is stand around in soaking wet clothes. Additionally out of town runners and guests sometimes have flights to catch right after the race so they are trying to get back to the hotel asap.

  6. matt

    DTO businesses make some boneheaded decisions from time to time. Being closed during the Oakland marathon would be one of those boneheaded decisions. I always hear people complain that Oakland businesses are closed during big events. It’s moronic. When I worked in New hope, PA if a shop or restaurant did that on the day of a city sponsored event the business would be fined.

  7. Robert

    I am always amazed that people who do not own businesses feel free to suggest that the people who do don’t know what they are doing. Or even to suggest that fines are appropriate for a business owner who doesn’t agree with the commenter about the proper business strategy.

    If you want to know why the businesses weren’t open, feel free to look at the photos V posted of Broadway during and after the race and figure out how many customers were around.

  8. Ralph

    Robert, I see you did not get the memo. Private industry works best when government dictates the number of employees, hours of operation, benefits offered yada yada yada

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    Um…I don’t agree with the idea of fining businesses for not being open, but I will note that the DTO was crazypacked with tons of people yesterday afternoon, and the restaurant I went to was superbusy. Those photos were taken at 7:30 in the morning. I don’t think anyone was suggesting Flora should have been open at that hour.

  10. matt

    Umm and meanwhile New Hope… thrives.

    At first it seemed severe but it worked so I say don’t come into the kitchen unless you can take the heat.

    Downtown merchants need to do their part in making Downtown a destination.

  11. matt

    People left after the race passed because there was nothing to do -nothing was open!!!

    Common sense often isn’t.

  12. Ralph

    Matt, speak to me after you have run a marathon. Eateries which tend to benefit from these events are those that are open along the course. People can dine and watch the race. You also need a greater mass. But you are right about one thing common sense often isn’t.

  13. matt

    I’ll speak to you now Ralph. You don’t have a lot of business sense either.

    Many retail/entertainment districts across the US require businesses in those districts to be open during big publicized events. This requirement is not dictated by “the government” as mentioned above, but by the business community itself. This should be the case in Oakland, because it’s obvious there are a lot of business owners here that don’t get it.

    V says that the places that were open were packed. I rest my case.

  14. Chris Kidd

    Wait, so people who don’t own businesses aren’t allowed to criticize how a business is run (since they apparently know best how to do their thing)…

    yet, it’s expected that people who aren’t in government are allowed to criticize how government is run.

    Yes, this makes perfect sense.

  15. Ralph

    Matt, when you can supply evidence of many businesses in entertainment/retail districts being required to be open for big publicized event and owners being fined for not being opened, you might be worth a listen. Until then speak to the hand. And if by your definition business owners don’t get it who is going to fine them. Really, you make no sense.

  16. matt

    Good retail landlords spell out opening requirements in their leases along with the fine amount and the means the landlord will use to assess the fine. A business district can have these requirements in the form of a city ordinance and thus the city can fine a business in violation. A Chamber of Commerce can promote good business practices, but cannot enforce them unless it’s stated in their membership agreement (which would be weird, but legal).

  17. Robert

    Chris, in case you have forgotten, government works for us. Business owners do not work for you.

  18. Steve Lowe

    Matt’s point about good retail landlords is valid: down at the late, lamented Jack London Village, the better, more experienced retailers all voted for strict opening and closing times so that everyone who wanted to drive there would know when the place was open and not be confused when they showed up to find half the shops closed because one or another of the dilettante shop owners got bored and went home early. At that time, the owner of the master lease for the entire complex was more interested in getting his rents, so he wouldn’t enforce the rules of the tenants organization, or make improvements to the place or do a single thing about marketing – and the Port, hoping to tear down the place anyway so that the magnificent development that stands there today might happen, just went along with the master lessor and refused to do a single thing to back up the tenants. So, of the businesspeople who were ultimately running the show: the Port Commissioners; Port CRE staff; the master leaseholder and his minions; the shop owners; who deserves to be roundly criticized?

    Any collection of shops and stores in a given area needs to figure out collectively what its message is if it wants to market itself, and if that message is: we’re only open when it suits some of us to kinda be here sometimes; guess what? Sales (and sales taxes) are seldom very high – but turnover always is. Taking the point of view that a city needs to help orchestrate its retail nodes by incentivizing the formation of BIDs is smart growth, even though the end result may turn out to be an irritation for this or that individual business owner.

    From that POV, anyone can reasonably offer his or her critique of how Businessowner A is failing to run a business, even though running a business, particularly a retail establishment, is a highly personal thing, and you should have to stand in someone else’s booties before trashing their boutique, shop or store. Think of what a mistake it was to have Gap open at 14th & Broadway without a surrounding cluster of ambient stores; now that the place has been closed (probably forever?), the area is considered by other retailers to be a disaster zone that even the long hoped-for trolly (more than a quarter century gone by since first proposed to the head of Downtown Redevelopment) probably can’t save. But who at City Hall knew bupkes about retail back twenty five years ago, or for that matter, even eight years ago during the Gap debacle?

    For a lot of people, it feels in retrospect like the Fishers (owners of the Gap, after all) did a personal favor for the then Mayor, asking only in return that he not get involved in their duplicitous, deceitful, despicable, dirtbag plot to relocate the A’s (of which Fishers own 80%!) out of Oakland entirely. It’ll be real interesting if Meg picks up on that one and throws it on the fire to see how it sizzles. But my guess is that, like just about every other Republican out there, she probably would be happiest if Oakland sank into the muck, and that’d be an end to it.

  19. matt

    Sidebar: The former Gap store is soon to be a shnazzy new Walgreens. I’m not sure about the fate of the existing Walgreens across the street… perhaps a cleaners / nail salon / liquor store : -)