Will the city let developers buy parts of Coltart and Zulema streets in Oakland?
There have been several articles in other publications about developer Oakland Gateway Ventures’ plans to purchase more than an acre of land from the city and build an apartment-hotel complex along Bates Street. A public meeting with local residents and students also was held.
The plans include buying parts of Coltart and Zulema streets, which would cut off access to Bates for residents and commuters. Traffic from Bates to the Boulevard of the Allies would be at the main intersection only. Coltart and Halket Street residents would be driving around in semicircles through gridlocked traffic every time we go east or south. Fire and ambulance service would be significantly slower. It certainly would not make Pittsburgh a more livable city for us.
Neighbors have called various city offices, and each office has assured us that there is a long process ahead for the developers, and that citizens will have an opportunity to speak at the public hearings. In the meantime, the developers are reporting that they are moving forward on the project.
Who represents the citizens? The city, of course. The mayor, our council representatives and every office in the city exist for its citizens. But how can a small group of ordinary people stop the rich and powerful from getting what they are already saying they can take as theirs? Is our last vestige of neighborhood of any value to the city? Or is Oakland just prey to a perpetual machine grinding up all the residential homes and streets, creating a megalopolis of profiteers?