Saturday, January 20, 2007

Robin Levitt, San Francisco Community Organizer
will speak Monday, January 22 at 6:30 pm on
Urban Success Story - How Turning a Freeway into a Boulevard Transformed a Neighborhood
at the Albany Public Library, Seminar Room 2
Robin will speak about how the people in San Francisco's Hayes Valley transformed their neighborhood overnight by getting the City to tear down part of the freeway.
Robin had the idea of tearing down part of the central freeway. He spent 7 years of his life working on this, and finally convinced the city of San Francisco to tear down 4 blocks of the central freeway in Hayes Valley. In the process of this struggle, a strong neighborhood group formed which later helped organize an architectural competition for the now vacant plots around what replaced the freeway, and is now Octavia Boulevard. Over one hundred and sixty architects from all over the world handed in designs which sparked a discussion among San Francisco citizens.
Robin Levitt is one of San Francisco’s most outstanding community organizers. He cannot leave his house without being recognized on the street, and thanked for helping turn one of San Francisco's most run down neighborhoods into one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Robin was a part of what John King called An Urban Success Story.
The neighborhood group now is in process to convince the city to change the building code so no parking space needs to be provided for any new building, which would lower the cost of new buildings by 1/3 and would promote people walking, using their bikes even more or hopping on one of the many buses in this dense urban neightborhood. Another project of the neighborhood group is to create a mixed income, mixed ethnicity neighborhood, helping to alleviate the concentrated poverty of the elderly and/or low income populations in the city.
Please help spread the word. Robin is very fun to listen to and we promise you this talk will be fun.
The presentation is sponsored by Save the Pine Bush, the Albany Bicycle Coalition and Dorothy Tristman, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District.
“We have all had this experience over the last 20 years, from Los Angeles to Atlanta to Phoenix, that shows that building and widening freeways do not solve our traffic problems ...” Keith Bartholomew, professor at the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment at the University of Utah.

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