Cypress Freeway

The Cypress Freeway was just one of the urban developments that struck a fatal blow to an already embattled West Oakland.

Built in the 1950’s, the construction of the freeway effectively severed West Oakland from the downtown and from Oakland’s more affluent communities. By the time the freeway arrived, West Oakland was already facing economic hardship. During WWII, people came to Oakland from all over the United States to find jobs in Oakland’s shipyards and transit stations. Once the war ended, the boom began to bust. Continue reading “Cypress Freeway”

Postal Distribution Facility Moves In

Postal FacilityThe construction of a massive postal distribution facility, along with a freeway and elevated train, ushered in a new era for West Oakland in the 1960s.  With its parking and storage lots, the postal facility took up 12 square blocks and contributed to increased pollution in an area already plagued with health problems. When it was built on 7th Street from Wood to Peralta, it displaced every structure on  the street’s south side. Continue reading “Postal Distribution Facility Moves In”

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Moves In

In the 1960s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, also known as BART, was instrumental in the decline of West Oakland’s struggling 7th Street neighborhood.


Early that decade, BART proposed building a track down the center of 7th Street to service shoppers and commuters traveling to downtown San Francisco. Many in the neighborhood believed that BART’s District Board was heavily weighted in favor of San Francisco’s business interests. Some speculated that Oakland was simply a thoroughfare for people from wealthier parts of the Bay Area who shopped or worked in San Francisco, with poor minority neighbors bearing the brunt of the impact promised by a significant BART undertaking.
Continue reading “Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Moves In”