Hearts & Minds

Clean Ride by Power the People to Oakland Shore

by | Oct 26, 2021

people riding bikes in Oakland by Lonny Meyer

Clean Air Day ride to the Oakland Shore on October 9, 2021, Keta Price leads the way. Photo: Lonny Meyer

Keta Price, an East Oakland activist and local planner, finds it difficult to get to the nearest shoreline for a little fresh air and time out on the waterfront. Oakland’s bayshore open spaces lie hidden in corners of the giant shipping and trucking landscape of the port, or between airport runways, military bases, industrial zones and bridge on-ramps. If you don’t have a car to wend your way around the concrete superstructures of eight-lane freeways, rail and BART lines, or other obstacles between the city and the Bay, shoreline parks and public open spaces can seem pretty inaccessible.

“We want to stitch East Oakland neighborhoods to the shore and increase public transit access,” says Price, who just launched a project to do just that called Power the People: Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Access Study.

Living and working on resilience projects around the Oakland Coliseum area for years, Price has an intimate knowledge of the landscape and people who live there. Before COVID restrictions suspended service, Price had been impressed with the free Broadway B shuttle, which made a clean, quiet loop with zero emissions to key destinations along Oakland’s main street.

“We want to do the same thing, connect a transit center deep in the neighborhood to parks like Martin Luther King Shoreline with a fare-free clean air bus,” she says. The East Oakland Collective’s Power the People is engaging Black and POC residents in activities  aimed at identifying which clean mobility options would best support them in accessing the shoreline, she says.

On Clean Air Day on October 9, for example, a group of people from the community rode bikes from East Oakland to the shoreline; helped pick up trash from the marsh, creek banks and bayshore; and celebrated with food, music, art and other activities (see slideshow below).

One focal point of Power the People is to explore the feasibility of creating a new fare-free zero emissions bus route along 73rd Ave. The study will also explore other clean mobility options such as biking, walking and skating to bring East Oakland residents from 94603, 94605 and 94621 zip codes to the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline park. Support for the community-led access study is coming from cap-and-trade funding and the Oakland Department of Transportation.

Price begins to talk fast when she gets going on all her ideas for helping Black and POC residents reclaim and restore shoreline spaces, and “explore culturally relevant recreation on the shore.”  She mentions the Bay Trail, Doolittle Drive, resilience and equity hubs, transportation corridors and greenways. “Our neighborhoods need secure access to and from the shoreline in the face of sea level rise, that’s how the transportation infrastructure is tied to climate adaptation,” she says.

Price also points to increased visits to local urban parks and open space during the pandemic. “East Bay Parks recognizes this need, and we have their ear,” says Price, talking about her other endeavors through the East Oakland collective to promote events on the shore that highlight Black culture and educate the community about ecology. “We need to decriminalize Black folks enjoying and holding activities in green spaces,” she says.

Clean Air Day Bike to the Shore Slide Show ~ Photos Lonny Meyer

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Photo of Liberation Park meeting place for bike ride to the shore.
The clean ride to the shore begins at Liberation Park on Foothill Boulevard in Oakland. About 30 people gather for the ride. Liberation Park is a vacant lot turned roller rink and outdoor market created by Black Culture Zone.
riders get started
Riders meet and greet, including BayBe Champ at right, the visionary founder of Scraper Bike Team.
Keta price with megaphone welcomes riders to the event
Marquita (Keta) Price from the East Oakland Collective and Power the People welcomes riders to the Clean Air Day ride to the shore. (Mobile wellness clinic and cooling center RV in back).
public library mobile unit at the cycling event
Two staffers in safety vests (RB at right) bring the mobile unit of the 81st Street public library to the event.
map of how to get to the shore from east oakland
cyclists head down 73rd avenue toward oakland coliseum
Riding down 73rd Avenue toward the Oakland Coliseum.
cyclists on big road
intersction of two streets in Oakland and greenlight for cyclists.
bicyclists o a wide street
Riding on 73rd Avenue, with no bike lanes. In the front, Alex Frank, founder of Camp Mobility. Frank helped with bike ride logistics to ensure the safety of riders.
cyclists in the street at the beginning of their ride to the oakland shore
Khariyyah Shabazz, Higher Ground staff, leads the way with Price.
cyclists sit under bart tracks overhead in a big intersection
A dangerous busy left turn from San Leandro Boulevard onto 66th, an area full of traffic and trucks, under the BART tracks, at the edge of Oakland's industrial district. There are no signs pointing the way to the open air and space of the MLK Jr. Shoreline Park.
bicyclists on the road
riders head over the 66th avenue overpass
Heading over the 66th Avenue overpass over Highway 880, a very busy intersection with no bike lanes.
cyclists reach the shoreline
After a 20 minute ride, cyclists finally see the water.
cyclists arrive at the shore sculpture
Riders take a break when they arrive at the shore, where there are sculptures, near the mouth of Damon Slough.
cyclists going along the waterfront trail, Keta i the lead
bicyclists on bridge over san leandro creek
Crossing San Leandro Creek.
Activites and game tents at the park
Riders find activities, games, and educational information set up at the park.
overview of picnic party with tens and vans and trees and bikes
The Tern picnic area at Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline hosted the party.
speaker in park uniform tells people about the park
District 6 Councilman Loren Taylor (blue button down) listens to East Bay Parks' Morgan Guenther sharing the story of the Martin Luther King Shoreline.
East Bay Parks van provides equipment for litter clean up at table to volunteers.
Volunteers glove up and equip themselves with litter bags and grabbers before setting out to de-trash the regional shore.
group stands at shore getting ready for clean up
According to Keta Price, elder Phoenix (in green vest) is the OG who helped her navigate some of the bike ride challenges. (Shoreline observation deck in background).
guy in pink shirt cleans trash from shore
Jerl Laws from the Black Culture Zone works through the marsh plants on the shore.
a group cleans trash from the shore
two people with Spirt of the community t-shorts work on cleaning the shore
3 people picking up litter including young person
Two volunteers from the Brower-Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies, and their San Leandro Creek project, work the shore. Joining them is the day's youngest participant, Angelica Cunningham, a new East Oakland resident.
people picking up litter on waterfront
Crew cleans waterfront habitats near major industry and transportation hubs, including Oakland Airport in the distance.
two people from california both sides group
four people talking including councilwoman Treva Reed
Councilwoman Treva Reid from Oakland's District 7 talks to community leaders.
resident picks up waterfront trash and puts in bag
resident in orange shirt picks up beach litter
boombox on the back of a bike
DJ's sound equipment arrives by bike.
photo of DJ for party at a park on oakland shore
DJ Outta Pocket plays tunes for the party at the park.
serving food at the party
food tables at a party in the MLK park
Party-goers enjoyed both plant-based (courtesy of Chef Mikhael of Black Seed Cuisine) and meat options at the Shoreline's Tern Picnic Area.
picture of keta price talking in microphone at park
Keta Price shares information about community resources at the party.
boy builds jenga towner
Making a Jenga tower to win a party prize.
sign for making a collage
Groups working to restore San Leandro Creek want to create benches including community art.
game at party on the park
Playing Connect 4 for prizes.
sign for scraper bike team
Scraper Bike Team and Higher Ground are working together to take kids and communities on bike rides to the shore and other places.
photo of bikes piled up in a row
At the end of the day, riders look for their bikes in the tangle of clean air vehicles with no parking spaces on the bayshore. Most head home on two wheels.
Photo of Liberation Park meeting place for bike ride to the shore.
riders get started
Keta price with megaphone welcomes riders to the event
public library mobile unit at the cycling event
map of how to get to the shore from east oakland
cyclists head down 73rd avenue toward oakland coliseum
cyclists on big road
intersction of two streets in Oakland and greenlight for cyclists.
bicyclists o a wide street
cyclists in the street at the beginning of their ride to the oakland shore
cyclists sit under bart tracks overhead in a big intersection
bicyclists on the road
riders head over the 66th avenue overpass
cyclists reach the shoreline
cyclists arrive at the shore sculpture
cyclists going along the waterfront trail, Keta i the lead
bicyclists on bridge over san leandro creek
Activites and game tents at the park
overview of picnic party with tens and vans and trees and bikes
speaker in park uniform tells people about the park
East Bay Parks van provides equipment for litter clean up at table to volunteers.
group stands at shore getting ready for clean up
guy in pink shirt cleans trash from shore
a group cleans trash from the shore
two people with Spirt of the community t-shorts work on cleaning the shore
3 people picking up litter including young person
people picking up litter on waterfront
two people from california both sides group
four people talking including councilwoman Treva Reed
resident picks up waterfront trash and puts in bag
resident in orange shirt picks up beach litter
boombox on the back of a bike
photo of DJ for party at a park on oakland shore
serving food at the party
food tables at a party in the MLK park
picture of keta price talking in microphone at park
boy builds jenga towner
sign for making a collage
game at party on the park
sign for scraper bike team
photo of bikes piled up in a row

About The Author

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

is KneeDeep’s managing editor. She is a Bay Area environmental writer and editor and co-author of a Natural History of San Francisco Bay (UC Press 2011). For the last decade, she’s been reporting on innovations in climate adaptation on the bayshore (Bay Nature). She is also an occasional essayist for the San Francisco Chronicle. In other lives, she has been a vintner, soccer mom, and waitress. She lives in San Francisco close to the Bay with her architect husband Paul Okamoto.