When Westfield Centre opened in Downtown San Francisco in September 2006, no new parking structure was built to accommodate the approximately 25 million people that were expected to visit the mall each year. Instead, the basement level food court was physically connected to the concourse mezzanine of Powell Street Station, to emphasize that transit was the most natural travel mode to access the mall; and nearby parking garages, such as Fifth and Mission, have proven sufficient to absorb additional motorists. Oakland’s Uptown District boasts a similarly extensive list of transit options that reach both locally and regionally. So why does the Revelopment Agency, along with Oakland City Councilmembers Brunner, Kernighan, and Reid, support, of all things, a new surface parking lot next to the recently-opened Fox Theater? Especially when there is already ample (in fact, probably excessive) parking in the surrounding area, and when the proposed parking lot will not even prove lucrative during the span of time it takes for Forest City to ready itself for construction of the mixed-use development that will eventually occupy this vacant parcel? Given plans to develop the site in the year 2011 with about 220 housing units and 20,000 square feet of retail, it does not really make sense to spend money to construct and maintain a use that will only have to be dismantled in a couple years, especially if people grow attached to that particular use. The provision of any additional open space ought to be coordinated in conjunction with the planned development, and there is open space nearby in any case, built as a component of the first phase of Forest City’s Uptown project. But that does not justify resorting to a parking lot — even one billed as “temporary” — whose presence will disrupt the pedestrian experience and damage an urban fabric that is in the process of being made whole. Uptown has become increasingly vibrant in recent months, so perhaps the City Council has already forgotten the blighting effect of the vacant lots that existed in years prior. Our humble advice to planners, councilmembers, supervisors, and the like? When in doubt, turn to Ms. Jacobs. She remarked: ” … parking lots … are powerful and insistent instruments of city destruction.” Any Oaklanders reading this post who happen to feel perturbed by this flash of 1950s-era suburban planning transported to the East Bay’s urban core are encouraged to write to their Councilmember, or to speak against the parking lot proposal at this week’s City Council meeting.