By Rob Arias / E’Ville Eye
Residents in Oakland’s Golden Gate neighborhood are rallying to prevent a proposed renovation at the McDonald’s at 6623 San Pablo Ave. that would also expand the restaurant’s 24-hour drive-thru to seven days a week.
Neighbors are concerned with the increased litter, traffic and violence this might bring to the historically troubled stretch of San Pablo Avenue. The restaurant currently opens 24/7 on three weekend nights. A reported 50 neighbors were in attendance for a Feb. 5 community meeting with the franchise owner, Ed Smith, his development consultant, and a representative of McDonald’s Corporation.
The restaurant rebuild is being required by the corporation as part of a nationwide modernization effort. This particular franchise was identified as the oldest in Northern California. The owners are arguing that the increased hours are necessary to offset the cost of the rebuild, and that the bigger building and longer hours would actually benefit the community by providing needed food at all hours and by “attracting police as customers”. Mr. Smith reported that roughly 60-65% of the restaurant’s revenue is generated by drive-thru customers and estimated the restaurant itself clears approximately 1,100 transactions per day.
Residents, already fed up with the existing safety problems in the area — that reportedly include vehicle noise and speeding, drug dealing and prostitution –are worried that 24/7 drive-thru service would only exacerbate these problems.
Neighbors have also created the website McLitter.com to spotlight the issues of litter that are inherent with car-centric fast-food establishments. The site purportedly captures a matrix of 67 examples of littering found within a one-mile radius walk of the store.
Residents are miffed about the short notice the community was provided and what they say is an outdated, inaccurate and incomplete city staff report about the project. Neighbors are advocating the hearing be delayed so the project can be properly noticed and vetted by the community.
Concerned neighbors were asked to email David Valeska, the Oakland Planning Commission head planner for this project before Feb. 10 (when public comment period ended) and to attend the planned Feb. 18 public hearing. The complete Planning Commission staff report can be read here.
Read more about neighbors’ efforts and use the automated comment form on the SPAGGIA website.
This article was first published on Feb. 9 by E’Ville Eye, the local independent news site for Emeryville, founded and edited by Rob Arias.