Posted in East Oakland, Transportation

The Bancroft Parkway

This is one of those posts where I had no writing intention, let alone knowing it existed. Two examples are my most popular post, “The Forgotten Tunnel” or “The Backyard Fence War” I stumbled across articles on both while researching another post. Sometimes they pan out, and I find lots of exciting things to share. I wasn’t so lucky with this post, and it ended up being kind of a dud. I thought I would share it anyway

Groundbreaking

A groundbreaking celebration was held in November of 1956 for the new Bancroft Avenue Parkway, and construction began soon after.

Oakland Tribune November 25, 1956

Bancroft Avenue was to become a major thoroughfare linking San Leandro and Oakland, relieving the traffic on MacArthur, Foothill, and East 14th (now International)

Oakland Mayor Clifford E. Rishell and Alameda County Supervisor were at the controls of an enormous earthmover, lifting the first load of earth.   

Construction for the Bancroft Avenue Parkway near 98th Avenue in the city’s Elmhurst district. DATE: 1956 Photographic print Albert “Kayo” Harris & Associates, photographers. the Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

They symbolized the joint city-county participation.

Oakland Tribune November 25, 1956

The project’s estimated cost was $4,000,000 and was financed jointly from Oakland and Alameda County allocations of state gas tax funds.

Needed Relief

California Highways and Public Works Oakland Progress Page 37 – March- April 1958 

The need for this arterial was foreseen as early as 1927 when the major street plan of the City was formulated. Uncontrolled subdivision in East Oakland in the early history of the city had left a large area with no provision for the important east-west movement

California Highways and Public Works Oakland Progress Page 37 – March- April 1958 

The parkway was to provide the much needed relief of Foothill Boulevard, MacArthur Boulevard and East 14th Street (now international), as well as a direct connection to an existing major city street, Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

Studies for this thoroughfare were commenced in 1941 and protection of the right-of-way started.

The Bancroft Parkway

The parkway was to extend from the San Leandro city limits to East 14th Street(now International) and 46th Avenue.

“The project will convert Bancroft from a rundown noncontinuous street and railroad right-of-way to a major intercity thoroughfare and railroad parkway.”

California Highways and Public Works Oakland Progress Page 37 – March- April 1958 
Corner of Bancroft and 96th Avenues in the Elmhurst district of Oakland, California. 1965 Photographer unidentified. Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

The Design

The parkway had a two-lane section on each side with room for parking. In the center divider was the Southern Pacific railroad spur line to the Chevrolet Assembly Plant.  It was concealed with trees and shrubbery.

California Highways and Public Works Oakland Progress Page 37 – March- April 1958 

The Units 

  • The first unit was 1.17 miles and was from the San Leandro border to 90th avenue.
  • The second unit was between 90th to 79th Avenues. – June 1957
  • The third unit was 79th Avenue to Havenscourt Blvd – Spring 1958

Total Length: 4.25 miles

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1957
Oakland Tribune Aug 26, 1961

Removal of Buildings

The City of Oakland acquired property along the route.

  • The east side of Church Street and 68th Avenue.
  • Between 90th Avenue and Parker Street.
  • The western side of Church Street and 73rd Avenue
  • The south side of Bancroft Avenue east of 74th Avenue.
  • The north side of Bancroft Avenue between 96th and 98th Avenues.

The following is a list of structures that were removed for the extension of the Bancroft Parkway.

Oakland Tribune

A miscellaneous collection of buildings along Bancroft Avenue between 73rd Avenue and Havenscourt Blvd. were offered for sale by the City of Oakland.  

Oakland Tribune Apr 16, 1958

The assortment included duplexes, a store, several homes, and garages. They had to be moved or demolished. The minimum bid was $2,850 for the entire group.

Oakland Tribune 1961

The Final Destinatination

Oakland tribune March 27, 1951

Today Bancroft Avenue is down to one lane in each direction with bike lanes.

More:

The End

Author:

I grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland, CA. I attended Thornhill Elementary School, Montera Junior High, Skyline High School, and spent some time at Merritt College.

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