Wood Street Pocket Park
Wood Street Pocket Park Oakland, California
Miller Company designed pocket parks at 14th Street and 16th Street near the intersection of Wood Street in West Oakland, to serve residential communities in the evolving Central Station neighborhood. Construction is complete on the park at 14th Street, now known as the Wood Street Pocket Park. The park at 16th Street is in planning stages, envisioned as part of future renovation in the area.
The pocket parks were designed to provide pedestrian connectivity and strong edge relationships among new and existing residential communities in the neighborhood. The parks create public social space on streets that once carried heavy industrial traffic through the neighborhood.
The central landmark of the neighborhood is Oakland’s historic 16th Street railroad station, built in 1912 in period Beaux Arts style. The station was once the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad, the place where thousands of migrants and visitors first stepped foot on the California Coast. Today the station is flanked by several new residential developments, including Pacific Cannery Lofts and Zephyr Gate (both with landscapes by Miller Company–see Residential Communities for more information).
The 14th Street Pocket Park features the reuse of historic canopy structures salvaged from the train station. The steel butterfly structures that once sheltered passengers on the train platforms have been repurposed to provide shade for quiet seating areas. Tinted translucent panels replace the original concrete panels of the canopies, allowing filtered light to reach those underneath. Raised concrete planter boxes and in-ground beds are filled with a variety of perennials that bring color and texture to the park. A border of palm trees gives vertical contrast to the canopies. A broad central paved area provides a flexible space for socializing or impromptu court games.
The 16th Street Pocket Park is envisioned as an extension of the adjacent plaza at the train station, as part of planned future renovation. Future uses for the train station may include facilities for a community center, museum, or school. The design for the 16th Street Pocket Park provides a transition space between the open plaza and the nearby residences. A concrete seat wall, palm trees, and in-ground plantings are proposed as features to enliven this space.