Planning for Oakland’s Future

OBID Hosts Kick-off Meeting with Leadership Team

On November 12, 2019, the OBID Board of Directors, along with stakeholders in the Oakland area, met for a kick-off strategic planning meeting. This group, led by BDS Planning & Urban Design, will continue to meet throughout the next year to develop a plan to support the unprecedented growth and future demands of Oakland.

This meeting asked leadership to envision Oakland in 2020 and what they valued about it. Themes such as accessibility, diversity, and opportunities emerged. In a few words, they described the future of Oakland as vibrant, exciting, dynamic and inclusive. They also recognized that improper or poorly planned development may lead to increased costs, unsustainable growth, stagnancy, or loss of character. It was agreed that OBID’s role in the future of Oakland would be a strong and visible advocate for businesses and entrepreneurs. They would act as a catalyst for projects that wouldn’t get done otherwise, and a consensus builder across disparate organizations.

This team will be working throughout the next year to determine their vision and goals for the future of Oakland, and how OBID’s role may develop to support them. Stakeholder interviews, benchmarking trips, focus groups, and additional meetings will help to finalize a strategic plan.

Follow OBID’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on the strategic planning process.

Serving You. Taking Action.

OBID Receives Henry L. Hillman Foundation Grant

Through the generous support of a $150,000 grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the OBID Board of Directors is undertaking a comprehensive strategic plan focused on organizational growth, capacity building and strategic vision. The backdrop to this planning process is Oakland’s unprecedented growth and expansion underway in response to the building of Pittsburgh’s Innovation District. The OBID Board is undertaking this crucial exercise to further prepare our organization to service the demands of Oakland’s advancing global innovation center.

Having just completed a national search, the OBID has engaged the services of a consultant team to manage this process led by BDS Planning & Urban Design (Seattle, Washington) and Elisco’s Creative Café (Pittsburgh). We are excited to be working with the BDS and Elisco team as they bring us extensive knowledge and experience working with business improvement districts and place based management organizations.Working with the OBID Board of Directors, this team will manage the planning process over the next 12 months — and along with your input — help us create a bold, visionary plan that will support the outstanding growth of Oakland and your business.

Oakland For All: The Champions of Accessibility Year-Round

Advocating for a more accessibility-friendly business district, Oakland For All: Beyond Accessible is a collaborative program driven by Oakland stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, local and state government offices, as well as community advocates. Financial support for the program is donated in part by the FISA Foundation, Oakland Transportation Management Association, Oakland Business Improvement District and various private donors.

The mission of the program is to open a pathway to a community without barriers. Oakland For All strives to be an advocate for the creation of user friendly buildings, commercial establishments, public spaces and communities. Raising public’s awareness of accessibility and ADA is another key element of the program. The goal is not only to eliminate barriers for people with disabilities in Oakland, but also to help improve their quality of life. Eventually, Oakland For All hopes to transform Oakland into a model community that can be replicated in the greater Pittsburgh area and potentially throughout the country.

A big shout out to the committee members of Oakland For All – Alisa Grishman, Joan Stein, John Tague, Martell Covington, Mary Fletcher, Regis Charlton, Rev. Sally Jo Snyder, Vanessa Braun and everyone else on the committee! Thank you for being the flag bearers of this mission and for your valuable insights into making Oakland for all!

Oakland RAMP Crawl

The RAMP Crawl is an annual event that serves to increase awareness on accessibility along with an element of fun. Participants visit all the accessible establishments that are in Oakland, one at a time, while enjoying their services (food, drinks and more!). During registration one can expect gift bags, free drink tickets, swag and most importantly, a trip around Oakland with like-minded people who care and advocate for accessibility. 

RAMP Crawl is an initiative of Oakland for All – which in turn is a program run by OBID which advocates for creation of accessible establishments in Oakland. It was launched two years ago. Collectively, four businesses stepped forward for this event to champion accessibility. Sushi Fuku, MilkShake Factory, Yoga U PGH and Mario’s Oakland Saloon have been at the forefront of making their businesses accessible. 

OBID is committed to pushing for accessibility in the Oakland community and will continue to advocate for inclusivity!

Championing Accessibility

Oakland business owners set the example today for a more accessible neighborhood tomorrow.

Oakland strives to be an accessible and inclusive community every day. Over the years, Oakland businesses have taken the initiative to set the example for the future of accessibility in Oakland: The Milk Shake Factory (3612 Forbes Avenue), Yoga U PGH (3608 Forbes Avenue), Sushi Fuku (120 Oakland Avenue), Mario’s Oakland Saloon (116 Oakland Avenue), and Zen’s Noodle House (3531 Forbes Avenue). From curb ramps, to sufficient room for a wheelchair to navigate indoors, these businesses have truly made Oakland for all.

Here is what some of our champions had to say about their initiatives!


“With the help from OBID, ADA consultant Jones and matching grant, we installed a permanent ramp with auto door opening buttons.  We want everyone to enjoy our services!”

Laurel Chiappetta, YOGA U PGH

“The design of space has always been on my mind. We have easy access entry with automatic door opening. Our props in the studio are strategically placed in a way that is accessible. Ability, body type, size, shape – none of these will be a hurdle to anyone who wants to attend our classes!”

Urban Redevelopment Authority in collaboration with OBID has made it possible for these transformations to take place. We will continue to advocate for and create user-friendly buildings, commercial establishments and public spaces in Oakland.