Jack London is closing Barnes and Noble book store. It seems like the perfect place for an urban renaissance but its so disconnected from Downtown Oakland by the freeway that it hasn't drawn any of the energy from the employment center. There's even a relatively close BART station if you consider the blocks are of a walkable size and most of the attractions are about a half mile away. But the highway is daunting. I often wonder what would have happened if they trenched the freeway or just made it an urban boulevard for a number of blocks to allow a smoother connection between the urban fabric that existed before the freeway. Ultimately I believe that this is the perfect connection for a streetcar, but it would be nice if there were no highway as well.
(The photo shows Jack London just south of the freeway before the waterway. The Lake Merritt BART station is just north and downtown Oakland is Northwest)