After five years of slow progress working with the City of Berkeley, the developer that’s proposing a mixed-use housing and retail project on the site of the Spenger’s parking lot has invoked the new California law, SB35. SB35 allows developers to by-pass local approval when projects are submitted with 50% of the units priced below market. If the project can be constructed without negatively impacting significant archeological resources, then Livable Berkeley believes this project could bring significant market rate and affordable housing to West Berkeley along with shopping in a transit-oriented location. Please let the Berkeley City Council know what you think. Read More
On the evening of March 15th, a meeting about possible housing development at North Berkeley BART proceeded in an atmosphere of civility, with opinions respectfully discussed. The event featured presentations by City Councilwoman Linda Maio, Mayor Jesse Arreguín, BART Director Rebecca Saltzman, and BART’s Chief Planning and Development OfficerVal Menotti. The event drew an impressive turnout of more than 300 people. The informational event gave neighbors the opprotunity to ask questions, get answers, and give feedback. Read more here. Livable Berkely thinks the next step should be additional City and BART sponsored meetings for planning housing at North Berkeley BART (as well as Ashby BART) for inclusion in the City’s General Plan. What do you think about housing at North Berkeley BART?
Crime casts a shadow over all the great things happening in the City of Berkeley. The City is currently in the middle of a public safety officer hiring crisis, while crime is growing at an alarming rate. As of December 2017, the Berkeley Police Department was down to only 160 safety officers – which is 20 officers short of the department’s 181 target. Read Emilie Raguso’s excellent article about the department’s hiring challenges here. While safety officer numbers have been steadily dropping, violent crime is rising annually. Violent crime increased by 12%, 18% and 20%, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Read more about the growing crime issue here. Livable Berkeley believes that public safety is an essential quality of great communities, and we find these trends unacceptable. Let the Council know that they need to solve the police hiring and retention issue as a priority and control the crime problem in our city.
Berkeley Honda finally reopened its doors March 23rd at its new Shattuck Avenue location in the former home of Any Mountain Sports. Read more here. Livable Berkeley is pleased with the outcome, but the process of relocating this important tax generating business took far too long. Livable Berkeley believes that significant tax generators and a healthy tax base are crucial for having the financial resources to do generous, interesting and innovative things in a city. Let the Council know that they did the right thing by retaining Berkeley Honda and encourage them to move the process along more quickly the next time a significant tax generator requires local assistance to stay in town.
The City of Berkeley has taken a step forward in communicating where public dollars are spent. In response to the passage of Measure T1, a $100 million bond to improve existing infrastructure in Berkeley, the City’s staff created the T1 story map. This website shows a map view of projects funded with T1 bond money and provides a short description of how the projects will improve our city. The projects range from community center upgrades, to irrigation modernization, to a citywide needs assessment for public restrooms. If you are a Gilman Fields user you may have already seen that the artificial turf has been replaced as part of these planned improvements. Livable Berkeley supports this step towards transparency and is excited to see many of these projects come to fruition. As some of the bigger projects progress, like the pier renovation design, Livable Berkeley will be sure to keep you informed and provide you with an opportunity to give your input.
Livable Berkeley is holding another informal get-together at Comal in Downtown Berkeley. Meet members and learn about our mission to make the Berkeley community “livable” by promoting policies that create positive change in housing, transportation, environmental stewardship and more.
Creating a sustainable, equitable, and vibrant Berkeley requires many diverse perspectives. Livable Berkeley believes that through collaboration and teamwork, we can meet this challenge head-on.
Through the advocacy of Livable Berkeley and other civic organizations, the City launched Peak Democracy’s online civic engagement platform under the brand, Berkeley Considers. Over 150 cities in North America use this tool to hear from citizens on policy issues, budgeting and other critical local issues. Check out Peak Democracy’s website and see how other cities use this great citizen engagement tool, and compare that to how we use it in the City of Berkeley (link). We think it’s great that the City launched Berkeley Considers, but we want the City to use is for Berkeley’s most material issues. Email the Council with your ideas about what issues the City should post on Berkeley Considers, or other ways we might use Berkeley Considers to promote citizen engagement and better decision making. See More
A recent tweet by Mayor Jesse Arreguin noting that it’s time to build housing in the parking lot at North Berkeley BART, triggered a hailstorm of comments on NextDoor and Berkeleyside. EBFE (East Bay for Everyone, an active pro housing group) jumped in with comments and recommendations for what they believed to be the right direction for new housing on this BART parking lot, including a 30+ story high rise. Other commenters demonized anyone who wanted housing there. Livable Berkeley believes that near transit locations are the right places for dense, well-massed housing, and that it’s possible to integrate that housing into existing neighborhoods. Others agree. Check out this thoughtfully written opinion piece on Berkeleyside: Housing at North Berkeley BART Read More
Skip the traffic jams! Tideline Ferry now provides small ferry commuter service between Berkeley and San Francisco. Tideline departs from K dock in the Berkeley Marina and arrives at pier 1-1/2 in 20 minutes! Give this uncongested alternative to the Berkeley/San Francisco commute a try. Email the Council to support transportation alternatives. Read More
Bike sharing is taking off in the East Bay. Berkeley now has five locations for Ford GoBike, making it easier to take short trips and to get to BART. Email the council to support bike sharing. Read More
New bike and bus lanes are now complete on Bancroft Way, facilitating safe two- way bike transit along the edge of the UC campus. We’d like to see more bike friendly streets in Berkeley. Email the Council to articulate your support for bike friendly streets. Read More
Thursday, March 29 5:30 – 7:00
Livable Berkeley will be holding an informal get together at Comal in Downtown Berkeley. Meet members and learn more about our mission to make the Berkeley community more “livable” by promoting policies that create positive change in housing, transportation, environmental stewardship and more.
Creating a sustainable, equitable, and vibrant Berkeley requires many diverse perspectives. Livable Berkeley believes that through collaboration and teamwork, we can meet this challenge head-on. If you support our mission and are interested in becoming a member please visit our website or Facebook page. Thank you for your continued support in creating a more livable community.