Fall News: N. Berkeley BART Developer Public Presentations & More

Dear Neighbor,

Our community mourns the senseless loss of three young people—Isamaeli (Eli) Mata’afa and Jazy and Angel Sotelo Garcia—to gun violence. You can support their families and memory by making a donation:

Support the family of Isamaeli (Eli) Mata’afa by clicking HERE. The Berkeley Public Schools Fund has established the Jazy and Angel Scholarship Fund.

As Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Policy Committee, I will continue to advocate for investments to ensure families feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.  

In this newsletter:

SAVE THE DATE: N. Berkeley BART Developer Candidate Public Presentations on Thurs., Nov. 10

This past July, the City of Berkeley and BART jointly released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the creation of homes at the N. Berkeley BART Station, in compliance with state law AB 2923.

As part of the selection process, the City and BART will hold a Public Presentations Meeting with developer candidates on Thurs., Nov. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m.

N. Berkeley BART Station. Photo: Jill Martinucci

The meeting will take place in a hybrid format, with in-person and online participation available. Each developer team will present their credentials, experience, and past projects, followed by a brief moderated Q&A period. Attendees will be encouraged to provide feedback on the developer teams via a survey.

In-person Location: Berkeley Unified School District Boardroom, 1231 Addison Street. Masks will be strongly encouraged in keeping with current public health orders.

Remote Instructions:

Telephone: 216-706-7052 | Toll free: 866-528-2256  

Conference code: 878095

*Note that the survey will not be available to those joining by phone.

More information is available here: https://www.bart.gov/about/business/tod/north-berkeley
Please refer to my August newsletter for answers to frequently asked questions related to  design, height, and parking.

Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Permit Expansion to West Berkeley

The Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program gives residents the option to pay an annual fee to generally limit parking on their block to two hours or less for non-residents (with visitor permits available). Unfortunately, a large swath of the residential neighborhoods in West Berkeley have historically been excluded from being able to opt into the RPP program.

Hopkins Street. Photo: Libby Lee-Egan

Earlier this month, the Council unanimously passed my item requesting expansion of RPP to West Berkeley neighborhoods within two blocks of commercial corridors. I also requested an adjustment to the annual RPP fee in order to ensure adequate enforcement in all RPP zones. (Our Public Works staff had previously introduced a similar proposal, but Council action was not taken due to the pandemic.)

As West Berkeley experiences more development along San Pablo Avenue and other commercial corridors, this change will ensure that existing residents of neighborhood blocks have the option to limit parking to two hours for non-residents (if a majority of residents on a block wish to do so).

Construction Updates: Gilman Interchange & Ohlone Greenway

Gilman Interchange Reconfiguration: Phase 1 of the project is a new pedestrian and bicycle overcrossing, scheduled for completion in 2023.

Phase 2 of the project includes the long-awaited roundabouts (for exiting and entering the I-80 freeway) as well as closing the gap in the Bay Trail at the west end of Gilman Street, creating a dedicated two-way cycle track along Gilman Street from the interchange to Fourth Street, and safety improvements at the Gilman/Union Pacific Railroad crossing. Phase 2 work should begin this season, with a target end date in 2024, weather permitting.  

To view video simulations of the improvements, click HERE and navigate to “Fact Sheets.”

Ohlone Greenway Safety Improvements: The City has received county funding for major improvements to the Ohlone Greenway. The project is intended to improve roadway crossings at Cedar, Rose, Hopkins, Peralta, Gilman and Santa Fe; widen the path where feasible; and enhance lighting throughout. A public engagement process will begin in early 2023 with construction beginning in spring 2024.

Support Old Finnish Hall

The Old Finnish Hall (located at 1819 Tenth Street) has fallen into disrepair. My office has been supporting the effort to restore the landmarked building, and you can read more in Berkeleyside. A GoFundMe has been established to replace the roof so the hall is not destroyed by winter rain. 

For more information on the roof repair, contact Bryce Nesbitt: bryce2@obviously.com.

Photo: “2022 Toveri Tupa – Finnish hall Berkeley” by tbo47

Covid Recovery Grants for Small Businesses

Alameda County is offering Covid recovery grants (up to $10,000) to local businesses that were impacted during the pandemic through a very simple online application process (applications are due Oct. 31). See details and apply here: https://eastbayeda.org