Piedmont Avenue reopened: New road, sidewalk, bike path

All the power lines have been under-grounded at the newly reopened northbound lane of Piedmont Avenue. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Those of you who take Berkeley’s Piedmont Avenue regularly to get from A to B will be delighted to have seen that the northbound lane has reopened — and it’s much enhanced since it was closed off to enable the construction work being undertaken at Cal Memorial Stadium.

The street has been repaved, there’s a spanking new bike lane, new vintage-style street lighting and a wide sidewalk. A significant improvement is that all the street’s overhead power lines have been under-grounded. There is also a set of new bicycle racks.

Now, a sweeping set of shallow steps leads from Piedmont to Cal’s recently completed Student-Athlete High Performance Center. The center is tucked under the stadium, which is due to be ready to host a home game in September 2012.

Inside Berkeley’s newest, most discreet building [08.08.11]
UC Berkeley’s best work on renovating Memorial Stadium [09.09.11]

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  • Anonymous

    I drive this route fairly often and jogged it the other day.  Overall I really like the new extension to the stadium, and I’m impressed with the amount of trees that were preserved.  It’s too bad the university had to waste all that money at the beginning on the tree-sitters…

  • Chris

    Then why the hell can’t we get our sidewalks repaired in W Berkeley? We were scheduled to have them fixed 2 years ago and all we got were these crappy asphalt patches…

  • Guest

    I am so glad they finally repaved this stretch of road. All the potholes and cracks were becoming a hazard for cars and bikes. Anyone know if there are plans to repave the southbound lanes of Piedmont?

    Stadium Rim Way is also in need of major repairs. I hope the University will repave it when they finish the stadium retrofit.

  • Anonymous

    For what it’s worth, I believe this stretch of road is owned and maintained by the university.  not that this excuses bad roads and sidewalks within the city proper.

  • Guest

    What a shame that the city of Berkeley hasn’t worked with the utilities to underground the wires all over Berkeley, not just downtown and on the busiest streets, but in every neighborhood. Instead, more and more wires are overloading old and increasing dangerous poles. Have you ever watched the number of workers and the time it takes to replace one pole? Can digging a trench require so much more? Walk on campus, look up at the sky, you wont find wire and pole blight there. With the risk of wildfires and earthquakes and all the talk of being prepared, you would think the overhead wires and old, leaning poles would be a major safety concern.

  • DC

    Digging a trench requires much, MUCH more effort, engineering and cost than replacing a pole.  I’ve done both for projects and unfortunately know way more about it than I would like.  Digging trenches, and laying out conduit runs within them is complex as it requires ID’ing all other underground utilities and planning around them, engineering conduit/wire runs, and establishing appropriate places for vaults, connections and pull boxes.  And that’s just the front-end work.  Actually digging trenches, installing appropriate materials to reinforce them, inspecting the work prior to and after wire placement, and pulling wire is complicated and expensive too. 

    That said, yes, the city should have a comprehensive program to get all wiring under-grounded over time.  Other jurisdictions do this.  It just takes planning and budgeting.  Neither of which Berkeley seems very good at.

  • Guest

    Thanks for your input. I like the “Other jurisdictions do this.” I bet they do it for good reasons, safety, first, and visual, second. Certainly, that the public utilities profit from the wires, they could be more responsible for the safety concerns of the public. Undergrounding the wires serves as a worthwhile maintainance investment.

  • Anonymous