Tag Archives: Farid Javandel
Early plans to build two large roundabouts at Interstate 80 and Gilman Street in Berkeley were on display for the public Wednesday night at the North Berkeley Senior Center.
The project — with an estimated $24 million construction cost — is slated to be complete in 2022, a representative told the dozens of attendees who perused information stations set up around the room.
“This is an area that has a lot of concerns with it,” David Early, principal at Berkeley-based community planning firm Placeworks, told the crowd. “It’s quite a ‘wild west’ kind of scene.”
Scroll down to see a simulation of the proposed circulation.
By the numbers, the problem is stark. Crash data presented Wednesday, from 2011-2013, showed significantly higher than average numbers of injury or fatal collisions, particularly on the north side of Gilman. On the west side off-ramp, those numbers were 80% higher than the state average. On the east side on-ramp, they were a whopping 177% above the state average.
South of the freeway, they were about 30% above the state average at both the on- and off-ramps.
The project involves the two roundabouts on either side of I-80, new sidewalks under the freeway, and a pedestrian and bike bridge similar to the one at Aquatic Park. Perhaps the most controversial elements of the project — in addition to the roundabouts themselves — are the location of the bike bridge, which makes a fairly large detour south before bringing users back up to Gilman, as well as plans to cut off access from Gilman to the frontage road on the east side of the freeway. … Continue reading »
As plans proceed for an updated municipal garage on downtown Berkeley’s Center Street, project details are firming up, and the plan for where people can expect to park while construction is underway has been released.
The city is planning to demolish its circa 1958 5-story parking structure at 2025 Center and replace it with a modern 8-story structure featuring a double-helix design to halve the time it takes drivers to exit the garage.
Last Thursday, July 23, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board learned about the newest iteration of the plans for the project, and gave feedback to city staff about several issues they still hope to see addressed. The project is set to return to the board Aug. 27 for a vote.
Read more about parking in Berkeley.
Earlier this month, the city’s Design Review Committee gave the project a favorable review. The city’s Civic Arts Commission is also on board, and is helping determine the process the city will use to select public art — described as colored LED lighting on the façade — that will appear on site. Last Thursday, zoning board commissioners said they were largely pleased with how the project is coming along.
“I’ve seen this project four times and it gets better and better,” said Commissioner Richard Christiani. “Generally it’s a very well-thought-out building. It’s nice to see so much attention given to a structure like this.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley residents got their first look at the city’s plan to redesign traffic patterns around Shattuck Square on Tuesday night at an open house in the Aurora Theater.
The room was lined with illustrations of the project plans and grids where attendees could rate the current pedestrian, cycling and driving conditions of Shattuck Avenue. Around the displays, engineers, city officials and urban designers associated with the project were on hand to answer questions and provide additional information.
Read more about traffic safety in past Berkeleyside coverage.
The Shattuck Avenue reconfiguration and pedestrian safety project is a part of the larger Downtown Area Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2012 and encompasses environmental goals, transit and access, community health, economic development and more.
Among the most dangerous intersections in the city for pedestrians, the corner of University Avenue and Shattuck is number two on the list for pedestrian-car collisions and near misses. … Continue reading »
‘Double-roundabouts’ approved at Berkeley’s Gilman interchange; can’t happen without Measure BB money
After many months of analysis, and about a decade in development, Caltrans has said the city can move ahead with plans for proposed double-roundabouts in the problematic I-80 and Gilman Street interchange in West Berkeley.
It’s the first time the transportation agency has approved a concept for double-roundabouts in the region, according to city of Berkeley transportation chief Farid Javandel. In early October, Caltrans gave Berkeley staff the green light to move ahead with an environmental review of the project, and the city went public with the news Monday.
Whether the project can actually happen depends on the November election: Funding for the double-roundabouts, along with other significant investments in Berkeley, is part of Measure BB, the county-wide transportation tax. Without approval of that measure, the city won’t be able to proceed. (Scroll down for details.)
Currently, there are eight entry points to the intersection on either side of the freeway. The intersections are controlled by stop signs but drivers are often unsure about who has the right of way. Berkeleyside readers have called the area “a ridiculous mess” and “the most dysfunctional intersection … anywhere in the United States.”
The city has said the intersection “is one of the most problematic in Berkeley. It also generates the most complaints.” … Continue reading »
Authorities have found a 62-year-old Berkeley cyclist at fault for the crash with a vehicle that ultimately took his life about three weeks ago.
In response to repeated inquiries from Berkeleyside, police said Tuesday that Kurt Wehner rode through a stop sign and crashed into a 2008 Volkswagen in a North Berkeley intersection Sept. 21 shortly after 8 a.m. at Spruce and Eunice streets.
Wehner, a longtime Berkeley resident, died the following day at Highland Hospital.
Berkeley police investigators said Tuesday in a prepared statement that Wehner had been riding his mountain-style bike south on Spruce toward Eunice, where there was a posted stop sign for southbound traffic.
“Just prior the bicyclist was passing vehicles on the wrong side of the roadway at an unsafe speed in violation of the posted 25 mph speed limit,” police wrote.
The Volkswagen — driven by a 63-year-old Berkeley resident whose name has not been released — had stopped on Eunice facing east. The driver had proceeded into the intersection when, police say, Wehner crashed into the vehicle. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to study whether permit parking might be needed in more residential neighborhoods throughout the city, and whether the cost to buy those permits should increase.
To be included, residents would have to opt in to the program by garnering the support of at least 51% of homes per block face. In addition, a parking survey would need to show that at least 75% of available street parking is occupied at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Council will set the boundaries but it is residents themselves who will determine which blocks will participate.
Parking in West Berkeley, particularly around Fourth Street and the city Corporation Yard on Allston Way, has been an area of concern for officials, as are blocks near Sacramento Street where many city staff reportedly park.
The city hopes to learn — via a new environmental study — where it might make the most sense to expand the permit parking program. Berkeley currently has 14 permit (RPP) zones in central Berkeley, most of which are near commercial areas. Via the staff report, “The existing RPP zones are bounded roughly on the north by Rose, Hopkins and Eunice Streets; on the east by UC Berkeley; on the south by Woolsey and part of 62nd Street; and on the west by Sacramento and Chestnut Streets.”
The project is driven in large part by BART, which intends to renovate its station entrances, improve travel through the plaza, at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, repave the area and make it easier to for visitors to navigate the area.
Citing budgetary and scheduling constraints, along with a desire to listen to community concerns, AC Transit has removed most of the “controversial” items from its proposal to improve service on the Line 51 bus route in Berkeley.
“I think it’s safe to say it contains a lot less potentially controversial items than previously,” AC Transit representative Robert del Rosario told Berkeley’s Transportation Commission on Thursday night.
The panel voted to recommend the current list of modifications to the Berkeley City Council, which is expected to consider the item in April. Four members of the commission were absent, with commissioners Eric McCaughrin, Darby Watson, Terry Roberts, Ghanya Thomas and Mark Humbert voting unanimously to recommend that council approve the plan. … Continue reading »
Intersections along AC Transit’s Line 51 bus route in Berkeley may see upgrades, if approved by city staff, designed to improve traffic signal timing coordination and allow signals to better recognize when vehicles are waiting for a green light.
The changes are part of a larger plan by AC Transit to speed up and improve service on Line 51. Thursday night, Berkeley’s Transportation Commission approved the signal changes as Phase 1 of the project. City transportation staff said they will take a closer look at those proposals before giving AC Transit the final go-ahead.
More controversial changes under consideration — such as a new traffic light at Russell Street and College Avenue, new bus bulbs, and the removal of numerous parking spots along University and College avenues — will be considered at a later date. … Continue reading »
Out and about around Ashby Avenue over the weekend? Notice anything different?
To some, it may have been just another South Berkeley weekend in November, with the usual hustle of cars and bicycles, trucks and pedestrians. But to others, eyes and ears were attuned to any changes or new twists in traffic, as Saturday marked the threshold from planning for the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, to living it. … Continue reading »
Plans for a bike lane on Tunnel Road — under negotiation for the past year between the city, residents and biking advocates — will be discussed Thursday night at a city Transportation Commission meeting.
Last fall, the city proposed a bike lane on the uphill side of Tunnel Road between the Claremont Hotel and the city line, near Highway 24, a road busy with recreational cyclists as well as bike commuters. The proposal eliminated all parking, making many residents unhappy.
“We take the brunt of all the traffic,” said Jacquelyn McCormick, president of Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association. “To ask one street to give 100% of something is unfair.”
At a meeting Oct. 9, city staff, residents and bike advocates discussed a revised plan, which restored many but not all of the parking spaces along Tunnel Road. Most of the 40 or so residents at the meeting were far happier with this plan, but the sticking point was the block between Oak Ridge Drive and The Uplands, where the road narrows and parking (enough room for up to 20 cars) was still eliminated in favor of the bike lane. … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council agreed on Tuesday night to raise the cost for the annual residential parking permit from $34.50 to $45, a 30% increase. The increase was a compromise following a recommendation from city staff that a 60% increase was necessary to cover the full costs of the Residential Preferential Parking program (RPP).
The RPP is projected to have revenues of nearly $1.6 million for the city in the 2013 fiscal year. But that barely covers the cost of parking enforcement, while the $311,000 cost of permit issuance and $105,000 cost for the transportation to administer the program results in overall losses. When the city council considered overall budget shortfalls in January, it instructed city staff to find ways to cover the RPP program losses. … Continue reading »
Earlier this month, after Berkeleyside’s most recent article on Whole Foods coming to Gilman, several readers asked in the comments section about the status of a city project to reconfigure the intersections at Gilman and Interstate 80.
According to a city flier from last fall, the area has become “overwhelmed” due to multiple commercial venues in its vicinity, such as Golden Gate Fields racetrack, Target in Albany, residential neighborhoods in Berkeley and Albany, and major recreational spots such as the Bay Trail and the Gilman Street Fields. Stop signs on highway off-ramps cause back-ups onto the interstate. The right-of-way for motorists “is confusing, leading to conflict and collisions.”
Berkeleyside readers called the area “a ridiculous mess” and “the most dysfunctional intersection I have seen anywhere in the United States.” … Continue reading »