Tag Archives: John Caner
Forget a mere box of chocolates or a bouquet of red roses or a pretty pink heart. The Downtown Berkeley Association has much bigger plans for Valentine’s Day.
To celebrate love, and the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and the overturn of Proposition 8, Berkeley will be holding a mass outdoor wedding for gay, straight and other couples on Friday. Everyone who decides to say “I Do,” at the 5:00 p.m. celebration near Berkeley BART also gets the chance to win an instant mini-honeymoon in downtown Berkeley.
“What better way to celebrate the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8 than a mass wedding for all?” said John Caner, the CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association. “Our merchants were thrilled to donate mini honeymoon packages for three lucky couples.” … Continue reading »
A new project underway to improve the BART plaza in downtown Berkeley is gaining steam, with a public workshop scheduled for Monday afternoon.
The project, funded in part by a grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission, includes renovation of the BART entrances, a new bus shelter and a redesigned Constitution Plaza. It is estimated to cost $11.44 million, most of which will be covered by the grant.
Members of the public will have a chance to review the project goals and timeline, meet the design team and share opinions about design sustainability, transit infrastructure, bike and pedestrian amenities, and downtown commerce and arts. … Continue reading »
More than 1,400 housing units are currently in development in downtown Berkeley, with demolition on one of the first in the pipeline scheduled to begin this week.
There are eight projects, including a hotel, planned in the downtown core, with two more planned just south, on Dwight Way, and another proposal on University Avenue just west of downtown that’s set to have its first public city review next week.
Demolition for The Durant, which has frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way, was slated to begin Monday, Jan. 13, according to Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner.
Caner said the project is expected to break ground for construction several weeks after that.
According to Downtown Berkeley Association calculations, the new projects will bring at least 1,414 new units and more than 88,000 square feet of new retail space to the downtown area. Not included in those calculations is the project just beginning city review, The Overture, which would bring an additional 44 units and 4,151 square feet of retail and restaurant space to the city’s core. … Continue reading »
A Carmel-based developer and UC Berkeley graduate will submit plans to Berkeley tomorrow to construct a 16-story, 180-foot tall hotel with office space, meeting rooms, and retail space at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.
The new complex, proposed by Jim Didion and Center Street Partners LLC, will replace the 1970s-era one-story Bank of America building and parking lot, and, if approved, transform one of the most visible corners in downtown Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Parking in downtown Berkeley may get harder before it gets easier as a new project ramps up to demolish and rebuild the Center Street garage to add hundreds of spaces, improve seismic security and incorporate “green building” standards.
The project is expected to strain parking demand downtown, where availability is often scarce already. City staff have been working to improve the parking situation via its goBerkeley campaign, which has been underway this year. Merchants have been keeping a close eye on the Center Street project and say they hope the city will be thoughtful as it moves ahead.
The five-story Center Street parking garage — which has entrances on both Addison and Center streets — has 420 spaces, ground floor retail and was built in the 1950s, according to the staff report prepared for last week’s Berkeley City Council meeting. Tuesday night, as part of the consent calendar, the Council approved paying up to $1 million to a consultant who will plan and manage the project. … Continue reading »
Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council voted to change parking rates in three city-owned garages, downtown and near the Cal campus, as part of its goBerkeley effort to change driver behavior and make it easier for visitors to find street parking.
The multi-pronged campaign has been underway since earlier this year, and has included the promotion of alternative modes of transportation — via the distribution of car-sharing memberships and free transit passes — as well as adjustments to parking meter rates and time limits downtown, south of the UC Berkeley campus and in the Elmwood.
The pilot program aims to reduce pollution, congestion and drivers circling for a spot by using what’s known as demand-responsive pricing, which sets parking rates based on a supply-and-demand philosophy. The most convenient spots tend to be the most expensive and are available for shorter amounts of time, while spots further away, which are in less demand, are cheaper and can be used for longer periods. … Continue reading »
The Fair Campaign Practices Commission has decided to investigate whether any campaign laws were broken when the Yes on Measure S campaign paid people from $50 to $100 in cash to pass out campaign material on election day.
The commission also wants staff to look into whether the Yes on S campaign paid for an extra printing of endorsement fliers put out by the Berkeley Democratic Club without declaring its participation.
The decision to investigate came as the commission considered another complaint on Sept. 19 filed by Patricia Wall, executive director of the Homeless Action Center, and Bob Offer-Westort, the coordinator of the No on Measure S campaign. Measure S, which was defeated in November 2012, would have made it illegal to sit on sidewalks in commercial districts for much of the day. … Continue reading »
A mobile art gallery, numerous dancers, DJs, artists, art cars, and a host of surprises are in store when Berkeley Spark is held on Saturday at Civic Center Park. The 10-hour free festival will bring a touch of Burning Man’s Playa to downtown Berkeley.
Berkeley Spark was conceived both for “Burners” deep into preparations for the annual gathering at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert at the end of August, and for Berkeleyans to get a dose of the free spirits and creativity of Burning Man.
“We’re offering a space for other creative instantaneous collaborations to occur,” explains Kat Parkin, project manager for Berkeley Spark. … Continue reading »
A mayor’s office request to set Berkeley’s minimum wage more than $2 above than the state-mandated $8 per hour will be discussed at two city meetings this week.
The proposed policy shift has some local business owners concerned about whether they can afford the change, and how it might affect the city’s economy. Proponents of similar measures say they increase income equality and provide the people who earn the least with more room for discretionary spending. … Continue reading »
Berkeley expects to get $12.7 million in grant funding for changes to BART Plaza, Shattuck Avenue and Hearst Street that should make life easier for people using the Downtown BART station and buses, biking to campus and even just driving through the center of town.
On Thursday, May 23, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) voted unanimously on an initial approval of the city’s grant proposals for the three transit projects. Construction could begin in 2015, said Matt Nichols, principal transportation planner for the city. … Continue reading »
A free, one-day festival on Saturday, Aug. 10, hopes to bring some of the spirit of the Burning Man Playa to downtown Berkeley. Berkeley Spark plans to bring art, music, performance, dance and workshops led by so-called Burners — Burning Man participants — and East Bay artists to Civic Center Park.
“We want to tap into all the creative energy of Burners in Berkeley and the East Bay,” said John Caner, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Association, which is sponsoring the event in partnership with Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development, Berkeley Partners for Parks, Livable Berkeley, Ecology Center, Streets Alive and Berkeleyside. “We want to get some of that Burner energy downtown.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council last night unanimously approved both the Downtown Streets & Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and a schedule of fees that will help fund the proposed projects. SOSIP aims to help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown, and will help guide the design of parks, plazas and streetscapes in the area.
The SOSIP is the first concrete action on the streets and open space provisions of the Downtown Area Plan, which was approved by the council in March 2012.
“I’m very excited about a lot of the projects put forward,” said council member Jesse Arreguín, whose district includes downtown. ”If we can do even a fraction of these projects, it would really make a difference in making downtown a much more pedestrian friendly and vibrant environment.”
The major projects identified in the SOSIP as priorities are: … Continue reading »