Tag Archives: Measure M

Staff: Measure M has Berkeley streets in better shape

"Microsurfacing" on Durant Avenue in Berkeley has made for a smoother ride. Photo: City of Berkeley
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With the help of Measure M, the city of Berkeley is making strides to repair street conditions and add innovative “green infrastructure” projects around town that are helping improve stormwater quality, city staffers told the Berkeley City Council earlier this week.

Tuesday night, staff presented an update on Measure M to council. The measure was approved by voters in November 2012 to take a more aggressive approach to street paving, and also build capacity for watershed-related projects.

Officials said it was a report by City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan in 2011 that helped bring the sorry state of Berkeley’s streets to light. Hogan found that Berkeley’s streets had an average score of 58 on the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), in the “at risk” range but approaching “fair.”

By 2018, as a result of Measure M and other efforts by the city to address the problem, staff believes Berkeley will have boosted its score to 65, which is in the “fair” range of 60-69.

“It may not on its face seem like a significant increase, but it really is,” Sean Rose, manager of engineering, told council Tuesday night. Rose said the average score for the nine Bay Area counties is 66, and that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission would like cities to reach a score of 75, which is in the “good” range on the PCI. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to repave 11 miles of streets by October

For the complete map, click the image. Photo: Google Maps
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The city of Berkeley is set to repave 11 miles of about 40 streets this summer.

The extensive project is part of an uptick in roadwork that is moving at more than twice the normal rate, according to a statement released by the city last week. The work is funded in large part by Measure M.

The projects, which begin this month and are scheduled to be completed by October, focus on reducing flooding and stormwater runoff by using green building techniques. Pothole repairs and general street repairs were not included in Measure M and are not the focus of this summer’s paving projects, the city said. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The decay of Berkeley’s infrastructure

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On May 12, the city of Berkeley’s budget manager, Teresa Berkeley-Simmons, will present to city council the proposed spending over the next five years for capital improvements. This includes money to be spent on sidewalks, streets, parks, storm drains, sewers, and transportation such as bike improvement projects.

Between 2016 and 2020, Berkeley plans to decrease its spending on infrastructure by 43% from approximately $36 million to $20 million, a reduction of $15 million.

This cut is despite an acknowledgment by Christine Daniel, the city manager, that “Berkeley is an aging city and thus its infrastructure faces challenges that other younger cities do not.” … Continue reading »

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Floods, outages keep Berkeley busy as storm hits

Flooding closed Ashby Avenue late Thursday afternoon. Authorities say it may be open by midnight. Photo: Jennifer Lazo
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Berkeley city workers handled more than 100 requests related to flooding, and more than 30 calls for tree-related issues, Thursday during a large storm that has been sweeping the Bay Area, authorities said.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city had received 127 calls about flooding as of nearly 3 p.m., and 34 calls about tree-related issues. All of those calls had been cleared by 5 p.m. Staff also gave out more than 5,000 sandbags to Berkeley residents, who were able to pick them up at locations around the city.

Malcolm X Elementary School also experienced significant flooding, and Chakko said the Berkeley Unified School District — which had shuttered all schools and offices Thursday due to the weather — was handling that issue.

See Berkeleyside’s live blog of the “Pineapple Express” storm’s local impacts.

There were several street closures, on Bolivar Drive and Bay Street, and around Ashby Avenue (which is also known as California 13). By late afternoon, Ashby around Interstate 80 had been closed in both directions due to flooding, authorities said. Ashby was expected to re-open by midnight Friday.

(Watch a playlist below of many storm-related videos shared with Berkeleyside by readers Thursday.) … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: How come my street isn’t getting fixed?

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How come my street isn’t getting fixed?

Since Berkeley’s Five-Year Street paving plan came to Council November 18 (item 39), a lot of people have asked “how come my block isn’t on the list? It’s in major disrepair.” The answer is in our 2011 Streets audit; we provided a road map for getting the most bang for the buck for every dollar spent on streets. Repair costs increase exponentially when maintenance is deferred. This means the City needs … Continue reading »

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In potholed city, which Berkeley streets will be paved?

Find out if your street will be paved in the next two years by consulting our interactive map. (Blue lines are scheduled for 2014, and red lines are scheduled for 2015.)
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The city of Berkeley has budgeted nearly $15.4 million through June 2015 to repave nearly 25 miles of city streets, many of which are in rough shape and desperate need of improvement.

So which streets will be paved? Berkeleyside has created an interactive map — scroll down to view it — to show which streets are on the list for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Streets marked in blue are set to be repaved in 2014 by June, while those in red are slated to be fixed in fiscal year 2014-15. … Continue reading »

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City Manager Christine Daniel details Berkeley’s finances

City Manager Christine Daniel, leaving for the deputy position in Oakland. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Isabelle Gaston, president of the North East Berkeley Association, recently did an email interview with Christine Daniel, Berkeley’s City Manager, about the financial health of Berkeley for NEBA’s newsletter. Gaston provided the interview for reprinting on Berkeleyside. It has been edited to conform to Berkeleyside style:  

Gaston: How would you characterize the overall financial health of the city? 

Daniel: The City of Berkeley weathered the financial downturn better than many jurisdictions. While reductions in staffing were felt throughout the city organization and resources for a variety of programs were reduced or eliminated due to decreased funding from sources such as the state and federal governments, Berkeley property values remained relatively stable compared to values in the region, and sales taxes, while suffering a decline in FY 2010, have recovered.  However, property transfer taxes suffered a significant decline which affected the city’s ability to invest in infrastructure maintenance. Those revenues are now beginning to recover, but are not yet at pre-recession levels.  … Continue reading »

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Have your say on improving Berkeley’s streets, watershed

Residents attended a meeting in early May to learn about the planning process for Measure M spending. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Residents interested in street improvements and the city’s watershed have two chances this week to get involved in the discussion about how to spend millions of dollars in Measure M funds that are expected to start flowing into city coffers next year.

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council will hold a special work session on Measure M. Then Thursday, the Public Works Commission will discuss the city’s proposed updated five-year paving plan, which helps determine Measure M priorities. (Scroll to the bottom of this story for details.)

The five-year paving plan is the main document that will drive Measure M improvements. The council is scheduled to approve the next five-year plan in November. (See the current-year paving plan here.) … Continue reading »

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Scorecard would help determine Measure M projects

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The final public meeting currently scheduled to discuss Measure M spending will take place Thursday, July 18, at the South Berkeley Senior Center.

Measure M, to pay for bonds related to street and watershed improvements, was approved by 73% of voters in November.

Thursday, residents will have a chance to learn more about the proposal for how the city will spend the bond money, though which streets will see repairs or changes remains to be determined.

“We’ve been getting public comments coming in with people asking, ‘What about my street?’ They want to know where they are in the 5-year plan,” said Ray Yep, of the city’s Public Works Commission. “Right now we’re shying away from specifics like that.”

Yep said, currently, the city gets about $3.5 million each year in tax funding to handle street improvements, and the Measure M bonds will bring in an additional $6 million annually. Later this year, he added, the Berkeley City Council will approve the updated 5-year plan, which will set the specific priorities for spending.

“The amount of money available per year is going to triple, and the work per year is going to triple,” said Yep. “But which exact streets will be included, that answer is going to come later.” … Continue reading »

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Second Measure M planning meeting comes Saturday

Residents attended a meeting in early May to learn about the planning process for Measure M spending. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The second community meeting on Measure M spending will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at the South Berkeley senior center to seek input from community members on their priorities for street and watershed improvements.

Priorities will likely include accelerating the city’s five-year paving plan and focusing on green infrastructure — such as permeable pavers and rain gardens — that relate to street improvements.

Measure M allocates $30 million toward street and watershed improvements. Exactly how the money will be spent will be determined between now and November when the Berkeley City Council will vote on the spending plan. The money is supposed to begin flowing toward projects in early 2014. … Continue reading »

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City asks residents to brainstorm Measure M spending

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In the next few months, city representatives will start taking steps to determine how to allocate $30 million from Measure M, which voters approved in November to improve Berkeley’s streets and watershed.

The first session will take place May 2 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. Commissioners will explain and answer questions about the planning process, the schedule, and the ways the public can contribute their views. City staff will provide technical background on street paving, watershed management and transportation programs. … Continue reading »

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South Berkeley neighbors ask city for help to improve

About 30 South Berkeley residents came together Wednesday to ask the city for help to make several changes in the neighborhood. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Several dozen South Berkeley residents and city staffers came together Tuesday night to brainstorm about how to make three key changes in the neighborhood.

Residents, who met at MVMNT Studio at 2973 Sacramento St., asked the city to help lead the charge to calm traffic and fix stormwater drainage problems at California and Julia streets, and address a blighted building on Sacramento that many said they feel is keeping the local commercial district from flourishing. … Continue reading »

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Ambitious public works program falls short of need

The paving project that will take place over summer 2015 does not involve pothole repairs. Photo Tracey Taylor
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The public works capital improvement program was the focus of the budget worksession that preceded Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Public Works Director Andrew Clough and his colleagues presented an ambitious roster of projects for the next five years, but cautioned that the plans do not keep up with the city’s needs.

“The city’s public infrastructure is indeed suffering,” Clough said. “But all is not grim. We’re here not only to tell you what we don’t have, but also what we have done and what we plan to do.”  … Continue reading »

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