Tag Archives: Northbrae

Northbrae named one of nation’s Top 10 neighborhoods

Leafy streets, courtesy of mature trees such as these, are one of the attractions of Berkeley's Northbrae neighborhood. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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This week, the American Planning Association named Berkeley’s Northbrae neighborhood a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2011. In making its selection, the organization took into consideration views, unique features, engaged residents — and good planning, of course.

The ten winners — which included Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood and Birmingham, Alabama — exemplify, according to the APA, “exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value”:

Northbrae was singled out for its abundance of preserved views of the San Francisco Bay; garden suburb design with streets and footpaths that follow the contour of the hills and gracefully skirt outcroppings of magnificent volcanic rock; impressive public spaces and amenities; and engaged residents who have done much to restore and maintain the neighborhood.”

Developer Duncan McDuffie was the brains behind Northbrae. A conservationist who favored single-family houses on tree-lined streets in a park-like setting, his initial plans for the area were influenced by the local Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to move the state capitol to Berkeley. Stone pillars, streets named for California counties, and a majestic public circle with classical balustrade and fountain were all part of the package. Magnificent rocks and boulders were also part of the landscape’s attraction.

Speaking about the area, Berkeley’s District 5 councilmember Laurie Capitelli said: “The Northbrae neighborhood is an amazing place to live. The vision developed in the early 20th century has transitioned beautifully into the 21st: small-scale shopping districts, restored creeks, walkable amenities – schools, library, parks – and a street plan that augments and preserves the natural beauty of the Berkeley Hills and views of the San Francisco Bay.” … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley, a venerable grocery market comes under fire

Shirley Ng, owner of Country Cheese Coffee Market, says
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By Niclas Ericsson

Emotions are running high in the Northbrae area of Berkeley, and the friendly spirit of the neighborhood is at stake, according to a number of small merchants who are afraid they will not survive in the wake of what is being perceived as aggressive marketing strategies at Monterey Market.

Several small businesses say the owners of Monterey Market have begun to deliberately stock items that they specialize in — including certain cheeses, wine and flowers — and they are selling them at predatory prices, which threatens the local merchants’ livelihoods.

A group of Northbrae neighbors has distributed a hand-out in support of the small local merchants in which it criticizes Monterey’s approach. “We are making a moral and ethical appeal,” said Tom Meyer, speaking for the group. Signatories on the hand-out include Monterey Fish, Gioa Pizzeria, Hopkins Launderette, and Storey Framing. (See the hand-out here.)

A manager at Monterey Market said he had no comment to make last week when asked by Berkeleyside for his side of the story. Follow-up phone calls requesting an interview were not returned.

“This used to be the happiest neighborhood I have ever worked in,” said Shirley Ng, owner and manager of Country Cheese Coffee Market at 1578 Hopkins Street. Ng said that things started to change in June 2009 when Monterey Market’s former manager, Bill Fujimoto, left his position due to disagreements within his family, the owners of the business. … Continue reading »

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