Tag Archives: Telegraph Avenue

Automated license plate readers will help parking availability but some express concern about privacy issues

A picture of the ALPR from Genetec, which is providing the devices for Berkeley
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Berkeley has launched a program to use a controversial technology that automatically reads license plates on cars to optimize and enforce parking, part of a larger effort to encourage more Berkeley residents not to drive.

The program, which began in May, aims to make the tedious and time-consuming process of conducting manual surveys of downtown parking — which takes more than two months from start to finish — more efficient, Matthai Chakko, city spokesman, told Berkeleyside. The city uses data from the surveys — how often and at what times parking spaces are occupied, for example — to adjust parking pricing and time limits based on people’s behavior.

“It’s extremely labor intensive to input every single license plate and license plate readers automate the manual data collection,” Chakko said, adding that it improved the accuracy of the assessments and allows them to be conducted more frequently. The readers also eliminate the need to manually chalk tires to enforce time limits, he said.

But some civil libertarians have expressed concern that the data collected by police can be used to track the movements of individuals and have called for tighter control of the data collected. The Police Review Commission is set to discuss the technology and its implications at a future meeting. It was going to discuss the issue Wednesday but the meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum, according to Katherine J. Lee, who staffs the commission.

Berkeley has equipped five parking enforcement vehicles with the automated license plate readers (ALPR), which will also be used to conduct parking enforcement — such as booting or towing vehicles with more than five citations that are more than 30 days old — and search for stolen cars. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council denies landmark status for The Village

The Village. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, June 14, rejected an appeal to landmark The Village, the eccentric collection of restaurants and small businesses at 2556 Telegraph Ave. A seven-story mixed-use project is planned for the site. In January, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had denied landmark designation to the two-story The Village, which dated in its current form to 1972.

Public comment on the appeal at the council meeting elicited extreme reactions on both sides.

“It’s a bit of a dump,” said John Caner, CEO, Downtown Berkeley Association, speaking in a personal capacity.

“This is a site and a place of high significance,” said John Mink, one of the appellants on the appeal. “This is a very important cultural, architectural, historic and educational landmark in Berkeley.”  … Continue reading »

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Transportation

Berkeley’s Center Street garage to close June 30

Designs are coming along for an updated Center Street garage. Image: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects
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Berkeley’s Center Street garage is set to close at the end of the month to make way for a modern, new garage with hundreds more parking spots.

The 70-year-old garage, which has entrances on Center and Addison streets, will close June 30, the city said Wednesday. The new structure will include 720 parking spaces, compared to the current 420.

The new structure is scheduled to re-open by fall 2017.

The new garage’s more efficient design will more easily move cars through the structure. It will also add valet and self-storage for over 300 bicycles, creating the largest such bicycle storage in the City,” according to city staff. 

Read more about the Center Street garage in past coverage.

The new design is set to include “rooftop solar panels, high-efficiency LED lighting, a rainwater collection system to bio-filter and store water for irrigation. It will also be the hub of a micro-grid that provides emergency power.” There are also 19 electric vehicle charging stations.
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Romeo’s Coffee headed to former Shakespeare & Co.

Romeo's Coffee will open in the former Shakespeare & Co. location at Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way.  Photo: Ted Friedman
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After sitting vacant for close to a year, the former location of Telegraph Avenue bookstore Shakespeare & Co. will see new light. Highly caffeinated light, that is.

Starting in June, a new coffee shop — Romeo’s Coffee — will begin to take shape. Its name was serendipitous, said owner Dino Micheletti. He had already ironed out the concept, which revolves around “lovers of coffee,” before visiting the location with Ito Ripsteen, who is managing the remodel of the building at 2499 Telegraph. “I went to meet with him and looked up and saw the Shakespeare sign,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Do you know what our name is? It’s Romeo’s Coffee.'”  … Continue reading »

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The riches of Rag Theater: Nacio Jan Brown’s Berkeley

Photo: Nacio Jan Brown
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For decades, Telegraph Avenue has been the Boulevard of Unconventional Berkeley — a Bohemian enclave, then the Free Speech Movement, anti-Vietnam War, People’s Park, hippies, punks, street people. Before the Big Changes of the late 1960s, on Telegraph you could buy out-of-town and foreign-language newspapers, croissants, espresso drinks, Turkish cigarettes and Gauloises.

You could watch foreign-language films at the Cinema Guild and Cinema Studio, and read what Pauline Kael had to say about the movies, and play chess, and everywhere was Baroque music and folk music. There were boutiques and haberdasheries and art galleries and mom-and-pop grocery stores. And the used bookstores! What a world! We were Athens, this was our Bleecker Street, our Boulevard Saint Michel with a touch, perhaps, of Bourbon Street and Dylan’s Desolation Row. … Continue reading »

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Stateside Bakery transforming into Stateside Treats

When Stateside Bakery changes its name to Stateside Treats, it will add ice cream tacos to the menu. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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Stateside Bakery in Berkeley lets you relive your childhood, giving you permission to indulge in sugary treats that look like Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes and Oreo cookies. But its versions of these nostalgic treats are better — they’re made with high-quality natural ingredients and no preservatives.

I finally got to try Stateside Bakery recently when I visited its tiny store on Telegraph Avenue across from Whole Foods. I was thrilled to see what looked like Hostess Cupcakes and big Oreo cookies, but sad that they were out of their Twinkies, or what they call “Twinkles” for obvious trademark reasons. … Continue reading »

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Huge price tag projected for homeless storage bin plan

Bates wants the city council to adopt a zoning overlay to protect historic buildings in the civic center area, like Veterans' Memorial Hall. He admits he hopes the push will undermine support for a Downtown Green Initiative scheduled for November ballot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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An innovative program to offer secure storage containers for the possessions of Berkeley’s homeless could cost nearly $350,000 a year in staffing, along with $50,000 in start-up costs.

Interim City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley provided the City Council with the estimates in a Feb. 26 memo that has been posted on the city website.

Read more coverage of homelessness in Berkeley.

The storage program must be in place before the city can begin enforcing a slate of other new rules designed to clean up Berkeley’s sidewalks and limit problematic behavior on them. Advocates for the homeless have said the laws will only serve to criminalize the community’s most vulnerable and downtrodden. Council voted to approve the new rules in December.

According to the memo, the city is looking at a six-month pilot program at 1931 Center St.: “The plan is to re-open the lockers currently located behind the Veteran’s Building and to add a structure in the same location to house an additional fifty (50) 64-gallon storage containers.”

The area would be secured, and staff would be on site daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to allow access. The city says it is also looking at additional sites “to ensure we locate the program in the most appropriate place.” … Continue reading »

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Police

Police investigate apparent suicide near UC Berkeley

Photo: Citizen reporter
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Update, Feb. 25, 4:20 p.m. The coroner’s office has identified the woman who died as 25-year-old Hanaa Djouider, and classified the case as an apparent suicide. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt injuries. She is listed in the UC Berkeley campus directory.

Update, 6:35 p.m. Police have identified the woman who died in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue on Wednesday morning as a 25-year-old Berkeley resident. Police got the call at 5:35 a.m. Authorities are investigating the case as an apparent suicide, said BPD spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Telegraph Avenue was closed between Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way for approximately four hours during the investigation.

Original story, 12:01 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department is investigating an apparent suicide early Wednesday morning near the UC Berkeley campus.

Few details have been released, but many people in the area noticed that Telegraph Avenue was blocked off to traffic between Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way on Wednesday. A coroner’s van was on the scene, along with many other emergency vehicles.

The incident took place around 5:30 a.m. According to preliminary reports, a young woman appears to have fallen from the roof of a multi-story building in the 2300 block of Telegraph. … Continue reading »

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Van with $350,000 of rare books stolen; man arrested but books are missing

Berkeley police lead away Joshua Anderson, whom they arrested in connecting with selling stolen rare books at Moe's. The books came from a stolen van that contained $350,000 worth of books. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Berkeley police have arrested a man linked to the theft of $350,000 in rare books, but the books and the van they were housed in are still missing.

Police arrested Joshua Anderson, 30, of Concord after he and a companion allegedly tried to sell four of the stolen books — worth an estimated $13,000 — to Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue. Anderson, who had two outstanding warrants for his arrest, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property. He is being held on $45,000 bail in the Berkeley jail. His companion has not been apprehended.

The books belong to Lawrence Van De Carr, a Chicago rare-book dealer. Van De Carr had driven a 2008 silver Ford Econoline XLT van with 30 boxes of books to Pasadena last weekend for an antiquarian book fair. On Monday, he drove to Oakland to stay at a friend’s house. He parked the van outside the home in the 200 block of Whitmore St., near 51st and Pleasant Valley. When he got up Tuesday, Feb. 16, around 10 a.m., the van was gone, he said. … Continue reading »

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Elio De Pisa’s photographs capture Berkeley as it was

Cover
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There exist several photographic records of Telegraph Avenue in the 1960s: Rag Theater by Nacio Jan Brown (1975) and Telegraph 3 a.m. by Richard Misrach (1975). There now is a third, Berkeley Then, photographs by Elio de Pisa, text by Diane de Pisa, photo editing by Nick Cedar. Brown and Misrach were great photographers who went to Telegraph Avenue, took great pictures, and made great books. De Pisa was of Telegraph. He managed the Caffe Mediterraneum from 1960 until 1972. … Continue reading »

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Pappy’s owner responds to discrimination charges

Photo: Pappy's Sports Bar & Grill/Facebook
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Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar is a magnet for Cal students and sports fans, slinging burgers, wings, and affordable draft beers for them on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. It is also the subject of recent allegations of racially biased hiring practices.

On Friday, Jan. 22, Brownyn Harris took a photo of two hiring signs posted on the window of Pappy’s. One sign, written entirely in Spanish, requested applicants for a dishwashing position. A second sign, written entirely in English, requested applicants for cashiers and bartenders.

Harris posted the photo to Pappy’s Facebook page with the comment: “Took this picture today after we were walking by and my boyfriend said ‘I don’t really speak Spanish but is that incredibly racist?'” Her post caught the attention of the East Bay Express, which ran a story on Jan. 29 alleging discriminatory hiring practices on the part of Pappy’s.

While Pappy’s owner, Alex Popov, did not comment to the East Bay Express, he did talk to NOSH this week about the uproar the signs provoked. “There was a lot of irony and misunderstanding in the article,” he said, referring to the East Bay Express story. … Continue reading »

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Urban planning

Zoning board approves new units on Telegraph, Shattuck

The Nexus at 2539 Telegraph Ave. has been approved. Image: Lowney Architecture
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Berkeley’s zoning board approved two largely car-free buildings Thursday set to add 92 new residential units to the city’s housing stock.

Both of the projects — 70 units on Telegraph Avenue and 22 units on Shattuck Avenue — were proposed by Patrick Kennedy’s Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests.

The Telegraph project, dubbed The Nexus, is set to take the place of a 1-story office building where the nationally recognized Center for Independent Living got its start. The center has since moved to a new home at the Ed Roberts Campus and representatives from the organization told the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday that a decision on the Telegraph property would help them move ahead with their own plans for the organization’s future.

The Nexus, which also has an entrance on Regent Street, is set to reach 6 stories on the Telegraph side, and include about 5,200 square feet of commercial space, some of which could one day be a café. Nine vehicle parking spots are planned for the retail area, and 144 bike parking spots are included. Building residents will not be allowed to seek residential parking permits under existing city rules. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council enacts street behavior regulations

Protesters fighting new ordinances related to street behavior marched to Tuesday night's council meeting and rallied. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Tuesday night’s council meeting ended abruptly with a split vote to adopt new laws proponents say will help clean up Berkeley streets and provide storage and improved restroom facilities for the homeless.

Opponents of the laws say they will criminalize the homeless and have been protesting their adoption after a preliminary vote in November. About 30 people marched from Old City Hall to Tuesday’s council meeting at Longfellow Middle School to oppose the laws. They first rallied at Liberty City, an encampment that has drawn dozens to Old City Hall in recent weeks to protest the new measures.

Three council members did not respond when asked to vote, in an apparent act of protest, amidst disruptions from the crowd and several attempts by two officials to change the order of the meeting agenda as the night wore on.

Read more coverage of homelessness in Berkeley.

Vice Mayor Linda Maio ran the meeting because Mayor Tom Bates could only attend by telephone due to a recent injury. Maio said the new laws will increase access to public restrooms and create new secured storage facilities for the homeless. She said warnings will be issued prior to any tickets, and that none of the rules related to the storage of personal items in public space will go into effect until the city has storage units to offer.

“They can still sit and they can still sleep,” she said. About the new rules, she added, “There has been so much misinformation about what they are.”Continue reading »

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