Tag Archives: Telegraph Business Improvement District

Latest plan calls for pedestrian-oriented Telegraph Avenue

Passage and Berm (3D View). To create a safer more active passage, a canopy of light will be formed along cables suspended by existing trees and poles. A 4-foot corru- gated metal wall will be brightly painted and separate the passage from a landscaped berm. Tree branches are not shown to make other featrues more visible.
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To glimpse Telegraph Avenue as its visionaries and community leaders see it is to view a thriving, bustling European-like utopia, complete with pedestrian plaza, solar-powered trash cans, and enough parklets and bicycle racks to make even the most cynical hipster swoon.

The ambitious if bureaucratically titled “Telegraph Public Realm Plan” has a sweeping vision that’s soon to hit the pavement — first in increments and demonstrations, and then, if all goes well, full-fledged cosmetic surgery for the historic avenue.

Read more about developments on Telegraph Avenue.

“We began with near-term design interventions we can make that would be noticeable and create some buzz around the avenue,” Matt Taecker, of Taecker Planning and Design, told Berkeleyside in a phone interview. The designs were created by Taecker and Alex Bergtraun of Studio Bergtraun.

“Simultaneously, we were thinking about the long-term vision, and we also came up with something that is quite interesting: it’s a shared street, a plaza, where you allow cars to drive. But it’s a pedestrian-oriented space and the cars will pass slowly because you’ve done certain things design-wise.”

Two demonstration projects are set to kick off the changes, with the aim of testing and refining design features, and making significant changes that are light on the city’s wallet. … Continue reading »

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Dwight Way fire may have caused $1M in damage

Firefighters climbed onto the roof to fight a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue, on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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A fire in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood on Sunday may have caused $1 million in damage, authorities said this week.

The fire, at 2449 Dwight Way in the Chandler apartment building, appears to have started in a fourth-floor unit on the west side of the building, then spread to the attic. Acting Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb said the fire appears likely to have been accidental, based on the preliminary investigation. The investigation is, however, ongoing.

About 30 people were displaced as a result of the fire, either staying with supporters or receiving help from the Red Cross for temporary housing. A representative from the Red Cross said Wednesday it is assisting 26 people, and that the agency is still working to determine the short- and long-term needs of those individuals.

One person had to be carried out of the building by firefighters and was treated at a hospital, but was released Sunday evening. In addition, two cats are reported to have perished in the Dwight Way fire. A third cat was rescued by firefighters and survived the blaze. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

The Sundays on Telegraph street festival runs through Sept. 21 in Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman
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TELEGRAPH MERCHANTS MEET NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Members of the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID) gathered June 29 to meet their new executive director, Stuart Baker, and to discuss ways to improve the stretch of Telegraph between Bancroft Way and Dwight Way. Baker introduced himself to the group of 15-20 merchants who attended and invited them to get in touch with him with any ideas or concerns regarding TBID. They also announced that Sundays on Telegraph, the weekly summer street festival, will be limited to seven weeks this year. (Last year it ran for 11 weeks). Matthew Taecker of Taecker Planning and Design spoke to the group in a presentation outlining possible steps to make the Telegraph area more pedestrian-friendly and welcoming. Some of the suggestions included raised planters, informational installations describing the history of the area and painting the street, sidewalks, and crosswalks in bright colors. The Telegraph Business Improvement District is a non-profit that sponsors local events and advocates for positive change along Telegraph Avenue.Continue reading »

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Council to consider higher rates, evening hours for some Berkeley parking meters

Nearly full conditions on many commercial blocks in Berkeley during the evening hours may lead to metered parking until 8 p.m. (Click the map for the full presentation.) Image: City of Berkeley
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New metered parking rates and time limits, in effect in Berkeley since last fall in three of the city’s busiest commercial areas, have made it easier for many visitors to find daytime parking, according to new data released by city staff this week. But more changes are needed to meet the city’s goal of freeing up 1-2 spaces per block.

Proposed changes include slightly higher hourly rates in some areas, and a new pilot program to extend metered hours until 8 p.m. The Berkeley City Council would have to sign off on any new changes at a meeting currently scheduled for late April. … Continue reading »

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Group proposes lighted arch over Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph arch
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A coalition of city and campus groups is proposing to erect a decorative lighted archway on Telegraph Avenue to better define the shopping district.

The arch, which would be erected near Dwight Way, would serve to “emphasize and celebrate the four blocks of Telegraph between Dwight and Bancroft that distinguish it from Oakland’s Temescal and Berkeley’s Downtown,” according to an encroachment request letter submitted to the city. Students standing at the soon-to-be remodeled Lower Sproul Plaza would be able to look down the street and see the arch, and those at Dwight could look north to the campus, creating a visual connection between the University and the Avenue. … Continue reading »

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City parking garage fees up downtown, down on Telegraph

The Telegraph Channing garage will be free for the first hour beginning Dec. 2. Image: Google Maps
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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 »

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Sundays On Telegraph start slow, but show potential

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After low turnouts at the first three Sundays on Telegraph events, organizers hope that better weather and increased awareness will draw bigger crowds in the coming weeks.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Janet Klein, who serves as coordinator and liaison between the Telegraph Business Improvement District and the office of Mayor Tom Bates.

Sundays on Telegraph, or SoTelegraph, is a new weekly street fair that closes off two blocks of Telegraph Avenue, from Durant Avenue to Haste Street. The original plan was that from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday from June 9 through September 27, music, activities and weekend strollers would be free to take over the neighborhood. It is an attempt by the City of Berkeley to revamp the area as a cultural destination — one of many ideas that have been proposed over the years — particularly during the time of year when most UC Berkeley students have left town.

But the program did not have a particularly inspired start. … Continue reading »

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Wooing larger stores may be key to Telegraph’s success

Student shopping and nightlife needs may play a key role in the future of Telegraph Avenue. Photo: kukkurovaca
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Telegraph Avenue could use more large clothing retailers and a grocery store, along with more options for nightlife and buying household goods, if it hopes to grow financially moving forward, city staff said Tuesday as part of a special work session on the avenue.

Some officials said the city needs to take a proactive approach to marketing properties that become available, and perhaps adjust the city’s permitting process to make it easier to attract larger businesses. Others said landlords might take it upon themselves to lower rents for new businesses, so the burden isn’t only on the city.

“I think we have to go out on dates,” said Councilwoman Linda Maio. “I think we have to identify retailers that we want, that we have a space for. I think we have to introduce them to the mayor. I think we have to wine and dine them and bring them into town. I think we have to show them the campus and the enormous potential here. I don’t think it’s going to serve us well to sit back and wait for somebody to come our way.” … Continue reading »

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Mad Monk Center to rise on Telegraph

An architectural rendering of what the Mad Monk Center on Telegraph could look like. Image: Avila Design
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The iconic Telegraph Avenue building that formerly housed Cody’s Bookstore could have a new identity before year’s end due to an ambitious project underway by local property owner Ken Sarachan.

Sarachan — who also owns Rasputin Music and Blondie’s Pizza, as well as the vacant lot north of Amoeba Music — describes his “Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media” as a two-story complex with a full-service restaurant, performance space, small flower kiosk, take-out coffee counter and analogue media shop that will bring together “the best assembly of records anywhere in California.” … Continue reading »

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Imagining a future for Telegraph Avenue, without blinders

Telegraph1 by Nany Rubin
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This weekend a group of design professionals, architects, urban planners and engineers will come together to dream about possible futures for Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.

The initiative, which will take the form of a “charrette,” topped and tailed by input from members of the public, is being orchestrated by Berkeley Design Advocates (a membership organization of planners, architects and engineers that works to support good planning and design in Berkeley) working with the Telegraph Business Improvement District.

The effort aims to prompt a discussion of what the community wants Telegraph Avenue to become, says Matt Taecker from urban planners Dyett & Bhatia, who is helping organize the event. City officials will attend as well as experts such as urban economist Dena Belzer, architect Ryan Call and planner Jay Claiborne. … Continue reading »

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‘Largest fire since 1991’ leaves many locals homeless

Sequoia building
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Update, 11.21.11, 9:09 am: ASUC (The Associated Students of the University of California) is organizing a Donation Drive for those displaced by the fire on Haste and Telegraph. Many of the residents of The Sequoia Apartments were students. Visit the ASUC Donation Drive Facebook page for details.

Original story: The devastating fire that tore through the Sequoia Apartment building at 2441 Haste Street Friday night and Saturday morning has left dozens of people homeless. The five-story, 39-unit building was gutted by the fire, is uninhabitable and is likely to be demolished soon.

What remains of the building, which has been red-tagged, is structurally unsafe. Firefighters were still on the scene Saturday afternoon as the site is still considered an active fire. … Continue reading »

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