Tag Archives: University Avenue

5-story building approved, again, on University Avenue

A rendering of a new mixed-use project underway at 1698 University Ave. in Berkeley. Image: Syncopated Architecture
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A proposal to construct a five-story mixed-use building in central Berkeley was approved by the zoning board earlier this month after a request to increase the number of units from 25 to 36 while reducing the on-site parking.

The project, at 1698 University Ave. (at McGee Avenue), originally was approved by the city in 2005, and modified in 2008. Since then the property has changed hands. The new owner, San Francisco-based Realtex Apartments, asked the city Zoning Adjustments Board July 10 to increase the number of units and decrease the parking requirements from the earlier proposal.

The new project, designed by Syncopated Architecture — also of San Francisco — would take the place of a vacant automotive repair station. It is set to include approximately 2,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 25,400 square feet of residential. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Taser used in arrest of driver in stolen car in Berkeley

Image: CHP Oakland
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A man authorities say led officers on a chase from the Bay Bridge into Berkeley was arrested after the deployment of a Taser this week.

Oakland-area California Highway Patrol spokesman Sean Wilkenfeld said via email that the chase, which hit speeds of 100 mph, began early Wednesday at approximately 12:30 a.m.

Officers spotted a stolen 2001 Acura on eastbound Interstate 80 near the Bay Bridge and tried to stop it, he said.

But the driver “began actively evading officers” and a pursuit began.

The driver took the University Avenue exit into Berkeley, and crashed into another vehicle. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Radio problems hamper Berkeley shooting investigation

Police investigate a shooting at La Quinta on June 7. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, June 10: The Berkeley Police Department said it was aware of the radio problems Saturday and “immediately contacted the City’s Radio Shop personnel in the Public Works Department to try to identify the cause of the problem and resolve it.”

The city determined that the problems were related to the larger regional network, the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority, of which Berkeley is a part.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats: “We have learned that the system was impacted by an outside signal, which caused parts of the system to experience radio interference. We have been advised that Alameda County is investigating the situation, which appears to have corrected itself at this time.”

(Berkeley scanner feeds, which are provided by a local resident, are available to the public online.)

Original story, June 9, 10 a.m.: A radio malfunction that garbled communication attempts between Berkeley officers and dispatchers Saturday night made a complex shooting investigation even more challenging, officers said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 teens shot at West Berkeley hotel party

Police responded to a shooting at La Quinta on Saturday, June 7. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, June 8, 1 a.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats confirmed that two teenage juvenile boys were shot at La Quinta on Saturday night.

She said she could not comment on their injuries due to medical privacy laws, but said the wounds did not appear to be life threatening. Both were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Police have not located a third gunshot victim, though one initially had been reported. Authorities have asked area hospitals to alert the Berkeley Police Department if they become aware of one. … Continue reading »

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Bauman College grads boost local food community

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On Berkeley’s University Avenue, between Ninth and 10th streets, there is a small oasis of calm amid the honking cars and dollar stores. Tucked between the two imposing Premier Cru buildings is the Berkeley campus of Bauman College, a holistic nutrition and culinary school. It has sat quietly in this space since 2011 when it made the move from a small building on Grayson Street.

Both the college’s natural chef and nutrition consultant programs are certificate programs, and graduates are able to work as chefs and health educators in restaurants, hospitals or as consultants for small businesses. Other graduates go on to work as private nutrition consultants or private chefs.

Chances are good there’s a Bauman grad working nearby; they’ve spread across the Bay Area into myriad fields.
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Zoning board approves ‘The Overture’ on University Ave.

The Overture looks like it's headed for University Avenue near downtown Berkeley. Image: Devi Dutta Architecture
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After a significant facelift, a new mixed-use development is slated to be built on University Avenue, taking the place of two small shops on the south side of the street west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Plans for “The Overture” were approved 8-1 by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday night after a nearly five-hour discussion focused on a variety of technical details related to the project.

Commissioners had largely positive observations about the idea behind developer Nathan George’s new building, noting that it has an array of amenities, particularly in terms of open space that’s set to include a large gym, communal kitchen, “generous lobby,” courtyard, landscaped roof deck and pleasant seating area for residents. … Continue reading »

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Parking lot war at 1414 University in Berkeley heats up; owner attempts to fence off competing businesses

The parking lot at 1414 University Ave. before the fence was installed. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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The owner of the building at 1414 University Ave. attempted to install a fence Tuesday along the parking lot that she gained exclusive rights to in a contentious lawsuit last year. The fence would have blocked off access from the lot into a string of businesses known as Strawberry Walk.

Employees of Strawberry Walk, which borders the parking lot, arrived at work to find a contractor drilling holes in front of their sidewalk in preparation to install a 5-foot diamond-link fence. A Strawberry Walk tenant alerted the building’s landlord, Cecile Isaacs, who came to the site and asked the worker to show her his construction permit. When he said he didn’t have a building permit, Isaacs asked him to stop construction and called the city. … Continue reading »

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Update: Bus fire slows I-80 traffic in Berkeley, no injuries

Image: Google Maps
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Update, 6:45 p.m. Berkeley Fire Department spokesman Deputy Chief Avery Webb said the bus that caught fire Friday morning was a Storer Coachways tourist bus with 21 passengers. Webb said Berkeley firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 11:16 a.m. for a fire that affected the engine compartment of the bus. Smoke from the fire made its way into the passenger compartment, but the fire itself did not spread beyond the engine area. All the passengers on the bus had gotten off by the time firefighters arrived, and Storer quickly sent another bus to pick them up. No injuries were reported. Berkeley firefighters extinguished the fire when they arrived to the scene, on Interstate 80 between Ashby and University avenues. Webb said there were multiple helicopters in the area as emergency crews responded.

Update, 1:45 p.m. 511.org reports that there are “residual delays” on eastbound I-80 near University Avenue in Berkeley after Friday’s bus fire, but that all lanes are open as of 1:45 p.m.

Update, 1:34 p.m. Via 511.org: “On Friday, March 28th at 1:20pm, the Severe Traffic Alert remains in effect on Eastbound I-80 before University Ave. in Berkeley. The right lane is closed due to a bus fire. Motorists are advised to expect delays and avoid the area. There is no estimated time to reopen the roadway.”

Original story, 12:17 p.m. A tour bus caught fire on Interstate 80 near University Avenue in Berkeley on Friday morning, and a traffic advisory has been issued due to closed lanes on the highway, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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AC Transit rolls back Line 51 changes after pushback

AC Transit hopes to speed up and improve service on Line 51. Photo: Paul Sullivan/Flickr
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Citing budgetary and scheduling constraints, along with a desire to listen to community concerns, AC Transit has removed most of the “controversial” items from its proposal to improve service on the Line 51 bus route in Berkeley.

“I think it’s safe to say it contains a lot less potentially controversial items than previously,” AC Transit representative Robert del Rosario told Berkeley’s Transportation Commission on Thursday night.

The panel voted to recommend the current list of modifications to the Berkeley City Council, which is expected to consider the item in April. Four members of the commission were absent, with commissioners Eric McCaughrin, Darby Watson, Terry Roberts, Ghanya Thomas and Mark Humbert voting unanimously to recommend that council approve the plan. … Continue reading »

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Artisanal vegan specialty shop opens in Berkeley

Republic of V, Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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It’s probably less of a surprise that a stylish, all-things-vegan shop has opened in Berkeley than the fact that it took so long to happen.

Republic of V opened less than three weeks ago on University Avenue east of Sacramento Street, and has won fast approval from vegans around the area.

“If you’ve ever been to Rainbow and felt like you were in a vegan toy store, your mind will be blown at Republic of V,” said one Yelper. Wrote another, “Vegan dreams are made a reality at this store!”

Recent Berkeley transplants Joe Haptas and Noelle Callahan opened Republic of V in mid-February, and have a grand opening celebration planned for March 16. Expect free tastings, “name that ingredient” food contests, team trivia, Gong Show-inspired festivities and more. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Sauna closed temporarily, 6 displaced after fire

A fire in the 1900 block of Milvia Street caused extensive damage Saturday. Photo: Joshua Schoolfield
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A two-alarm fire over the weekend in the Milvia Street building occupied by a popular Berkeley spa caused up to $100,000 in damage, temporarily closed the operation and displaced six residents, authorities said Monday.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, just after noon, the Berkeley Fire Department responded to a report of “black smoke coming out of the windows” at 1947 Milvia St., a two-story building just north of University Avenue with apartments over commercial spaces, said Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb via email.

Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building. A working fire was declared, and the incident was upgraded to a two-alarm assignment, said Webb. It took approximately 40 minutes to bring the fire under control. … Continue reading »

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Traffic signal upgrades planned on Line 51 route

Proposed changes along the Line 51 route in Berkeley. (Click to view larger.) Image: AC Transit
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Intersections along AC Transit’s Line 51 bus route in Berkeley may see upgrades, if approved by city staff, designed to improve traffic signal timing coordination and allow signals to better recognize when vehicles are waiting for a green light.

The changes are part of a larger plan by AC Transit to speed up and improve service on Line 51. Thursday night, Berkeley’s Transportation Commission approved the signal changes as Phase 1 of the project. City transportation staff said they will take a closer look at those proposals before giving AC Transit the final go-ahead.

More controversial changes under consideration — such as a new traffic light at Russell Street and College Avenue, new bus bulbs, and the removal of numerous parking spots along University and College avenues — will be considered at a later date.  … Continue reading »

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AC Transit’s Line 51 plans get second review Thursday

Proposed changes along the Line 51 route in Berkeley. (Click to view larger.) Image: AC Transit
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Proposed changes to AC Transit’s Line 51 bus service in Berkeley will come back before the city’s Transportation Commission on Thursday night for a second review.

AC Transit presented its plans — designed to speed up service and make it more reliable — in October, and met with steep opposition from members of the public who criticized the agency’s attempts at public outreach, decried its lack of responsiveness to local concerns, and questioned whether the proposed changes and resulting gains would be worth the hardships some community members believe they would pose.

Since the last meeting, AC Transit has posted a draft parking study that outlines proposed changes along the route in Berkeley. If approved, a handful of parking spots would be added, but another 133 — metered, unmetered, handicapped, yellow, green and white — could potentially be removed. The bulk of the removals — 99 spaces along University Avenue — would be in effect during PM peak hours only. (See the full list here.) The other spots, in the Elmwood and Southside, do not appear to be tied to a particular time of day, but AC Transit could not be reached for confirmation.

Wednesday morning, AC Transit sent out an email notice about the meeting to be held Thursday night before the Transportation Commission: “We apologize for the late advisory, but we hope a number of riders will be able to attend and give their perspective on improving this vital transportation service in Berkeley.”  … Continue reading »

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