Our City staff are continuing to clear downed trees from last week’s powerful storm, which is expected to take one month. If you have wood debris (including shrubs, brush, limbs, woody bushes, broom, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, firewood, etc.) on your property, you can schedule an appointment for the City’s chipper service HERE. In light of the recent storm, this service is being offered citywide beginning April 17.
Please SAVE THE DATE for my next Drop-In Meeting:
Sun., April 2, 10-11 a.m.
Berkeley Way Mini-Park (1294 Berkeley Way)
(Seating is limited here, so please feel free to bring your own folding chair if you like.)
In this newsletter:
- – San Pablo Avenue Corridor Project Open House this Thurs., March 30, 6-8 p.m. at the Adult School (1701 San Pablo)
- – Tell PG&E to Activate Our HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) Beacon Lights on San Pablo Avenue at Hearst and at Virginia
- – My Relentless Pursuit of Street Paving Funding
- – REMINDER: Special Council Meeting on April 18 for Hopkins Corridor Street Safety Plan
- – SAVE THE DATE: Gilman District Street Fair on April 23
San Pablo Avenue Corridor Project Open House this Thurs., March 30, 6-8 p.m. at the Adult School (1701 San Pablo)
Please come to an Alameda County Transportation Commission Open House to discuss roadway changes proposed to make it safer to walk and bike along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor in Albany, Berkeley and North Oakland. At this meeting, you’ll be able to review proposed plans for San Pablo Avenue safety projects as well as improvements to parallel bike routes on Ninth Street and Kains Avenue.
Later this year, there will be several in-person and online opportunities to review plans for a related project: bus and bike lanes on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, Emeryville and South Berkeley. Due to advocacy from Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Councilmember Terry Taplin, myself, and others, a bus and bike lane will be extended from Oakland into South Berkeley on San Pablo Avenue up to the Russell/Heinz bike boulevard.
Tell PG&E to Activate Our HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) Beacon Lights on San Pablo Avenue at Hearst and at Virginia
Last week, I sent a letter to PG&E requesting their urgent attention to activating new HAWK beacon lights on San Pablo at Hearst and at Virginia. These two HAWK lights were installed by the California Department of Transportation last fall, and everyday that they remain inactive is another day that bicyclists and pedestrians are at risk of suffering fatal or serious injuries crossing San Pablo Avenue.
You can amplify this request by sending your own e-mail to Ms. Sarah Yoell of PG&E (firstname.lastname@example.org) using the e-mail template below –
Dear Ms. Yoell:
I respectfully request that PG&E activate the two HAWK beacon lights on San Pablo Avenue at Hearst and at Virginia in Berkeley as soon as possible. Just last November, a cyclist was sent to the Intensive Care Unit after being struck by a car while biking through the Virginia Street and San Pablo Avenue intersection. I request your urgent attention to conducting the electrical work in order to realize the safety enhancements of these two HAWK beacon lights.
Can you please let me know when these lights will be activated?
A new state bill sets an eight-week timeframe for PG&E to “turn on the lights,” which—if passed—should prevent future delays in activation.
My Relentless Pursuit of Street Paving Funding
One of the City’s primary obligations is to adequately fund street paving. I will continue to push the Council to dedicate more resources for this baseline service. Last month, I introduced my second major streets budget referral seeking another $4.7 million for street paving so we can reach a total of $20 million in FY 2024-25 and begin to improve the pavement condition of our streets. You can read the recommendation below, and the full Council item is available HERE (beginning on p. 61).
Lincoln Street after repaving.
THE PROBLEM: Berkeley has the 15th worst Pavement Condition Index (PCI) rating out of 101 cities in the nine-county jurisdiction covered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the federally designated transportation planning organization for the Bay Area). The general condition of streets is measured by PCI, a numerical rating from 0 to 100. Berkeley’s streets were rated in 2021 at an average of 56 out of 100, meaning they are “at risk”—defined as deteriorated pavement that requires immediate attention, including rehabilitative work. During the heavy winter storms, many streets that have developed the most potholes had poor quality pavement to start.
THE SOLUTION IS TO ADD MORE ONGOING STREET PAVING FUNDING: Last year, I led the Council in seeking more funding for street paving. We added $5 million for the current fiscal year (FY 2022-23) and $9 million for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1 (FY 2023-24). Significantly, I also co-authored with Councilmember Susan Wengraf and Mayor Jesse Arreguín a streets fiscal policy establishing an annual street maintenance budget of $15.3 million plus inflation moving forward. The policy was established in July 2022 with the hope that voters would support Measure L on the November 2022 ballot to provide funding to address the significant backlog of deferred street maintenance totaling more than $200 million. We were advised by Public Works staff that an annual street maintenance budget of $15 million coupled with one-time bond proceeds from Measure L would have been sufficient for the City to reach and maintain a good pavement condition (PCI of +70).
Without bond proceeds from Measure L, it’s more important than ever for the Council to continue to allocate more General Fund revenue towards street paving. Our consultant has advised that—in the absence of a large bond—we would need $24 million annually to see a five-point improvement in the pavement condition, as shown below.
$24 Million Annually Leads to a 5-Point Increase in Pavement Condition Index and Slower Rate of Deferred Maintenance Growth
REMINDER: Special Council Meeting on April 18 for Hopkins Corridor Street Safety Plan
The Council will hold a Special Council meeting on Hopkins on Tues., April 18. Our Public Works staff intend to publish the staff report no later than Tues., April 11, including information requested by the Council on (1) parking availability and (2) the economic impact of transportation infrastructure changes. You can view plan information to date HERE.
Hopkins Street. Photo: Libby Lee-Egan
The agenda, with information about how to attend the Council meeting in person or via Zoom, will be available HERE by April 11. I continue to be committed to listening to you and working together to ensure we balance everyone’s needs—pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, merchants, and residents. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to schedule a one-on-one or neighborhood meeting: email@example.com or 510-981-7110.
SAVE THE DATE: Gilman District Street Fair on April 23
Gilman District Street Fair
Sun., April 23 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fifth St. (Gilman to Camelia) & Camelia (Fourth to Sixth Streets)
My office has been working in coordination with the Gilman District Association to showcase West Berkeley’s LOCAL FOOD, WINE, BEER, ART, LIVE MUSIC, and 45 DIFFERENT VENDORS.
I’m proud that this event is financially supported in part by a capacity building grant I was able to secure for the Gilman District Association in last year’s City budget.
Gilman District Street Fair Flyer
Please plan to join us on April 23 for a celebration of the Gilman District.