Our goals for 2019, improving pedestrian safety, new transfer station and more Berkeley news
Happy New Year!
It’s a pleasure to represent this amazing community and to work every day to make our city a better place. I'm proud of Council's achievements last year, including opening our Navigation Center and passing Measures O & P, which will produce more affordable housing and offer supportive housing and treatment for people on the streets. I have also laid out a list of goals and priorities for 2019, which you can read about on my blog.
Real progress takes time, but I am proud that our city has taken many steps over the past year to help people who have been most impacted by the region’s housing crisis and to address long-standing challenges.
While we have a lot of work to do in 2019, I am excited for the year ahead. I look forward to your input as we tackle the biggest challenges facing our city with energy, creativity and ingenuity.
Mayor Jesse Arreguin
Council Holds Work Session on North Berkeley BART
Hundreds of residents came out Tuesday, January 15 to share their opinions on what kind of development they would like to see on the North Berkeley BART parking lot. Chief among resident concerns was that any new housing that is built be affordable, include units for families and conform with the surrounding neighborhood. Another major concern was the impact of removing parking on BART ridership, especially among older residents who are less likely to ride a bicycle or use other modes of transportation.
BART has said that its goal is to make at least 35% of the units affordable and to potentially provide buses or shuttles to the station to make sure residents are still utilizing its system. It is likely that a portion of the new housing would be between 4 and 5 stories tall, the minimum under Assembly Bill 2923, the legislation passed last year that prioritizes transit oriented development.
No decisions were made at the work session, but a public hearing will take place in Spring 2019. Ultimately, the City Council will pursue a Memorandum of Understanding with BART that specifies the terms of development on the site. Through the Adeline Corridor planning process, the City of Berkeley is also gathering public input on the future use of the Ashby BART Station site. Future development at that site will also require an MOU with BART and will be informed by community input.
For more information about the visioning process, and to see the plans submitted by members of the community, visit jessearreguin.com/north-berkeley-visioning/
County Makes Big Investment in Homelessness With Action Plan
In November 2018, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to make a $340 million investment over the next three years to address homelessness and build more affordable housing in the region. This includes nearly $40 million to create new shelters and housing; $26 million for health and supportive services; and nearly $6 million to prevent displacement in the first place.
This spending is in addition to the more than $83 million a year Alameda County already spends on homelessness, and will be combined with Measure A1 funds, totaling an estimated $556 million allocation to combat homelessness over the next three years.
Vision Zero Focuses on Reducing Pedestrian/ Cyclist Collisions
Every year, more than 200 Berkeley cyclists and pedestrians are killed or injured on our streets, one of the highest rates of pedestrian collisions in the state. Part of the reason is the growing population that is putting more cars on our streets, along with a higher than average number of cyclists.
Last year, the City Council adopted a Vision Zero Initiative to ensure that our public works projects prioritize pedestrian safety and enforcement to control traffic and make our streets safer. At the January 29 meeting, the Council will vote to do the following:
Create a task force to lead the planning and implementation of Vision Zero
Request that the City Manager hold community events to encourage equitable outcomes
Request that the City Manager hold a work session to present an action plan to eliminate fatal and severe traffic injuries.
I am committed to making our streets safe for both pedestrians and cyclists, and look forward to making progress on this critical policy initiative.
Meet Berkeley’s New City Auditor
Last month, our new city Auditor Jenny Wong took office. The City Auditor is an independent office that makes sure that city funds are being spent properly and assesses whether services are being delivered fairly and effectively.
I’m thrilled to have Jenny take over this important office. She spent 18 years working as an auditor for the federal government's Government Accountability Office and is extremely knowledgeable about audits. She is also a former member of the Berkeley Labor Commission and Budget Review Commissions, and has authored numerous program audits. Click here to learn more about the Office of the Auditor.
If you would like to see the types of audits that have been done in the past and make a suggestion for future edits, please visitcityofberkeley.info/auditor/
Help the City Design a Transfer Station for the 21st Century
The City, together with the Ecology Center, is planning a new transfer station, one that will reduce how much waste the city sends to the landfill, be net-zero in terms of electricity use and offer educational opportunities to residents.
To kick this off, the city will host three workshops starting this Wednesday, Jan. 16, to collect resident input on the new station. The first session will focus on idea generation, the second, on Thursday, Jan. 17, will analyze the first night’s outcomes and the final session, on Friday, Jan. 18 will offer a recap of input collected and next steps. The idea is to create an innovative atmosphere in which residents and other stakeholders can collaborate to generate a design that maximizes re-use and increases the recycling rate.
Meetings will be held at the James Kenney Community Center, 1720 8th Street in Berkeley.
Session 1: Wednesday, January 16, 6-8pm
Session 2: Thursday, January 17, 6-8pm
Session 3: Friday, January 18: 9am – 12pm
If you are unable to attend, you can still submit input by contacting Greg Apa, Solid Waste & Recycling Manager, (510) 981-6359 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate Life and Work of Martin Luther King Jr. at 8th Annual Community Breakfast
January 21, 2019 8-10 a.m. at the Berkeley Adult School,
1701 San Pablo Ave.
In 2012, a group of Berkeley leaders decided to pay homage to the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King by hosting a breakfast in his honor. Since then, the Berkeley MLK Breakfast has evolved to be a large community gathering that typically attracts more than 350 attendees from faith groups, nonprofits, educational organizations, elected officials and residents.
The theme of this year’s breakfast is economic justice, and will focus on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign, which he launched less than a year before his assassination. The event will feature live music, inspiring speeches, a delicious catered breakfast and awards to students and community groups working to make Berkeley a more just place. Tickets are just $25 and can be purchased online or at the door. For more info, visit berkeleymlkjrday.org
Dive into Berkeley's Culinary Scene During Restaurant Week
Berkeley's 7th Annual Restaurant Week is running January 17 - 27, where restaurants across the city will offer special value prix-fixe menus. Discover new places and revisit old favorites, with more than 45 venues to choose from. More info at tinyurl.com/ybjbmmok
My office is here to serve you. Visit our website for frequently used phone numbers to city departments and to stay up to date with our blogs.
Brandi Campbell, Chief of Staff
Jacquelyn McCormick, Senior Advisor
Karina Ioffee, Director of Communications
Stefan Elgstrand, Assistant to the Mayor
Tano Trachtenberg, Legislative Aide