New Ordinances to Address Antisocial Street Behavior

In April of 2018, Mayor Arreguin, Councilmembers Hahn, Wengraf, Harrison, and I passed Regulations for Sitting, Lying, Dogs, and Objects on Sidewalks and in Parklets. I supported similar legislation in 2015, which was never put into place. This new ordinance will:

  • Ensure that everyone has access to, free passage through, and use and enjoyment of Sidewalks and Parklets in Berkeley;
  • Protect the Constitutional Rights of all individuals, including freedom of expression
  • Provide public storage facilities to securely store personal belongings for homeless individuals;
  • Create space for sitting or lying down on sidewalks at all times, without unduly impacting the regular use of sidewalks or parklets, and preserving a path of travel on sidewalks that can be accessed by all members of the public; and
  • Clarify existing, potentially conflicting sections of the Berkeley Municipal Code regarding sidewalks, objects on sidewalks, and sitting or lying on sidewalks;

Specifically this ordinance: 

  • Prohibits objects from being placed in parklets or in the path of travel in commercial zones. Obejcts are prohibited on the sidewalk in residential zones. 
  • Clarifies that objects on the sidewalk should not expand beyond a 9 square foot area
  • Clarifies that objects cannot obstruct traffic, pedestrian, or other signs and shall not be placed in front of/within three feet of a building entrance except for the hours of 10pm-7am. 
  • Allows sitting on all sidewalks and parklets any time except for in the path of travel
  • Allows lying in all city parks during open hours and in commercial corridors between 10pm and 7am on most days
  • Prohibits lying on sidewalks in residential zones or in BART access corridors
  • Permits no more than two stationary dogs in any 10 ft area in a commercial zone or sidewalk except for guide/service dogs.

Violations of this ordinance will be charged as infractions, not misdemeanors. The City will withdraw citations/fines if an individual elects to access homeless services or partake in community service.

At this time, Council has not adopted a formal policy specifically addressing encampments in Berkeley.