November 30, 2018

Budget Updates

As part of Council’s FY 2018 Year-End Results and FY 2019 First Quarter Budget Update, I’m pleased to report that Mayor Arreguin allocated $100,000 to fund my request for two flashing crosswalks in our district. The additional funding for safer crosswalks will go toward a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon light at Eton Ave. @ Claremont Ave., and pedestrian safety mitigations at Russell St. @ Claremont Ave. The timing of implementation depends a lot on staffing levels so we are working with our City Manager to address staffing so we can implement these sooner rather than later. Additionally, we expect construction of a safer crosswalk in front of John Muir Elementary to start in the Spring. As you know, our office has been particularly focused on passing traffic and pedestrian safety policies, many of which were outlined in our previous newsletter.

Mayor Arreguin also allocated $200,000 for a temporary full time staff member dedicated to working on undergrounding Berkeley’s utility wires. Councilmember Wengraf and I requested this staff position last June, and we’re thrilled to see it funded. Our Disaster and Fire Safety Commission has done extensive background work around the costs, feasibility, and plans for undergrounding utility wires. This next phase will move their recommendations forward.

Finally, the Mayor allocated significant funding to our reserves, which is incredibly important to bolster our rainy day fund. This has been an issue I have advocated forcefully for over the last few years and I’m pleased that we are preparing for unexpected catastrophic and financial hurdles.

You can find the Mayor Arreguin’s complete budget recommendations here. Feel free to send him an email for a thoughtful, fiscally responsible budget at

December 4 Council Meeting

Farewell to Councilmembers Linda Maio and Kriss Worthington

On December 4th, we will be saying goodbye to Councilmember Linda Maio and Councilmember Kriss Worthington at our new meeting location BUSD Board Room (1231 Addison Street) at 6pm. Councilmembers Maio and Worthington have served Berkeley for decades and their contributions to our community are immeasurable. Please feel free to provide public testimony at our meeting on Tuesday, if you wish.

Pedestrian Plan Update

Public Works staff will provide an update regarding Berkeley’s Pedestrian Plan, which was last completed in 2010. The process of updating the plan is underway - see the announcements below to provide online feedback and attend an open house. As you know, pedestrian safety is a top priority of mine and I encourage you all to get involved in this process which will inform the City’s work plan for the next ten years.

Please complete this survey about your walking experience in Berkeley.You can also see “Events” below for information about the Pedestrian Plan open house tomorrow, December 1st.

Tree Planting Requirements with Residential Alterations or Housing Construction

Council will discuss a proposal to establish appropriate tree planting requirements, e.g. a ratio of trees required per square foot, for new single-family and multi-family construction, as well as qualifying alterations to existing residential buildings.

Allowing Paid City Staff and Council Aides to serve on Commissions

A few years ago, City Council passed a good governance item to prohibit paid city staff and council aides to serve on commissions. I served on the Ad-Hoc Committee for a More Open Government and feel very strongly that it is important to retain the independence of our commissions. This repeal would create a perceived conflict of interest if paid staff or Council aides could vote on or push forward certain policies. In 2016, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville wrote in support of this good governance item.  

City Council Standing Policy Committees

Council will be voting on establishing standing policy committees to further vet Council items. I think this is an exciting endeavor and will lead to more efficient Council meetings and fully-fleshed out Council proposals.

Electric Scooters

Council will be voting on a Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program. The proposal would permit a one year pilot, with up to three scooter operators, for 1200 scooters to be phased in over time. To cover costs associated with the program, operators would pay a $2,500 application fee, a $15,000 annual franchise fee, and $10,000 balance for a public maintenance fund. Operators would be responsible for managing ongoing scooter storage, removal, and relocation. The City is also requesting that operators offer a low-income membership option and a customer service hotline.

As always, you can provide commentary on these items and more by emailing

Office Hours Update: My office hours will still be on the first Thursday of the month, December 6th, at Cafe Roma with a modified time: 9:30-10:30am. 


Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8

Need a street or sidewalk repair? Want to request a City service?

Use Berkeley's online 311 form (either through the General Request form or a specific topic) or call 311 from a landline, or 510-981-2489. Please note that my office routes all the service requests we receive through this customer service center, so your request will be handled most efficiently by directly contacting 311.

Sign up for emergency notifications on AC Alert  and crime prevention/updates on Nixle.  

Help make Berkeley an even more walkable city by completing a survey,visiting our pedestrian wikimap to share with us your opinions on routes you use, and attending a Dec. 1 meeting.

We are updating our pedestrian plan, a blueprint to guide how projects will make it safer and more comfortable for people of all ages to walk across our city. The pedestrian plan will analyze pedestrian crash data throughout Berkeley, identify problem areas or intersections and propose solutions.

Pedestrian Plan Open House Saturday, December 1, 2018 11:00 am - 2:00 pm Francis Albrier Community Center 2800 Park Street

You'll get to talk to staff and provide input about all things pedestrian: crosswalks, sidewalks, street trees, walking to work and more. Learn more about the Pedestrian Master Plan project, complete the survey, fill out our wiki and come to our open house. We want to make it easier to walk Berkeley!

We're having public workshops to re-design our transfer station for garbage, recycling, compost and other materials so that Berkeley ships less to landfills. We'd like your input. The eventual goal of a new site is simple: if we recover more of what can be reused or recycled, we slash what Berkeley trucks to the mountains of garbage that fill landfills. Come out to our listening session to share your vision:

Transfer Station Redesign: Listening Sessions

- Wednesday November 28th 6 pm to 9 pm South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis Street

- Saturday December 1st 1 pm to 4 pm Live Oak Community Center 1301 Shattuck Avenue

Canned Food Drive

Elmwood merchants are hosting 5 food barrels from the Alameda County Food Bank to collect food this season.  The barrels are placed in Anton's Salon, Vintage Berkeley, McGuire Real Estate, Cheap Pete's, and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood.  They will be there through December 15th!

Berkeley Historical Society Event

On December 1st, at 1pm, the Berkeley Historical Society will be installing a Plaque on at 2945 College Avenue honoring "Bill's Trading Post' and Peggy Casey for all our years of service to the community. Everyone is invited for a Celebration with refreshments.