February 8, 2019

I'm pleased to cohost office hours with Mayor Arreguin this Sunday at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave., on the corner of College and Ashby. Please stop by between 11am and 1pm and say hello!

2019 has gotten off to a busy start:

On Tuesday, Council heard staff updates to our Pedestrian Plan and Small Business Support package. We also heard from staff about wildfire safety in our community. I encourage you to read these presentations.

The Pedestrian Plan Update dovetails with Berkeley’s work on Vision Zero to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all roads users. As you know, this has been a passion of mine and I’m eager to see this project implemented and provide staff with the resources they need to accomplish this.

Between 2012 and 2016, approximately 3 people were killed and 31 people severely injured each year in traffic collisions. Pedestrian and bicyclists were involved in only 7% of crashes but represent one-third of all traffic fatalities (Vision Zero presentation, 2019).

I have asked the Council to consider a budget allocation to oversee Vision Zero so we can start making progress on this issue. In the meantime, Council has asked staff to daylight problem intersections, particularly on high injury corridors. Approximately 14% of a Berkeley’s street miles account for 93% of fatal and severe injuries.

Last week, Council affirmed the Zoning Adjustments Board’s approval to build a building in Berkeley's Downtown Corridor. In 2010, Berkeley voters overwhelmingly approved Measure R, which was a blueprint for more housing, greater sustainability, and improved transportation and infrastructure Downtown. Our decision last week follows the will of Berkeley voters who supported Measure R's plan to allow taller buildings downtown if they provided community benefits. This project will provide $10 million in affordable housing, good paying jobs, and a community space.

In January, Council passed an ordinance that will eventually require all restaurants to use compostable takeout containers, require that any food served on site be served in non-disposable foodware, and require an additional charge on to-go cups for coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc. The hope is that this ordinance will reduce our reliance on single use, disposable containers, encourage composting, and change our consumption habits. In terms of the cup fee, it will be similar to that of the plastic bag fee: merchants can keep the additional revenue to support the transition to compostable containers, and people will have an incentive to bring their own coffee cups when purchasing drinks.

The Ecology Center, who runs the City recycling program, was a key sponsor of this legislation and conducted significant outreach to businesses. They, along with city staff, are committed to helping businesses as they transition to these new regulations.

Our next Council meeting is on February 19th. You can find the agenda here, which includes a proposal to permit additional cannabis dispensaries in Berkeley. As always, you can email thoughts and questions to [email protected]

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.

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