June 27 2018

Earlier this month, Council prioritized all of the legislation we’ve passed over the last year.

I’m pleased to report that the Vision Zero referral that I authored was the City Council’s #1 priority for this upcoming year.  

Since I introduced the prioritization system three years ago, legislation that I have authored has been the top priority two out of the three years. I want to thank the Mayor and my colleagues on City Council for their support of these important neighborhood and citywide initiatives.

Vision Zero requires Berkeley to develop an action plan to eliminate traffic fatalities. The Vision Zero initiative originated in Sweden, and has since been adopted in various cities throughout the world. Berkeley will be the tenth city to adopt Vision Zero in California. I specifically want to thank Frank Cruz for his advocacy around this issue.  Additionally, Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Ben Gerhardstein, Karen Parolek, and Mark Humbert have been incredibly supportive of this initiative. By putting more funding, staffing, and focus into our City’s traffic and bike/pedestrian infrastructure, we can reduce serious injuries and fatalities on all of our streets.

On that note, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon light to assist bicyclists and pedestrians across Ashby at Hillegass will be up and running this summer! This has been years in the making and I’m very pleased to see it come to fruition. Using sensors to detect a cyclist or by a pedestrian pressing the walk button, this intersection will change signals to allow people to cross Ashby. You can find videos about these types of crossings here and here, and I’ve included a helpful infographic below.

Save the Date: Fire Safety in the Hills–Annual Fire Safety Meeting on July 12th at 7pm at Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley

I will be co-hosting an annual fire safety meeting at the Northbrae Church with Councilmembers Susan Wengraf and Sophie Hahn on July 12th at the Northbrae Church. The topic of this year’s meeting will be firescaping (landscape design and maintenance that reduces the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire), evacuation routes, and vegetation management tips.

Please keep in mind that there is significant fire danger in the hills over the summer. Please remember to sign up for alerts at AC Alert and review your household’s evacuation routes. During an evacuation you may not be able to drive, so consider using the network of Berkeley Path Wanderers paths in your evacuation plans. To learn more, please visit the City’s Wildfire Evacuationpage.

Council Update

On June 26th, I proposed that the City reassess/modify our existing traffic calming policy to allow more streets to qualify for traffic calming. All too often, residents request traffic calming, circulate a petition but then can’t qualify for traffic calming measures, such as bulb outs, speed tables, flashing lights, etc. My hope is that this makes it easier but we still need to address understaffing and underfunding as well.

Council also voted to adopt the FY2019 Budget. The Mayor proposed a set of supplemental budget recommendations which Council passed as well. I was pleased the Mayor agreed to add funds for traffic calming as part of his overall package.

People’s Park

Several weeks ago, UC Berkeley announced plans to build student and supportive housing on People’s Park. I support the University’s effort to change the status quo at People’s Park. I have long said that People’s Park is not working as it is currently constituted and I have talked extensively with UC administration, business, and community stakeholders over the past year regarding plans for People’s Park. I’m pleased to see that the UC will be addressing the community’s concerns regarding the park. Read more about the University’s plans to build housing for both students and very-low income/homeless individuals here.  

Office Hours

My monthly office hours will be on July 12th, from 9:30-11am, at Espresso Roma on College at Ashby. Note that is not the first Thursday of the month which are my usual hours. As always, if you can’t make this time, please feel free to reach out and schedule an individual appointment!

Ending on a happy note, I’d like to congratulate Ari’El Stachel and Itamar Moses, both Berkeley natives, for the Tony awards they received for their contributions to “The Band’s Visit.” Stachel won Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical and Moses won Best Book of a Musical.

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.  

Commissioner Spotlight

I’m pleased to introduce Kristina Lim, my appointee to the Community Environmental Advisory Commission.

Kristina Lim has worked for the last 6 years at Earthjustice--the largest environmental public interest law firm in the country. Soon after she started at Earthjustice, she was appointed to the Community Environmental Advisory Commission and has worked on everything from urban gardening education to reducing the amount of cigarette butts flowing into the Bay to Green Infrastructure projects to household hazardous waste disposal to lead enforcement. Kristina is also a painter, hiker, and urban forager and received her BA from Vassar College.