September 26, 2017

I know that this is the third newsletter I’ve sent this month but there are several important issues and updates I want to provide. Below, I’ve summarized three Council items that I think you would be interested to know about, all on our October 3rd agenda: an impact study of closing Alta Bates hospital, Berkeley’s reserve policy, and a proposal for where to temporarily house homeless residents. I’ve also included a detailed update on the Fourth Bore project (traffic improvements on Tunnel Rd. and Ashby Ave) with project timelines.

October 3rd Council Items of Interest
I encourage you to email with your feedback.

Item 8: General Fund Stability Reserve Usage Criteria

At the beginning of the year, City Council established minimum reserve levels. It was a great step towards fiscal responsibility. At that time, City Council stated its intent to revisit the remaining unaddressed recommendations from our City Auditor and City Manager regarding our stability reserve policy. Essentially, this item would make Council define the parameters for withdrawing funds. This is good government and I believe we should have clear rules about when and why we take money from our reserves.  

Item 11: Health Impact Assessment for Alta Bates Closure

This item is a request from our Community Health Commission to do a Health Impact Assessment on the service changes planned at Alta Bates.The HIA consists of a thorough analysis of the closure’s impact on public health and safety, conducted by faculty at the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health. The recommendation to conduct this assessment is in light of resident concerns that the shutdown would increase wait times, jeopardizing the health of patients in need of immediate care. Therefore, the HIA would serve as an important community education tool and give the City the information needed to appropriately respond to the proposed closure.

Item 17: Location and Facilities Recommendation for the Pathways Project

Last session, Council passed a conceptual Pathways proposal to develop a plan for temporary housing and services for our homeless community. This item provides details on where and what those services look like. Specifically, this item recommends building temporary modular structures to house 50 residents on Second St. between Cedar and Virginia Streets.

Tunnel Rd./Ashby Ave. Fourth Bore Update- detailed plans here

These traffic improvements were made possible by funding from the Caltrans/Fourth Bore Coalition settlement agreement with additional funding from the Safeway on College Project (for the Ashby/Claremont light) and City of Berkeley funds. Current and former District 8 Transportation Commissioners Mark Humbert and Ann Smulka deserve a lot of credit for their efforts as well!

Projects between Domingo and the Oakland border

Work is likely to start next week, possibly on Monday, Sept. 25th. Concrete work is minimal and is expected to take about 2-3 weeks, depending on weather, and some of the electrical items have 3-month lead times between order and delivery, so while the concrete work is relatively quick, the project will extend into late winter.

  • Location B – Tunnel/Uplands –  Improvements include installing a new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) at the intersection, including new curb ramps and crosswalk striping.  Work also includes a curb extension to reduce the speed at which vehicles can safely turn onto The Uplands.

  • Location E – Bicycle Improvements – Includes striping a dedicated bicycle lane in the eastbound direction, and improved bicycle markings in the westbound direction.  

  • Location H – Tunnel/Oak Ridge – Improvements include adding detection to the Oakland Ridge approach that when activated, would trigger the signal at the Claremont Hotel driveway to provide a red light to vehicles on Tunnel Road to increase the likelihood for left turns from Oak Ridge.

  • Location K – Ashby/Telegraph – Includes new left turn signal heads and signal timing changes at the intersection.

Projects at Ashby/Claremont and Ashby/Hillegass

Work will likely begin mid-October/November and most likely be completed around March 2018.

  • Location A – Ashby/Claremont – Improvements include upgrading the signal to video detection, providing protected/permissive phasing for westbound approach, high visibility crosswalks, and a leading pedestrian interval (Note – Video detection is for signal operation. It replaces the in-pavement loops formerly used for intersection efficiency and capacity. They are not speed cameras.)

  • Location M – Ashby/Hillegass – Improvements include installing a new Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) at the intersection, including new curb ramps and enhanced crosswalk striping.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8 

Need a street or sidewalk repair? Want to report illegal dumping?

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.

Planning Director Executive Search - Give Us Your Feedback

The City of Berkeley has engaged The Hawkins Company, an Executive Search firm, to assist the City in identifying and recruiting candidates to serve as the new Planning Director.  As a critical community stakeholder to the City’s planning and building initiatives, we would like for you to share your thoughts and ideas about the qualifications, qualities, and characteristics that would make an ideal candidate for the Planning Director. We’d like to invite you personally to attend a community engagement meeting taking place on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 5pm in the Multipurpose Room of the South Berkeley Senior Center, located at 2939 Ellis St, Berkeley, CA 94703. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Your input will help us develop the job criteria for the Planning Director.  Please respond  to let us know that you will be able to attend. If you are unable to attend but still have an interest in sharing your thoughts, please complete our brief 5 question survey by October 9, 2017.  We thank you for your on-going work and commitment to the Berkeley community.

Need Assistance on a DACA Renewal?

If you or a loved one needs to access free legal services and application fee assistance related to DACA renewals, this list of Bay Area providers that can offer support. Please feel free to share widely!

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704(510) 540-5296

Centro Legal de la
3400 East 12th St., Oakland, CA 94601(510) 437-1554
International Institute of the Bay Area
405 14th Street, Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 451-2846

San Francisco
International Institute of the Bay
657 Mission St., Ste. 301, San Francisco, CA(415) 538-8100

First Annual Downtown Berkeley Pet Parade

12noon-1:30pmSunday October 15, on Shattuck Ave

The Pet Parade is in partnership with Berkeley Sunday Streets, which is celebrating its 7th year of closing 16 blocks of Shattuck Avenue for all ages to stroll, cycle, dance, and joyfully play from 11am-4pm. Start: Walgreen's parking lot (Cedar and Shattuck). Kickoff is at 12noon and hosted by Holistic Hound with treats and water to get your furry friends all a good start!