October 1, 2020

Red Flag Warning for Berkeley Hills Extended Until 9pm Tonight

AC Alert as of 10am Monday, Sept. 28th 

Reminder to review evacuation routes, park off-street, and sign up for emergency alerts.

A high fire danger warning that was issued for the Berkeley hills for Saturday 9/26 through Monday 9/28 has been extended until 9:00 pm on Monday 9/28. Berkeley hills residents in particular should prepare for by signing up for alerts, reviewing evacuation routes and parking off street when possible.

Please also take steps to prevent fires. Use extreme caution when operating BBQs, power equipment, or other heat sources such as idling cars. Remember that fireworks are always completely forbidden in Berkeley and surrounding areas.

Now is a great time to:

  • Sign up for AC Alert. Make sure everyone in your home is registered for AC Alert, the City’s emergency notification service.
  • Review your household’s evacuation routes. Make sure to plan at least two routes away from your neighborhood. During an evacuation you may not be able to drive, so consider using the network of Berkeley Path Wanderers paths in your evacuation plans. See CityofBerkeley.info/wildfire for evacuation information and download our printable evacuation checklist.
  • Park off-street. Use your driveway or garage, leaving streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Take steps to prepare and keep your household safe during this Red Flag Warning.

Measure T1 Community Meetings 

In 2016, Berkeley voters overwhelmingly passed Measure T1 to provide funding for infrastructure improvements throughout the City.  The community meeting for District 8 residents to discuss the second round of T1 projects and funding will be on Thursday, October 1‐ 6:30 ‐8:30 PM. Please provide input and advocate for the Willard clubhouse renovation and redesign.

The meeting is virtual and can be accessed through this zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/97867174185 or by dialing in from a phone: +16699006833,  97867174185#

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can email your thoughts to [email protected].

Make a plan to vote! 

This year all ballots will be mailed. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters will start mailing ballots on October 5th. 

Vote In Person: Accessible voting locations (AVLs) are listed below

  • Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St.
  • Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda 
  • MLK Student Union 3rd floor Pauley Ballroom, 2455 Bancroft Way 
  • Berkeley High School Gym, 1980 Allston Way
  • Willard Middle School, 2425 Stuart St . 
  • Longfellow School Gym, 1500 Derby St. 
  • Ed Robert Campus, 3045 Adeline St 
  • Lawrence Hall Of Science, 1 Centennial Dr. 
  • City Of Berkeley Private Building, 1011 University Ave. 

AVLs will be open for voting beginning on Saturday, October 31, and will generally be open from 8:30am-5pm on Saturday 10/31, Sunday 11/1, and Monday 11/2, and 8am-8pm on Election Day, 11/3. If there are updates to the locations and timings, that will be provided in a future email. For more details on ballot drop boxes and AVLs, visit the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

Drop off your ballot (ballot boxes are still being installed):

  • Frances Albrier Rec. Center, 2800 Park Street 
  • Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Avenue
  • North Branch Library, 1170 The Alameda
  • West Branch Library, 1125 University Ave
  • Civic Center Building, 2180 Milvia Street
  • UC Berkeley (Campus) Sather Gate/Architects & Engineers Bldg.

Vote by Mail – Return by mail—must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received no later than 3 Days after Election Day. No postage required.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8


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.  

City of Berkeley COVID-19 Resources

Wildfire Evacuation Preparedness Online Workshop

In a community that is vulnerable to risks of fast spreading wildfires, like Berkeley, wildfire preparedness has to be a priority for all of us. Self-evacuation is the most common way for residents to respond to a wildfire. There’s a lot we can do to get ready.  During this workshop, participants will learn about and discuss key actions to be better prepared.

 Register to receive the online links to the workshop. 

Wednesday, 9/30, 6p https://www.eventbrite.com/e/berkeley-wildfire-evacuation-preparedness-registration-122636090849

 Don’t wait for the workshop, visit the City’s Wildfire Evacuation webpage for information on how to improve on your family’s wildfire preparedness today.

Also see the National Fire Protection Association’s virtual public education workshops.

PG&E Helping Customers Prepare in Advance of Public Safety Power Shutoff Events with New Watch and Warning Notifications 

As Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to improve vital safety communications for customers that will be used before turning off power to prevent wildfires during severe weather, the company has enhanced its notifications to provide more detail about when power is expected to go out, when it may be restored and where customers can go to find additional information. 

New Watch and Warning Designations Add Important Details

In response to direct customer feedback requesting more information as soon as possible to ensure they have time to prepare and plan in advance of a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event, PG&E will provide Watch and Warning notifications this year.   

Watch Alert

Whenever possible, an initial Watch notification will be sent two days in advance of a potential PSPS event, followed by an additional Watch notification one day before the potential PSPS event, notifying customers of the possibility of a PSPS event in their area based on forecasted conditions. 

Warning Alert

A PSPS Watch will be upgraded to a Warning when forecasted conditions show that a safety shutoff will be needed, and that it is going to happen soon. Whenever possible, Warning notifications will be sent approximately four to 12 hours in advance of the power being shutoff.  

Both Watch and Warning notifications are directly tied to weather forecasts, which can change rapidly. For example, predicting the time and area of landfall for tropical storms and hurricanes in the southeast United States.

As an example of how notifications have been improved for 2020, customers will see an estimated time when their power will be restored two days before it goes out. Last year, that estimated time of restoration wasn’t provided until the power had been turned off. 

Watch and Warning alerts will be issued via automated calls, texts and emails. Both Watch and Warning alerts have been enhanced since 2019, tested with customers, adjusted based on their feedback, and will now provide new essential information, including:

  • Your address so you know you’re getting the accurate information for your home.
  • The date and time when power is estimated to be shut off. (For example, between 6 and 10 p.m. on Oct. 7.)
  • The estimated date and time when we expect power will be restored. (For example, by 4 p.m. on Oct. 9)

When power is turned off, PG&E will provide updates to customers at least once a day until power is restored. Power will remain off until the weather has passed, and equipment has been inspected. PG&E is seeking to cut restoration times in half compared to 2019 so that power is restored to the majority of customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed. PG&E will send a final notification once power has been restored.         

Additional resources 

  • By September, PG&E’s emergency website (www.pge.com/pspsupdates) will be available in 13 languages. Currently, the website is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, Vietnamese and Korean. Six additional languages will be available by September to include Farsi, Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi and Japanese. Customers will have the opportunity to choose their language of preference for viewing the information when visiting the website.
  • Customers are encouraged to update their contact information and indicate their preferred language for notifications by visiting www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts or by calling 1-800-742-5000, where in-language support is available.
  • Tenants and non-account holders can sign up to receive PSPS ZIP Code Alerts for any area where you don't have a PG&E account by visiting www.pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
  • PG&E has launched a new tool on our online Safety Action Center (www.safetyactioncenter.pge.com) to help customers prepare. By using the "Make Your Own Emergency Plan" tool and answering a few short questions, visitors to the website can compile and organize the important information needed for a s personalized family emergency plan. This includes phone numbers, escape routes and a family meeting location if an evacuation is necessary.


Send feedback on draft revised Zoning Ordinance by September 30

Give feedback to help us make it easier to understand Berkeley's zoning laws, which govern what can be built and what activities can take place in a particular location. These laws can be complicated, full of technical jargon and hard-to-find "hidden rules." Berkeley is no exception.

Simplifying these rules increases equity. Please give your input before September 30, and share this message with others. When making suggestions, keep in mind those who have the least access to architects, lawyers or resources to navigate systems.

Making Berkeley’s zoning easier to understand

We want every community member to be able to look at the Zoning Ordinance and easily understand:

  • What can be built on a particular piece of property
  • What uses are permitted on that property
  • What process is required to get a project approved

The revised ordinance does not include any substantive changes to policy, zoning, or development standards. It simply reorganizes and reformats existing regulations to make them more accessible.

Changes include:

  • Adopted a simpler writing style, using shorter paragraphs, outlines, and subheadings to make it easy for anyone to understand the intent of a particular section at a glance
  • Reorganized the document to be easier to navigate
  • Consolidated similar sections to remove redundant information
  • Replaced text descriptions of district borders with maps
  • Added tables summarizing allowed uses for all residential, commercial, and manufacturing districts
  • The entire draft baseline Zoning Ordinance is available for review online.

Give feedback online using Berkeley Considers

We're asking community members to help us ensure the revised code is easy to understand by completing a short survey on Berkeley Considers, the City's moderated online engagement platform.

Berkeley Considers also offers the option of saving your comments and revisit the survey later to add comments on additional sections. The survey closes September 30th. 

Online Office Hours September 29

Ask questions or share your comments directly with project staff during drop-in online "office hours." Upcoming dates are:

Tuesday, September 29, 3pm-5pm

For instructions on joining office hours by phone, or to see future opportunities to participate, visit the project webpage.

This Zoning Ordinance Revision Project is one part of Berkeley's larger Strategic Plan efforts to increase access and transparency in local government. Please complete the survey and help the City more clearly articulate its land use rules for easy use by you and your neighbors.

Send questions or comments to Justin Horner, Associate Planner, at [email protected] 

AC Transit resumes fare collection on Monday, October 19. All rides on Tempo Line 1T are free through November 8th.

AC Transit introduced multiple changes in the wake of COVID-19. These included rear-door boarding and no fare collection in order to facilitate social distancing and help protect the safety of our riders and operators.

In addition, AC Transit introduced the reNew Plan outlining our commitment to enhanced health and safety practices. These include the installation of face mask and hand sanitizer dispensers onboard. We have begun outfitting our buses with a protective barrier to help safeguard operators and riders by the farebox area, and while the bus is in service.

The installation of the dispensers and protective shields is set to be completed by Friday, October 16. Following these upgrades, fare collection and front-door boarding resume on Monday, October 19, 2020.

For more information, please check the Fares and Clipper page on our site, contact the Customer Call Center at 510-891-4777, or submit input on the AC Transit website.

Need more help? Go to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).