City Council, community groups review plans to improve Telegraph Avenue

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NOVEMBER 28, 2012

Berkeley City Council and members of the public convened at a work session Tuesday night to discuss proposals from various organizations aimed at improving the Telegraph Avenue area south of the UC Berkeley campus.

Berkeley Design Advocates, a representative for the Lower Sproul Project and the Telegraph Business Improvement District were all present for the discussion. Representatives from the Telegraph Livability Coalition, though scheduled to speak, did not appear.

Many of the proposals put forth centered around making Telegraph a more pedestrian-friendly avenue with better flows of traffic. Popular topics of discussion included adding more lighting and creating more two-way streets.

“We believe that two-way traffic will make a big difference … on Telegraph Avenue,” said Matthew Taecker of the Berkeley Design Advocates. “We want to start on Durant and Bancroft as a test case.”

Alex Bergtraun of the Berkeley Design Advocates said that current projects under way are to create arc ways of lighting that would appear as a “processional of light” on the street.

A representative for the Lower Sproul Project was also available, though some on the council appeared concerned as to how construction would negatively impact business in the immediate future. Construction is expected to begin this upcoming February.

General council sentiment, however, appeared excited about the proposal, as many of them thanked the groups for their efforts.

“I’m very excited about the lighting plan,” said Councilmember Susan Wengraf. “I’ve seen it in other cities. It works. It’s also a way of defining the area.”

In terms of moving forward with many of the proposals, Mayor Tom Bates has said that he will pursue round table discussions in the coming months to better flesh out and discuss the proposed ideas.

On the part of the groups themselves, it appears that much discussion still remains to be had. One major sticking point between TBID and the BDA has been the nature of traffic on the road.

“We’re going to have a series of meetings with TBID over two-way, one-way, pedestrian-only and try to come back in six months with some answers,” Bergtraun said.

He warned, however, that changing lanes could take years to fully implement. For now, much of the ideas still need to be fully discussed.

Contact Jaehak Yu at 


NOVEMBER 28, 2012

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