Citywide survey identifies priorities for transportation projects

Karen Chow/Staff

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A public workshop on the results of a public survey for a citywide transportation initiative was held Monday.

The Berkeley Strategic Transportation, or BeST, Plan outlines the city’s future transportation projects and goals with an aim of improving the accessibility, mobility and safety of Berkeley’s transportation network. City staff surveyed Berkeley residents on all proposed projects in the plan, specifically asking residents to evaluate the criteria and rank the projects in order of priority.

The survey of about 800 people concluded that residents’ highest priorities were expanding accessibility, increasing safety and maintaining sustainability and climate resistance, in that order, according to ASUC Senator Wes Adrianson, who was present at Monday’s workshop. These criteria were then translated to rank the projects that best aligned with those priorities and would be the most competitive for future grant funding.

Projects were then vetted based on four criteria, including low cost and a high level of community outreach.

The West Berkeley project bundle, which includes changing zoning ordinances in the neighborhood, was ranked of highest importance. Some other projects include a Southside area improvements plan, a Bike Boulevard intersection, the Downtown Berkeley project bundle and the Telegraph Avenue corridor.

“Coming up with transportation solutions that work for cars and pedestrians and cyclists is one of our biggest demands that the public wants to see,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. “It’s a lot of complicated work to try to reflect what the public surveys say and what the public most wants to see, and out of all of those hundreds of people giving feedback, they’ve put a list of projects in order of importance and priority.”

But Dave Campbell, advocacy director of Bike East Bay, said the BeST Plan lacks the inclusion of new projects and instead focuses on existing ones.

“(The plan) gathers up all projects from current plans that have been approved to date and better organizes them and prioritizes them for funding,” Campbell said.

The plan will be updated every two years, according to Campbell. He believes the next update should seek funding for more modern transportation projects.

“Given how many people ride the buses, I really think it’s important that we put additional focus on how to improve the bus service,” Worthington said.

The proposal will be presented to Berkeley City Council in eight to 10 weeks, according to Worthington.

Contact Sareen Habeshian at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sareeenn