City advances plans for Adeline Corridor

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On Saturday, Berkeley city officials held their most recent public workshop to discuss community members’ visions for a newly developed Adeline Corridor neighborhood.

The workshop facilitated discussion among community members on a range of key proposals — including affordable housing, transportation, open space and economic opportunities — as part of a longer term plan to revitalize the street.  According to the project’s principal planner Alisa Shen, the workshop — which hosted 80 participantswas part of one of four phases aiming to garner feedback about potential development plans for the corridor.

Shen said the most recent workshop focused on determining the best way to use publicly owned land parcels, accommodate various modes of transportation and create affordable housing options on the street.

Heather Haxo Phillips, the owner of Adeline Yoga, a yoga studio located on the corridor, said that another development goal was rejuvenating the traditionally underserved community’s “richly diverse” business corridor, noting its potential to be a “hub of transportation.

“What we can do to keep people in their homes, support the vibrant business district and build an even more vibrant business district is what this planning is about,” Haxo Phillips said. “I think this plan will put down in writing our vision so that we can … make that dream a reality.”

Adeline Street, nestled between Shattuck Avenue and the Berkeley-Oakland border, comprises 12,700 citizens — and roughly 11 percent of Berkeley’s total populationaccording to a 2014 report written by the Office of Economic Development. The report also cites the street as one of South Berkeley’s primary commercial districts and home to a racially diverse population.

According to the presentation, less than three percent of owner-occupied homes on the street was accessible to individuals who earn a “moderate income,” highlighting the threat of displacement many current residents face. The presentation suggested educating residents about tenant rights and identifying sites to construct affordable housing as future solutions.

Shen noted, however, that many community members at the workshop disagreed on how to maximize street space. While some proposed prioritizing scarce land by replacing flea markets in two parking lots with affordable housing, others favored preserving the market site instead.

Shen added that the community would have to work with existing street regulations, such as those concerning privately held land parcels, to reach its developmental goals and that the project would likely be ongoing until possible funding is secured.

The next meeting will cover how to “tweak existing regulations to support the community’s goals.” Shen anticipates that the community will potentially reach a consensus about which plans it prefers around November.

“This planning process has been really good for people to say what they feel and hear each other and bring people together,” Haxo Phillips said.

Contact Kimberly Nielsen at [email protected].