In efforts to ensure safer pedestrian traffic, Berkeley City Council approved multiple pedestrian improvements near Downtown Berkeley and the UC Berkeley campus.
The mobility improvement projects were funded by the city through a collaboration with the 2012 Berkeley Way Project. According to City Councilmember Kate Harrison, large community input and collaboration with local business owners and infrastructure advocacy groups led to the overall approval.
Berkeley Food and Housing Project, an affordable housing advocacy group, assisted in securing funds for the projects. Harrison said the group was able to apply for and secure $3 million in cap and trade grants from the state since these projects offer safe commuting from affordable housing units to public transit stations.
“Berkeley Way Affordable Housing applied for transportation funding from cap and trade because it is BART adjacent,” Harrison said. “Because of that it was the linkage of housing of transit that made it possible.”
The projects include the construction of a “Class IV” bike lane — a type of lane that is separated from the road by an elevated strip of concrete — stretching from Hearst Street to Blake Street. Harrison added that as much as five blocks of this lane could be finished this year.
Other projects include a proposed “bicycle boulevard” that would pass from Sacramento Street to Addison Street to provide students a safer commute through the city toward campus. Harrison noted this would benefit students, as the protected bikeway would lead to Milvia Street from where students can take a direct route to the east edge of campus.
“We have done surveys that showed that more people would bike if they thought it was safe, but they don’t think it’s safe right now,” Harrison said. “I really think it’s a really developed plan, it’s been a long time in the making.”