Construction set to take place at Berkeley Marina to improve street infrastructure

photo of Berkeley Marina
Kristen Tamsil/File
After "significant" deterioration to the street infrastructure in the Berkeley Marina area, contractors will begin repair in mid-August.

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The Berkeley Marina area is set for reconstruction. This comes months after the approval of the Berkeley Marina Roadway Improvements Project, part of the city’s annual efforts to restore its deteriorating streets.

Contractors will begin work on the project in mid-August, according to Joe Enke, city acting manager of engineering. The project will tackle construction on Marina Boulevard, Spinnaker Way and the stretch of University Avenue from West Frontage Road to Marina Boulevard, as detailed in a City Council report.

Funding for the $6.2 million project comes from the Berkeley Marina DoubleTree hotel, California’s 2017 gas tax increase and local tax funds, according to a Berkeleyside article.

“This year, we’re repaving what is arguably the worst street in the city, University (Avenue) down at the Marina,” said Councilmember Rigel Robinson in his email.

The street has proved problematic for bikers and pedestrians in the past, according to the report.

A roundabout will be installed at the intersection of Marina Boulevard and University Avenue as a gateway to the Marina, among other additions.

“Traveling down a bumpy, deteriorating street in a car is a very different experience than on a bike or on foot,” Robinson said in his email. “Our crumbling streets pose a serious safety risk and are a barrier to encouraging residents to use more sustainable modes of transportation.”

The project also addresses Spinnaker Way, which serves as the main access point to the Marina’s César Chávez Park. The roadway lacks a “proper” crosswalk between the park and the Launch Ramp parking lot and has undergone “significant” deterioration and settlement, collecting water for extended periods, the report reads.

Plans will convert the traffic circle at the roadway’s western end into a stormwater bioretention area. Porous pavers are to be installed in the parking lanes for stormwater infiltration and as a measure against asphalt paving, according to the report.

Construction is set to finalize in the spring and access to University Avenue and Spinnaker Way will remain open, with allowance for traffic shifts to permit reconstruction, according to Enke.

“Paving work on Marina is scheduled for later in the project; again there will not be any full closures, but traffic may be subject to minor delays, especially during active paving operations,” Enke said in an email.

The Berkeley Marina is but one area that endangers street safety in Berkeley. This year, the Berkeley Police Department has received more than 500 calls for service related to collisions, 332 of which resulted in collision reports, according to spokesperson Officer Byron White.

Although deteriorating streets pose an “immediate” concern to operations and safety in Berkeley, its streets remain underfunded, according to a city audit report.

“It will take a new infrastructure ballot measure to raise the money we need to get our paving work back on track,” Robinson said in his email. “Our streets are in dire need of repairs, we can’t wait any longer.”

Contact Lauren Huang at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @Laurenhuang72.