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City cites staffing challenges among other issues for Hopkins Street redesign delays

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The Berkeley City Council has cancelled a meeting originally intended to discuss the redesigning of Hopkins Street.


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APRIL 11, 2023

The Berkeley City Council has canceled a special meeting, originally scheduled for Apr. 18, to discuss the Hopkins Street corridor redesign, citing staffing shortages, additional time to review the project and issues with fire code compliance, according to a newsletter from Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. As of press time, the city has not released a date for the postponed meeting.

Karen Parolek is a coordinating committee member of Walk Bike Berkeley, a Berkeley community driven organization working towards safe and fun walking and biking for people of all ages and abilities. Parolek said she is disappointed with the city’s delays considering Hopkins St. is a “high injury corridor.”

“We are really really upset about the city delaying action on this because it’s been apart of the bike plan since 2017,” Parolek said. “This project itself has been going on for almost 2 years now. Increased delay is just increased risk that someone else is going to get hurt.”

Parolek also noted that creating safe streets in Berkeley is critical considering the city’s “Vision Zero” pledge to eliminate fatal crashes in Berkeley by 2028. She noted that cities across the country have found great success in limiting fatal injuries and that Berkeley delaying the redesign goes against the pledge.

Walk Bike Berkeley was founded when Fulton Street was scheduled to be repaved with a protective bike lane and was repaved without the lane. Due to the smooth road, cars were speeding, causing cyclist Meg Schwarzman to be seriously injured.

The city added a protective lane following Schwarzman’s accident. Parolek said that the city could have saved money and protected people like Schwarzman if they added the protective lane as originally slated.

“Things like raised crosswalks that slow pedestrians down narrowing traffic lanes are really important for slowing down people driving,” Parolek said. “It also makes sure (bikers) feel like they don’t need to ride on the sidewalk so it makes it safe for people walking on the sidewalk.”

Parolek also said that having narrower roads and protected bike lanes on both sides of the street can reduce traffic speeds and make it safer for pedestrians, those using various mobility devices and cyclists.

City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley originally made the request to the mayor to delay the meeting and the mayor complied. Parolek referenced a letter sent out by Williams-Ridley and noted she disagrees heavily with the city’s handling of the project.

Parolek alleged that the city is coming up with excuses for putting the project “on ice,” causing her and other members of both the community and Walk Bike Berkeley to be frustrated.

“We are tired of the excuses of the needed safety improvements on our streets; we are tired of people getting injured and getting killed on our streets; we’re tired of parents having to worry about sending their kids to school and getting them there safely everyday,” Parolek said. “People of all ages and abilities are getting seriously injured and killed. We’re tired of the city delaying and not getting these important projects finished.”

Contact Lucía Umeki-Martínez at 


APRIL 11, 2023