Letter to the Editor:
We, the members of the Berkeley Ecological and Safe Transportation (BEST) Coalition, are writing in support of the Affordable Housing Associates’ "Outback Senior Homes."
Outback is a mixed-use, low-income senior housing project located on the corner of Blake and Sacramento streets. This project is not only appropriate in light of our current housing shortage, but it is also well located at a transit convergence and mixed-use node with sidewalk retail. Transit service in this neighborhood is both local and regional, including the intersecting AC 88 and 65 lines, which connect to BART, and Transbay route H.
In addition, the neighborhood can easily accommodate improved transit and non-automobile mobility, making it a logical neighborhood for increased mass transit, pedestrian, and bicycle density. The scale of the project is comparable to the newly completed, four-story "Over Sixty" Health Center at Sacramento and Alcatraz streets.
The city of Berkeley has pledged to significantly increase its housing stock, as indicated in the Housing Element of the General Plan Revision. The Outback Senior Home Project complies with this pledge in a way that is both beneficial to the neighborhood and in harmony with Smart Growth principles. The BEST Coalition works to enhance community health, safety, livability, and equity by advocating for and encouraging comprehensive and collaborative transportation, land use, and design strategies that move away from automobile dependency and towards healthier patterns of habitation and mobility. We believe that the Outback Senior Homes development project meets these criteria.
We urge Council to honor the lengthy process of review and redesign that has already taken place. The Affordable Housing Associates are offering the community a project that will provide quality living for some of our aging residents who need immediate access to transit lines and shopping facilities. Outback Senior Homes is a good example of a sound project meeting the needs of the community and demonstrating smarter coordination between land use and transportation. This project should be approved.
- The Berkeley Ecological and Safe Transportation Coalition