Public Comment

Next Downtown Plan Hearing Will Be March 13

By Martha Nicoloff, former Planning Commissioner
Friday March 09, 2012 - 03:01:00 PM

Tuesday’s hearing on the down town area plan at the City Council was continued until March 13 because of public interest. The following statement was presented to Council members : 

1. Berkeley’s population has increased by ten thousand since the year 2000. 

2. High density in the downtown will strain an already decrepit and inadequate sanitary sewer system. The city is already $500 million dollars behind in improving our deteriorating infrastructure. 

3. High rises will overwhelm both historic buildings and sites of historic significance;and. 

4. Block existing views of bay and hills; and 

5. Create wind tunnels when streets are canyonized by dense high rise development and 

6. Add to traffic congestion and worsening of air quality through increases in vehicle use by inhabitants of taller buildings; and 

7. Increase traffic congestion, adding to the hazards confronting pedestrians, cyclists and disabled when attempting to use crowded and unusually broad streets. 

8. The development will be densely occupied, thus increasing the likelihood of casualties resulting from a seismic event, and further overburden Berkeley’s emergency services. 

9. After a seismic event many high rise buildings will be unusable because of failures of the elevators, water, power and sewer systems. 

10. Some years ago the United States Geologic Survery forecast a 70% chance for a 6.7 quake on the Hayward fault. The recent 4.0 quake of a few days ago should be a reminder that the city must consider the safety of future residents.