Public Comment

Stop the Center st. garage!

Sennet Williams
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 09:48:00 PM

This fall, UC berkeley finally made public that it is working with "Cybertran," a developer of super-safe, fast, low cost and efficient transit technology: UC Berkeley and CyberTran International Join Forces to Help Solve Traffic Congestion and Other Auto-Related Problems | 

If you read between the lines, it will become clear that someone involved is planning to install trams to Berkeley campus from Richmond, and probably to all points in between. The $100m grant is enough for construction/installation costs. 

This has apparently been planned for a few years, but the city of Berkeley seems to be asleep at the wheel! Why is this important? You may have learned that the City is starting to rebuild the Center st. garage, much larger than before. (The old one was demolished because not enough people were parking there, according to the Daily Cal.) In recent years I had checked that parking structure numerous times, and it hardly ever more than 2/3 full. 

This structure would cost about $50 million, more than $1,000 for every household in Berkeley. (that is apparently what the $100m bond on the Nov. ballot is intended for) The problem is, that parking structure can NEVER pay for itself, and the city will be on the hook for the debt, and also eventually demolishing the unwanted structure. 

Think ahead what will happen when Cybertran is installed through downtown: THOUSANDS of drivers will switch to faster/more convenient trams and so they will not have to pay for parking. The market rate cost of downtown parking will plummet! (Campus parking also) If this is not stopped, they city will face a massive debt. 

The most likely solution that I have identified is for Cal to quickly take the property over by eminent domain for downtown, car-free student housing. If the parking structure is already started, the foundations can still be used for housing, but most of the floors can be built as dorm-style housing, and that will be large enough for 1,000 students who will boost the downtown economy instead of having to drive to Berkeley