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Traffic issues need solutions, not study

John Selawsky
Monday November 19, 2001

The Berkeley Daily Planet received this letter addressed to Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean and the City Council: 


I’m writing in support of the General Plan and specifically retention of Policy T-35, including a two-year moratorium on city-sponsored parking studies in the downtown area. It’s my belief and understanding that the TDM study was recently completed, and that there are ample parking studies available. It’s also my belief that there is a basic flaw in the EIR process for development downtown (and elsewhere), often allowing individual developments with the designation of “insignificant” or slight impacts on traffic, parking, and congestion, but that when we only look at individual developments we rarely see the whole. Each individual development adds to and accumulates impacts on a variety of services and needs, including quality-of-life. 

I believe we must begin to look at long-term solutions to traffic, congestion, pollution, and parking. These issues are all interconnected.Further, this country’s dependence on the internal combustion automobile has put us in the untenable position of supporting regimes around the world which are undemocratic and who do not support, endorse, nor apply our values for democracy to their own people. These regimes have included up until very recently the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as the Shah in Iran and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. I find it one of the great hypocrisies of our time that patriotism in this country has not translated into any attempt to wean ourselves from the world oil/gas market. Whenever local or regional policies favor automobiles and car use over other means of transport, we are perpetuating this hypocritical cycle of dependence and repression. 

I would like to see Berkeley fully implement transit passes for all its employees (I am currently working on a district-wide transit policy for the BUSD, and will early next year introduce a similar policy for our district employees), enhanced transit routes and amenities (such as bus-stop shelters, signage for available parking, and perhaps even satellite parking with shuttle service downtown), bike racks at more convenient locations, and increased pedestrian safety and improvements. Until we do everything we can to encourage and acknowledge the need for better public transit and walking and biking I cannot support additional parking studies downtown. 

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue. 


John Selawsky 

Director, Berkeley Unified School Board