Rob Wren's statement (March 2-3) that the feared Underhill Garage will "add a huge amount of additional parking" is misleading, The increased neighborhood traffic from the garage may be huge, but the benefit for drivers needing to park will be negligible after construction, during which the project will of course make the parking mess worse.
Current demand for parking, and planned expansion, will hardly be solved with a few hundred more stalls, even if U.C. keeps using every last dime for garages. The strategy is clearly not working and has no real hope of solving the mess, because thousands of commuters will still be without alternatives.
Instead, parking funds could be used to relieve parking now, so that more garages may not even be needed. The easiest/first help should be providing campus staff with toll-free transit eco-passes like the ASUC, UCLA, City of Berkeley, and countless forward-thinking employers do .
A broader strategy is also needed because Berkeley's historic transit alternatives have been lost since the encroachment of autos. Without a single light-rail/streetcar line to Cal, and without even one of the three historic rail stations still open, traveling to campus is more difficult than before autos were first brought here!
To re-store Berkeley transit to pre-auto levels, U.C.'s influence will be the best help for the parking monster. Cal now lacks direct transit to the Emeryville and Oakland Amtrak, the airport, and even some nearby residential neighborhoods where buses can help.
Restoring transit will help drivers the most, because streets AND parking will be less crowded. Fortunately, we will have a safer, cleaner, and friendlier future when U.C. starts supporting transit over traffic.
Cal staff are now calling for alternatives to the current worsening mess, and Berkeley should join the crowd.