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Don’t turn tennis courts into parking lot

Sincerely, Senta Pugh Chamberlain
Wednesday April 03, 2002

Dear Chancellor Berdahl, 


On behalf of 622 petitioners, I ask you to not convert the six UC tennis courts on top of the Lower Hearst Parking Structure into 138 new parking spaces. The courts are a UC and community resource that benefits many people all day. The parked cars claim space and often benefit only one driver per car.  

By agreement with the city and under the California Environmental Quality Act, it is promised that all the courts will be replaced. Such replacement is superior to what occurred when a total of ten courts were removed at the Tang Center and Strawberry Canyon, with just two replacement courts at Clark Kerr. 

However, we think the Scenic courts should stay intact in the first place because: 

a. The six courts are in walking distance for the dorm residents of Foothill, Stern, and the Co-ops, the future La Loma residence and the LBNL and the Northside community. If the Scenic courts go, the wait time for the three La Loma courts will prevent many students from using them for recreation. 

b. Since the Tang and Strawberry courts have never been at all properly replaced, the Scenic courts should stay in place. The additional placement of new courts at Smyth Fernwalk would be a good thing to begin to take care of the recreational needs of a growing student population, especially when the 6 Bancroft and the 9 Channing courts also go, as is projected. 


UC has many other options that would allow them to deal with the continuing problem of too few parking spaces for a constantly growing population of drivers. 

a. A free Class/Eco pass for faculty and staff following the renewed UCLA project that is subsidized through one million dollars in parking permit revenues. This could include a “free ride-home” provision. 

b. Bicycle Friendly Berkeley Coalition is eager for creation of a North-South bike trail. This echoes the historical plan for an underground North-South campus passage. Mopeds and Vespas use could be encouraged with special parking permits and space. 

c. Special space and permits for carpool parking could be encouraged, particularly at the Lower Hearst structure where the recreational space is at risk. If even 1/3 of each of the existing three levels were reserved for parking of cars with two or more passengers, the courts could be saved quite painlessly. 

d. If these measures were done, it would be much easier for persons dropping off students to get to the University, not to mention the reduced pressure of fewer cars on the city of Berkeley and the environment. 

e. Plans like those mentioned would be more fitting in a post-Sept. 11 world where the acceptability of any continued foreign oil dependency is coming into question, where the patriotism of using less gas and oil could well be a more important goal as the next years pass by. Isn’t it appropriate for a University where leading scientists attend international conferences on Kyoto Accords and Greenhouse Warming, to use all its talent and intelligence to be a leader in planning for the coming transportation changes that may be necessary in this century. 


By leaving the six Scenic tennis courts intact, perhaps by building more student housing near campus and striving to maintain good community relations by providing recreational space for students and town, UC will improve the quality of life in and around the campus. The press of cars on the streets of Berkeley as far away from the campus as two and three miles in the residential areas of the city is a constant source of bad will in Berkeley. A long term plan to reduce UC traffic would do a lot to heal some of the negative impact of this great, university in our midst. 

You yourself, Chancellor Berdahl, during Charter Day ceremonies used the phrase “our university’s most cherished values of improving the world and improving people’s lives.” We agree, and hope you will start the improvement by helping relieve the relentless pressure of university-related traffic on Berkeley’s streets and continuing to sponsor recreation space for your students and larger university and general community. 

Thank you for your time.  




Senta Pugh Chamberlain 




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