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Proposal would encourage sprawl

Marcy Greenhut BEST
Tuesday June 11, 2002

To the Editor: 

As an organization dedicated to the advocacy of sustainable, attractive, safe, and equitable transportation choices, Berkeley Ecological and Safe Transportation Coalition (BEST) must oppose the Berkeley Height Initiative. You may have seen people gathering signatures to get this initiative on the ballot in November. 

If passed, this initiative would stop smart growth and limit height and growth in Berkeley, thereby forcing new development into the outlying areas of the Bay Area, such as Tracy, Fairfield, and Castro Valley. Essentially, the initiative would significantly change the recently adopted 

General Plan, which represents a hard-won compromise that took years to achieve.  

The Height Initiative is a regressive measure that would put Berkeley in the forefront of NIMBY-ism. In doing so, it would encourage sprawl and guarantee the introduction of even more single occupancy automobiles onto already crowded streets and highways, including our own. 

The Height Initiative would worsen the job/housing imbalance and create even more traffic congestion, as new Bay Area residents would have no other option but to live in outlying areas and pollute their way through Berkeley neighborhoods on their way to work and school. 

Wouldn't it be better to allow growth to occur near jobs and existing public transit, such as the bus lines and BART? Wouldn1t it be better to allow the appropriate densities necessary to support public transportation and retail and job centers so as to make Berkeley a truly "walkable" city?  

To both questions the BEST Coalition answers emphatically "yes." The Height Initiative is a big step in the wrong direction. 


Marcy Greenhut