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What about quality of life on San Pablo Avenue ?

Allen Freeman
Sunday September 29, 2002

To the Editor: 

Peter Teichner's passionate attack on housing and smart growth, Sept. 17 Daily Planet Forum, is just not convincing. Teichner and other pro-height initiative folks fail to understand how critical new housing is to making Berkeley a truly livable city. One of the most common arguments used by the anti-housing, NIMBY crowd is that the initiative will preserve the wonderful character of our neighborhoods from the awful mixed-use housing developments going in downtown and along transit corridors. Teichner cites 2700 San Pablo Ave. as an example of these terrible developments he wants to stop. Indeed, Mr. Teichner doesn't want to “forfeit Berkeley's low-key urban character and our current quality of life.” 

As a resident of west Berkeley (not too far from San Pablo Avenue), I am curious what “quality of life” he is talking about exactly. Is referring to the rampant crime and prostitution that occur on a street that is all but deserted after dark? Is he referring to the quality of life on San Pablo where not a single restaurant is open in the evening for nearby residents?  

San Pablo Avenue, with its wonderful street trees and prime location, has great potential to be one of the most beautiful boulevards in the Bay Area. What San Pablo needs so badly is more mixed-use housing that brings working families and small businesses into the neighborhood. These residents then naturally provide “eyes on the street” at all times, producing a safer and more livable city that no amount of police presence could ever ensure. Proposition P supporters don't seem to understand that Berkeley residents are fed-up with crime, traffic, pollution, and over-priced housing.  


Allen Freeman