To the Editor:
Measure P, the height initiative, will reduce the potential for building more affordable housing, will not increase transit use, and is the antithesis of smart growth. Limiting height lessens density but greater density, even with higher construction cost, will build more units and lower unit the cost, of which many would be affordable. Higher density also places more people on the street and increases street safety.
Just providing frequent transit to attract riders, without density, will not increase ridership in keeping with its added cost, hence it requires greater public subsidies. Density and transit use compliment each other. Density is key for reducing cost of increasing transit service. In San Francisco, Muni’s Geary bus line is a good example. Muni is considering upgrading with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) elements as AC Transit is proposing to do along San Pablo Avenue Transit that has good access with dense corridors increases riders that generate greater fare recovery and lessens the public subsidy. Restricting development with height limits will do the opposite.
Smart growth? The well-respected Urban Land Institute details smart growth in its report “Putting the Pieces Together” and recommends dense mixed-use development along with transit. Density will be along major transit lines and not in R-1 single family zones. People will congregate to viable activities and create congestion but for livability, the primary access should be transit. The San Francisco Giant’s Pac Bell Park did not suffer due to limited auto access because they have transit alternatives.
With the educational, cultural and institutional activities that Berkeley has and maintains, we need to develop alternatives to auto use since Berkeley is getting more congested.
BART Director, District 3