Berkeley Bowl Expansion Would Snarl Westside Traffic

Tuesday July 20, 2004

To the Berkeley City Counci, the Planning Commission and the Zoning Adjustments Board: 

We are very concerned that the traffic, congestion and parking problems that would be generated by the proposed West Berkeley Bowl would be materially detrimental and cause extensive harm to businesses and residents in the area. A 55,000-square-foot supermarket would bring more than 6,000 new autos into the area each weekday, and more than 9,700 each weekend day. Over 600 extra autos would drive into the area at peak afternoon hours each weekday. Once built, the West Berkeley Bowl would generate over 51,000 total vehicle trips per week. As proposed, the West Bowl project has only 128 parking stalls--and 19 “tandem” stalls. 

Traffic of that level would create chaos in the neighborhood and damage manufacturing and other businesses, perhaps irreparably. We call on the city to limit the Bowl or any other new development to a size and type that would keep traffic to levels compatible with maintaining an industry-friendly environment in West Berkeley, as codified in the West Berkeley Plan. 

Originally the Bowl proposed to put a warehouse and a neighborhood grocery at Ninth and Heinz streets. We propose a return to this plan. A market half the size of the proposed West Bowl—about the size of the University Avenue Andronico’s, 26,000 square feet—would still generate traffic and have a serious impact, but would probably not be devastating to the area. It is not the city’s responsibility to solve these problems, but the burden of the developer making the proposal. 

We further urge you to not make changes in the codified West Berkeley Plan or the city’s General Plan in order to accommodate the West Bowl proposal. These documents contain vital protections for industry, and any weakening of them would open the door to further proposals with detrimental consequences to manufacturing and to the neighborhood. Finally we urge you to organize traffic flow to minimize the impact on the adjoining residential community by blocking traffic from turning north from Heinz onto the local streets. 


West Berkeley Association of Industrial Companies