Alquist-Priolo Bars Building On Faultlines By JANICE THOMAS

Tuesday December 07, 2004

To follow-up on Charles Smith’s reflections (Letters, Daily Planet, Dec. 3-6) about policies that would effectively prohibit building on earthquake faults, there is already such a policy, a law even, voted in by the state Legislature in 1972. It is the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Zoning Act.  

To quote from UC Berkeley’s 2020 Long Range Development Plan’s draft environmental impact report (LRDP DEIR), “The act states that prior to project approval, cities and counties shall require a geologic report defining and delineating any hazard of surface fault rupture. No structures for human occupancy may be built across an identified active fault trace. Pursuant to the act, the State of California has delineated an Earthquake Fault Zone for the Hayward fault, which runs through the eastern portion of the UC Berkeley campus. This is the only Earthquake Fault Zone within the 2020 LRDP area.”(p. 4.5-3).  

UCB’s LRDP DEIR states furthermore that “the Hayward fault is most relevant to UC Berkeley, since it passes through the eastern part of the campus, under Memorial Stadium and close to Bowles Hall, the Greek Theater, and Donner Lab.” (p. 4.5-7; emphasis added).  

Finally, the UCB LRDP DEIR cites a USGS report which estimates that of the San Andreas fault, the Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault, and the Calaveras fault, the fault with the “highest probability of generating a M?6.7 earthquake before 2032…” is the Hayward (p. 4.5-7). 

For a graphic illustration of the fault running through the stadium, go to www.seismo.berkeley.edu/seismo/tour/stadium.html. 

Despite the presence of the Hayward fault running lengthwise through the stadium, despite the likelihood of a significant seismic event on the Hayward fault, and despite the state legislature’s action to discourage building in the Alquist-Priolo Zone, the university administration stubbornly refuses to look at alternative locations to rebuild its stadium. The Strawberry Canyon location is not just anywhere in the Bay Area, or anywhere in Berkeley, it is one of the highest risk areas around. Even worse, the risks are heightened by topography that interferes with emergency response to spectators and residents alike.  

Concerned neighbors have been effectively intimidated by the pro-sports sentiment surrounding the terrific football team and superb coaching staff. Those days are over. The university needs to find a safe location that does not increase the risk of injury and trauma to spectators and the thousands of people living in the surrounding neighborhoods (plural emphasized). To rebuild at the Strawberry Canyon location is sheer madness.  


Janice Thomas lives in District 8.›