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Parking Reversal on Telegraph

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday July 25, 2006

Removing Telegraph Avenue parking last fall to correct substandard bike lanes was a “colossal blunder,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. 

“It was done without the knowledge of the City Council and the Transportation Commission,” he said. 

Correcting the parking-space error, looking at developer fees for traffic impacts, hearing an appeal from neighbors who object to the demolition of a structure at 2106 Sixth St. are just a few of the 42 items the council will address tonight (Tuesday) before its seven-week recess. 

The council is back in session Sept. 19. 

The Telegraph Avenue correction will be accomplished, with some 22 parking spaces restored—if approved by the City Council tonight—by removing the concrete pedestrian islands in the middle of the street so that the automobile and bike lanes can be reconfigured at the end of a number of blocks between Dwight Way and Ashby Avenue. 

“Apparently someone in the bureaucracy thought [replacing the parking spaces with the narrower motorcycle spaces] was the correct thing to do,” Worthington said. 

If the council approves the Transportation Commission’s recommendation to restore the parking spaces, it will be “a giant victory for common sense,” Worthington said. The error will cost about $65,000 to correct. 

Traffic Engineer Hamid Mostwfi emailed the following response to the Daily Planet: 

“It was not a mistake: (1) The decision to change the configuration was made based on the fact that the previous parking/bike lane was of substandard width (11 feet). We widened that lane to 12 feet, the minimum standard for a shared parking/bike lane. This was done in order to reduce the risk of bicyclists colliding with drivers swinging out their door after parking their vehicle in the parking lane. (2) The reason for removal of some parking spaces: The width of the parking lane could not be widened to 12 feet at some of the intersections along Telegraph due to the concrete partial median. Instead of red-curbing these locations and thus rendering those spaces off-limits to all traffic, it was decided that by allocating those spaces to motorbikes,  

at least some parking use would be made of them.” 


Public hearing: transportation services fees 

A public hearing, delayed from two weeks ago, will be held tonight on transportation services fees. The city is proposing to charge developers for the impact of additional automobile trips their projects create. The funds raised would be used to mitigate the impact of the new traffic, especially those facilitating alternatives to automobiles, including new shuttle service. 


2104 Sixth Street appeal 

While both the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Zoning Adjustments Board approved the de facto demolition of 2104 Sixth St. during what was supposed to be construction of a first-floor addition, the Friends of the Ocean View-Sisterna Historic District are appealing the decision and have collected signatures from 64 Berkeley residents who support the appeal. 

In a June 13 letter San Francisco attorney Jeff Hoffman argued that a full environmental impact report should be done “that fully analyzes the potential significant adverse impacts” of the demolition. 

The council will hear the appeal tonight. 


Other matters 

The council will also address: 

• Workers’ right to form a union at the West Berkeley Bowl and the need for fair labor practices at all Berkeley businesses; 

• Appointment of Claudette Ford, acting Public Works director, to the Permanent position at $165,000 annually, with benefits at about $84,000. She will manage a department with 309 full-time positions and a budget of $80.5 million; 

• A contract for $38,000 with Mildred Howard and Daniel Galvez to create a mural of the life of former Councilmember Maudelle Shirek; 

• Opposition to SB 1056 which would pre-empt local governments from regulating seeds and nursery plants; 

• Opposition to Proposition 85, which would require parental notification for abortions and a 48-hour waiting period; 

• A grand jury report criticizing Berkeley’s issuance of citations at parking meters that may be inoperable. The council will be asked to address the city’s response; 

• A work plan for the development of the Ashby BART station; 

• Placement on the ballot of two citizens’ initiatives, one which would amend the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and another that would address condominium conversion. 

A Housing Authority Meeting at 6 p.m. precedes the 7 p.m. City Council meeting at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way