UC Projects Featured on Downtown Panel Agendas

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday October 03, 2006

Some members of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) will face back-to-back meetings this week as the full committee meets Wednesday night, followed by a second session Thursday for members who sit on a subcommittee looking at developments on Center Street. 

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. with public comments, followed by a presentation by Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive Director Kevin Consey on the $120 million museum complex planned for the west end of the block between Center and Addison streets along Oxford Street. 

The university plans a hotel and convention center complex at the western end of the block. 

The meeting will segue into a discussion of a set of draft scenarios about land use and design elements for the new plan, which was mandated by the city’s settlement of its lawsuit filed last year challenging the UC Berkeley Long Range Development Plan outlining projects through 2020. 

DAPAC members who also belong to the panel’s Center Street Subcommittee will be back in the same North Berkeley Senior Center meeting room at 7 p.m. Thursday. 

The downtown planning committee voted overwhelmingly to form the subcommittee in July despite opposition from Chair Will Travis and member Dorothy Walker, a retired UC Berkeley executive. 

With current Transportation and former Planning Commission Chair Rob Wrenn serving as interim chair, the meeting will focus on recommendations to be presented at the next DAPAC meeting in November. 

Items for discussion include: 

• The height of the planned hotel, previously cited as being as much as 12 stories, seven more than the current downtown base maximum height. 

• Options for Center Street between Oxford Street and Shattuck Avenue, with options including two-lane traffic, a pedestrian plaza, green space and a possible open waterway rechanneling Strawberry Creek from its current underground culvert beneath Allston Way. 

• Parking and vehicle access to Center Street. 

• Coordination of the museum and hotel complexes. 

• The role of Center Street in the overall downtown area. 

• Selection of a chair for the subcommittee’s next meeting. 

Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in Rooms A and B on the second floor of the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at Martin Luther King Jr. Way.