Downtown Transit Options Studied

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday March 20, 2007

Cars, busses, shuttles, passes and parking will be the themes of the day Wednesday when members of two city panels gather to discuss the future of downtown transportation. 

Members of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) will huddle with the city’s Transportation Commission starting at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. 

DAPAC is currently formulating guidelines for the new city center plan dictated by the settlement of the city’s lawsuit challenging UC Berkeley’s Long Range Development Plan 2020. 

That plan calls for the addition of 800,000 square feet of university buildings and more than 1,000 parking places in the expanded downtown area covered by the new plan. 

The Transportation Commission adopted its own recommendations for the plan Feb. 15, and they will form a starting point for Wednesday night’s discussion. 

While no agenda had been posted by Monday afternoon on DAPAC’s website, members have been provided with a copy of the commission’s recommendations as well as a draft chapter of a proposed transportation element prepared by city staff. 

The commission wants a stronger role for public transit, with more frequent service to the city core. One of the recommendations calls for accepting congestion as a means of encouraging use of mass transit and as a sign of economic vitality. 

Transportation commissioners also want higher street parking fees to encourage use of parking structures and faster turnover of street spaces, as well as to ensure that more spaces are available for quick errands and drop-offs.