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Press Release: Students Want More Stores, Safer Shopping Experience on Telegraph Avenue and Downtown

From Councilmember Laurie Capitelli's office
Wednesday June 01, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM

For Immediate Release 

June 1, 2011 


Students Want More Stores, Safer Shopping Experience on Telegraph Avenue and Downtown 



Clara Botstein, Legislative Director for City & Community Affairs, Graduate Assembly, 

U.C. Berkeley: 914/388-0699 

Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Councilmember: 510/981-7150 

David Fogarty, Acting Director of Economic Development, City of Berkeley 510/981-7534 

John Caner, Executive Director, Downtown Berkeley Association 510/549-2230 

Roland Peterson, Director, Telegraph Avenue Association 510/486-2366 

Caleb Dardick, Director, Local Government and Community Relations, 

U.C. Berkeley 510/643-5296  


Berkeley, CA – The results of a survey of over 1800 UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff indicate that they would shop and visit the Downtown Berkeley and Telegraph Avenue shopping districts more if there were a better selection of stores and if those districts were safer and more welcoming. 

Following a student government initiated City-University Forum with city leaders in March, Councilmember Laurie Capitelli suggested that students conduct a survey to advise the City of Berkeley on how to improve the quality of life, shopping and recreation in the Downtown and on the Telegraph Ave. corridor. More than 90% of the respondents were UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students. 

“The shopping districts near campus are under-performing,” said Capitelli. “And yet there are over 35,000 students nearby who are potential customers. If we are going to revitalize our local business districts we need to understand what the campus community wants to see here. Otherwise we are going to continue to lose business to Emeryville and San Francisco.” 

“Both districts fall short of meeting the shopping needs of our student population,” said Clara Botstein, Graduate Assembly Legislative Director for City and Community Affairs, who coordinated the survey. The survey found that 74% of respondents would come to Downtown Berkeley and 70% would visit Telegraph Avenue if the districts had more retail shops that they liked. Specifically, students want an “all purpose” store like Target (86.9% of respondents) , a “basic clothing” store (79.6%), an “upscale” clothing” store (86%), an electronics store (78%) a household appliance store (78.5%) and a grocery store (78.3%).  

Safety is also a major concern for students. “The survey underscores the fact that a high proportion of students do not feel safe in the business districts, particularly on Telegraph Avenue.” Botstein said. For example, the survey found that 66.6% of respondents would visit Telegraph more frequently if they felt safer and 75% said they would come more often if the area were cleaner and more inviting.  

“As a city we need to make every effort to make our commercial districts clean, safe and welcoming. We should not tolerate a situation where many students, particularly women, feel these areas are unsafe,” said Councilmember Capitelli. 

The survey was conducted by the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly (GA) and Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) in partnership with the Telegraph Business Improvement District, Downtown Berkeley Association, UC Berkeley’s Local Government and Community Relations Office, City Council Members Laurie Capitelli, Susan Wengraf, Gordon Wozniak and the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development.  

Next steps in this collaboration include the analysis and publication of the 4,000 comments by respondents and a follow up City-University forum to be scheduled in the fall. 

For more information and to see complete survey results, go to: 

Attachment : Highlights of Survey Results