Development, particularly in downtown Berkeley, has been a major topic of debate in both the council chambers and op-ed pages. Central to the argument is the Downtown Area Plan, being developed over the next two years by the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) in partnership with UC Berkeley, which seeks to develop 800,000 square feet (cq) along Oxford Street. According to Matt Taecker, Principal Planner for the Downtown Area Plan, there is “unanimity that on the whole, downtown should be more walkable, should have more walk-to destinations, should have more economic vitality, more vibrancy.” While added density, sustainability-friendly “smart growth” and improved public transportation could achieve that, residents disagree on what exactly that should like, who it should benefit, and who would be affected. Discussions range from transportation and the contentious Bus Rapid Transit proposal, which would close one lane of Telegraph Avenue for transit only; to historical building preservation versus high rise condo development; to replacing already limited parking between Shattuck and Oxford with new parks or plazas.
Posted on September 17, 2007 by berkeleyconnector