November 27 – Special Meeting Telegraph Avenue Improvements

Lower Sproul University Improvements

Improvements and reconstruction of lower Sproul  will make the entry at Telegraph and Bancroft more permeable and inviting.   Will replace Eschelman building.
Will be able to see into Zellerbach
Building will come out to sidewalk area (no more pit – current student store)
Councilmember comments:
Worthington:  What will be impact on businesses near construction over the next 2 years?   What will be done to benefit the businesses and what is going to be done to offset that?  Can we get written documents of what is being done that will make up for the impacts on the businesses.
Bates:  Will this be a green building?  How much new retail space will be developed?  What will be the hours of operation?
Wozniak:  I was impressed by the effort to integrate Bancroft and Telegraph.  Has there been other thoughts on how to make the transition to make the connection onto Telegraph  more integrated?
Wengraf:  Would you please explain the orientation of the plans.  They are not well labeled.  So the openings into the campus will still be there.  I was concerned it would create a wall.
Arreguin:  I am very excited that the lower Sproul project is moving forward.  I like bringing the buildings to the street.  There will be not increased retail to the project?   One issue we have to think  about in improving Telegraph – the more food service is centralized on campus the less people will utilize Telegraph businesses.
Moore:  I like moving the building closer to Bancoft.  How many more spaces will be available to students in the new building?
Berkeley Design Advocates
Volunteer organization of planners, citizens and architects.  Held a design sharette to take on issues surrounding Telegraph Ave
Sales have declined over the years
7 basic principals of improvements
  1. Enhance sense of place
  2. Calm traffic and increase pedestrian space
  3. Strengthen Telegraph as a destination
  4. Make Telegraph a center for the arts
  5. Encourage more intensity and activity
  6. Address social needs
  7. People people’s park
Add lighting across streets at lamp posts creating a processional between Bancroft and Dwight Way
Change asphalt and concrete and commercial parking areas create paving that goes building to building
Periodically close street with bollards to create a walk street and test it to potentially close it permanently
Durant and Bancroft are oversized streets.  Create parklets that expand sidewalk for added seating/art etc.
Two way traffic should be introduced on Bancroft and Durant.  Relatively low traffic and many lanes.
New lower Sproul project will be a game changer for Telegraph so Telegraph merchants/owners should do the same.
Create transit centers/architecture at Bancroft/Telegraph intersection and add bike sharing opportunities.
Create transit center at Dwight Way.  Expand curb to incorporate a nicer pedestrian environment.  There is grant money out there to study this.
Take a hard look at special opportunities.  It is this area’s main street.  Great access from the south intersection of residents and student life.
Focus energy at Bancroft, Dwight and Haste.  Look at new anchors/entertainment hub (Haste and Telegraph) have four corners talking to each other rather than having them do their own things.  It could be a music hub open 24/7.
The apparel focus need to be strengthened, household goods retailers are needed.  Must be utilized as a “shopping center”.
Need retail strategic plan, extend business hours, continue festivals, encourage housing and galleries, offices and temporary spaces above retail stores.
Address social issues
Telegraph Business Improvement District
Purpose of organization:  Clean up Telegraph, be the voice of Telegraph Avenue in the broader community, support and work with businesses, fiscal agent for ambassador project.  Partnered with BDA and Liveable Berkeley in the sharette and were a factor in receiving the Chancellor’s grant money.
Issues with Telegraph:
Looks like a “war zone”
Trouble leasing space
Social issues
Need a gateway at Dwight Way as an entry to the street
Streetscape is a mish-mash of materials
Need a lighting program and city needs to assist with this
Disagree with BDA
No two way streets – particularly Bancroft and Telegraph.  Durant is not as much of an issue.
Social issues need to be addressed in a separate venue – not on Telegraph or at Peoples Park
Councilmember Comments
Wengraph:  Excited about the lighting plan.  Have seen it done in other cities and it works.  It is more cosmetic.  Have you involved the property owners in any of these discussions?  Are they participating?  What about the vacant properties.  Parking is going to be an issue.
Capitelli:  The University plan looks somewhat like it is walling itself off from the city.  Can the light continue into the campus?  I don’t understand the resistance to 2-way streets.  One-way streets encourage driving through the neighborhoods – not stopping.  Getting rid of the curbs makes a big difference in Santa Rosa.  Safe segregated bike lanes could be incorporated into some of the streets.  Ask you to make zoning change recommendations.  We could get many people to Telegraph without much increase in traffic.
Wozniak:  Two-way streets make sense.  Close traffic from Dwight to Bancroft.  Need major zoning changes to add office, housing etc. to attract shoppers to Telegraph.  The average age around Telegraph is 20.  You are not going to attract people from far away so we need to provide retail that serviced the demographic.
Worthington:  Have nearly 100 ideas that could be done. I want to focus and take this from a long list to an action plan both short and long term.  I am more interested in the short term non-controversial things such as:  lighting improvements,and the Dwight Way transit plaza, window improvements, music murmur and drop in youth center.  Without pedestrian improvements we will not get grants or improved pedestrian lighting.  How do we consult with owners, residents and business owners?  They must be engaged.