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Good News for Berkeley Cyclists Using Bancroft, Dana, and Fulton

7:44 AM PST on February 3, 2023

A look at what’s planned for Berkeley streets. Image: City of Berkeley

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved additional funding for the Southside Complete Streets project at its meeting on Tuesday, enabling the city to start soliciting bids for the construction of more protected bike lanes, bus-boarding islands, and dedicated transit lanes around the University of California. “We’re excited and grateful that City Council closed the funding gap,” said Rebecca Mirvish, President of Telegraph for People, in a statement. “Hopefully this means we can get a start on construction asap because we can’t afford to let anyone else get injured or die on these streets.”

The initial federal grant was for $8,335,000 but the cost of building the project has increased to $14,500,000. “Construction is on track to be underway this year,” wrote District 7 Councilmember Rigel Robinson, in a statement celebrating the vote.

As explained on the city’s website, the Southside Complete Streets project includes Telegraph Avenue, Bancroft Way, Fulton Street, and Dana Street (see map below). Also from the project website:

The Berkeley Bicycle Plan recommends continuous Cycle Tracks on Bancroft Way, Dana Street, and Fulton Street to close gaps in the proposed citywide Low Stress Bikeway Vision Zero Network. To address chronic transit delays through the Southside, the AC Transit Major Corridors study recommends a continuous Bus Rapid Transit facility on Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way, connecting to Oakland to the south and to Shattuck Avenue/University Avenue to the north.

Map image from the city of Berkeley
Map image from the city of Berkeley
Map image from the city of Berkeley

While the vote was a big step, there remains tough political work for advocates, who also want a section of Telegraph fully pedestrianized–the one component of the plan that isn’t yet fully funded.

“We’re thrilled that this critical street safety project is moving forward,” wrote Walk Bike Berkeley’s Ben Gerhardstein in an email to Streetsblog. “The conceptual designs the City Council approved in February, including a pedestrian plaza on Telegraph, are much more ambitious than initially planned for this project,” wrote his organization and Bike East Bay in a joint letter to the city council.

“The sidewalk-level shared street design will require an extensive redesign of the street. Right now, our goal and staff’s goal has been to make sure we hold onto the grant funding and deliver as much of the project as possible in this round,” explained Sam Greenberg, Robinson’s legislative aide, in an email to Streetsblog about the approved-but-not-funded pedestrian plaza.

“Students organizing with Telegraph for People and other passionate advocacy groups have long been pushing City Council to build these improvements on Bancroft, Dana, and Fulton, as well as to embrace a car-free design for Telegraph Avenue,” wrote Robinson’s office in its statement.

“While rapidly rising construction costs have made this impossible within the Southside Complete Streets Project,” he added, “pedestrianizing Telegraph is a vision I will continue to champion.”

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