January 25, 2023
Report on Fire Commission Meeting
Berkeley’s Disaster and Fire Safety Commission met to consider a proposal from Commissioner (and former Berkeley Mayor) Shirley Dean that the Commission request the City to slow down its planning on Hopkins Street, and other Transportation and Infrastructure projects, that potentially impact both evacuation and emergency vehicle response. There was much discussion that the process of considering these vital considerations is broken in Berkeley and that there is a need for better communication between city staff and departments. The Commission voted to approve Dean’s proposal with five in favor and two abstentions.
January 19, 2023
Report on Transportation & Infrastructure Commission Meeting
Berkeley’s January 19 Transportation & Infrastructure Commission Meeting was chaired by Karen Parolek, a co-founder and member of the Coordinating Committee of WalkBikeBerkeley. Additionally, commissioners Barnali Ghosh and Liza Lutzker are also listed as coordinating committee members of Walk Bike Berkeley. So when the Commission took up the Hopkins Corridor plan at their meeting Thursday night, we knew the outcome was predetermined. They made a pretense of considering all three “options” (of continuing the Class IV Cycle track from the intersection to Gilman with a) Acton, b) Peralta, or c) Kains (essentially, San Pablo Blvd) before voting 7-2 to recommend to Council adoption of the full cycle track to San Pablo (with commissioners Raffanti and Nesbitt opposed).
However, like all Commission “actions,” it is only a recommendation and the City Council will ultimately decide whether to follow the Commission’s recommendation, reject it, or alter it. There are plenty of examples of Berkeley’s City Council making substantive changes to Commission recommendations. So for those of you who are new to this, and who might have been discouraged by Thursday’s outcome, DON’T BE.
We made a GREAT showing….with spoken comments in opposition to the plan easily outnumbering comments in favor by a two to one margin.
January 18, 2023
Report on Commission on Aging Meeting
On January 18th, the Commission on Aging met by Zoom and spent a significant amount of its time discussing the Hopkins Corridor plan and reviewing a draft of a letter strongly condemning the plan’s lack of consideration for the needs of our senior community, the fastest growing population demographic in Berkeley. Thank you to those of you who joined the meeting and spoke up. The Commission voted to send the letter, with minimal changes, and register its formal opposition to the plan. A win!
If you have a few minutes, please take a moment to write a brief email to the Commission thanking them for taking a strong position in support of our community! Send email correspondence to commission secretary at email address email@example.com, with “Please share with Commission on Aging commissioners” as the first line of the email.
Report on Commission on Disability Meeting
Also on January 18, the Commission on Disability met and discussed the Hopkins Corridor Plan. Overall, there were concerns expressed over the plan’s lack of consideration for the needs of our disabled community, and this discussion resulted in the drafting of a letter to the Council raising these concerns and asking for them to be addressed before the Commission could consider endorsing the plan.
Commissioners discussed the fact that, for some members of the disability community, Class IV Two-Way Cycle Tracks can be helpful in allowing them to more safely navigate the urban environment, while for others these types of facilities present new and significant hazards. We are in active conversation with various stakeholders in the disability community (including commission members) to find common ground.