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January 12, 2010



In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Reconfiguring The Alameda
Envisioning the North Branch Library
Day of Service: Cleaning up the Neighborhood
Summit Reservoir Meeting
Watershed Management Plan
Downtown Area Plan - Community Forum
Save the Date: Meet the Chief



A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

I want to wish you and your families a very happy new year. Before I look forward to upcoming opportunities, I want to provide you with a few updates:

On December 15 the City Council approved the new neighborhood traffic calming application program, but did not lift the moratorium on vertical speed deflectors (speed bumps). The Council adopted the City Manager's recommendation to expand the number and kind of test sites for later assessment and evaluation. At my suggestion, the test sites will be spread around the city in up to eight locations, in neighborhoods that have already requested attention. I want to thank the residents from The Arlington and San Lorenzo neighborhoods for taking the time to come out and speak to the City Council. Their comments were instrumental in encouraging the Council's expansion of the test program.

Safeway has officially released the new plans for their North Shattuck project. You can find a link to them at the project website. This most recent proposal, significantly smaller than their 2008 proposal, is a renovation and expansion, not a complete rebuild. Safeway expects the store to remain open for business during construction

As we look forward into 2010 . . .
The biennial budget process will be a priority this spring. As you have no doubt read, the state budget woes continue and further raids of county and municipal coffers are anticipated. This will further challenge our priority setting.

The Downtown Plan, approved by the City Council and subsequently referended by some citizens, will either be submitted to the Council with significant changes, or put on the ballot for voter consideration.

In November, Berkeley will hold municipal elections for Council Districts 1, 4, 7 & 8 and for three seats on the School Board. The Council will consider ballot measures for either the June or November election, including a possible bond measure for pools renovation.

The New Year brings with it several upcoming projects, proposals and opportunities for citizen participation. Very locally my office is sponsoring a meeting to introduce a proposal to restripe The Alameda made by the City's Office of Transportation (announced last week). We have already heard from many of you. Opinions vary, from "If it's not broke, don't fix it" to "Thank you! We've been asking for relief for years." In recent years my office has received complaints from The Alameda residents about speeding and dangerous traffic maneuvers. One resident on MLK Jr. Way just south of Hopkins has had several parked cars totaled by vehicles speeding to merge and losing control. Just recently, at a planning meeting for the North Branch Library renovation, we heard many concerns from neighbors about traffic and pedestrian safety. (I have posted more comments at The Alameda Restriping: Comments.)

Also coming up is the next Library Board meeting featuring a presentation of plans for the North Branch Library, an opportunity to clean up North Berkeley, a free forum on the Downtown Area Plan, a public planning meeting for the City's Watershed Management Plan, and an informational meeting regarding East Bay MUD's Summit Reservoir Proposal. In March (planning way ahead) Councilmember Wengraf and I will be introducing Michael Meehan, the new police chief, to our city Council districts. Please read below for times and locations.

I hope to see you in the New Year.

Sincerely,


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5
510-981-7150

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Reconfiguring the Alameda

What: Community Meeting to Review the Proposal to Restripe The Alameda from Solano Avenue to Hopkins Street
When: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Church, Parlor Room, 941 The Alameda

The City's Office of Transportation has developed a proposal to restripe The Alameda from Solano Avenue to Hopkins. The configuration will reduce the existing four lanes to three, two for through traffic and the center lane for merging and left turns. The goals of the project are to:

  • Reduce traffic speeds
  • Provide for safer left turns
  • Provide bike lanes
  • Improve safety for exiting parked cars
  • Eliminate south-bound merge lane below Hopkins

This meeting is an opportunity for residents to learn about and comment on the plan. Hamid Mostowfi, Engineer from the Office of Transportation will be present to provide an over-view and to answer questions. PDFs of the draft plans are available here.

Questions and comments can be sent to lcapitelli@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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Envisioning the North Branch Library

What: Regular Meeting of the Board of Library Trustees
When: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Church, 941, The Alameda

Berkeley Public Library invites you to join them as the architectural design team, Architectural Resources Group w/ Tom Eliot Fisch presents an update on the North Branch schematic design phase at the Board of Library Trustees regular meeting.

Refreshments will be served.

For accessibility info or other questions, go to www.berkeleypubliclibary.org or call 510-981-6195.

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Day of Service: Cleaning up the Neighborhood

What: The 2nd Annual North Berkeley Litter Clean-up event
When: Monday, January 18, 2010, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: Meet at Henry between Cedar and Vine

On MLK Day (Mon. 1/18), the 2nd Annual North Berkeley Litter Clean-up event will be taking place from 10am-noon. We'll divide into teams, meet new & old neighbors, and pick up litter in the area bounded by Sacramento, University, Hopkins, & Spruce. We'll provide the bags & gloves at the organizing site (Henry between Cedar & Vine).

Last year's event had about 150 participants, so to speed things up on the event day, participants can sign up for a team in advance here.

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Summit Reservoir Meeting

What: Summit Reservoir Replacement Meeting
When: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Kensington Elementary Multi Use Room, 90 Highland Blvd., Kensington

EBMUD is planning to replace Summit Reservoir, which is located in the cities of Berkeley and Kensington, California. The reservoir was built in the 1890s and has had several upgrades that extended its life. The existing reservoir needs to be replaced. Preliminary planning studies call for either one or two small water tanks within the footprint of the large site. Two pumping plants on the western side of the site also have reached the end of their useful lives and need to be replaced.

This is the second in a series of public meetings. The Summit Reservoir Replacement Project is in the early phases of planning and community outreach to develop a preferred design alternative for the site. In late 2009, EBMUD held the first of three planned community meetings and met with officials from the City of Berkeley, Contra Costa County and the East Bay Regional Park District to discuss the project.

For more information and a timeline of the project, go to EBMUD; More Project Updates; Summit Reservoir Project.

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Watershed Management Plan

What: Public Meeting on the Watershed Management Plan
When: Thursday, January 21, 2010 6:30-8pm
Where: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at MLK Jr. Way

The City of Berkeley invites all interested parties to the second in a series of public meeting to review and discuss the City's efforts to develop a comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. Staff will review current watershed management activities and challenges, discuss the goals and objectives of the plan, and explore potential opportunities being considered. Go here to find the meeting's agenda.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the event, please contact Josh Bradt, City of Berkeley Watershed Resources Specialist at 981-6418 or jbradt@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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Downtown Area Plan - Community Forum

What: Community Forum on the Downtown Plan, Free
When: Monday, January 25
Reception and Exhibit: 6:30 p.m./Forum: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Aurora Theater, 2081 Addison Street, Berkeley

The Downtown Berkeley Association and the Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility of Northern California have joined forces to sponsor a forum about Downtown Berkeley and the Downtown Plan approved by the City Council and referended by a citizen petition. Panelists include Tim Frank, environmental consultant; Joe Ramos from Transform (public transportation and walkable communities advocates); Patty Dacey, DAPAC member; Jessie Arreguin, Berkeley City Council District 4; and Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Council District 5.

To request information, write lecture@adpsr-norcal.com

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Save the Date: Meet the Chief

What: Town Hall Meeting to Meet Berkeley's new Chief of Police, Michael Meehan
When: Thursday March 18, 2010, 7:00 pm
Where: Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda

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