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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Come downtown by bike, car, bus, BART or foot – but avoid Shattuck to cross University during construction

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, January 22, 2019) - As we soon start to change the central crossroads of Berkeley - Shattuck and University avenues - to improve the flow and safety of all people, take advantage of the many ways you can come to downtown and try to use alternate routes to cross that intersection.

Our work will primarily affect the three blocks of Shattuck south of University - where we'll make the one-way, southbound Shattuck between Center Street and University Avenue into a two-way street. This will end the circuitous set of turns required for Northbound travelers to cross University.

This reconfigured Shattuck will ultimately establish the downtown as an even-more friendly, walkable area for pedestrians while bus riders, bicyclists and drivers will also see improvements.

"This reconfiguration will help make it easier to move through and around downtown in a safer way," said City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley. "When it's done, it will help set the stage for an even more vibrant downtown."

An array of AC Transit lines and the downtown Berkeley BART station serve the area. Key bike boulevards and bike lanes on Milvia, Oxford and Fulton streets parallel Shattuck in the construction area. Our acclaimed new 720 car-space, 350 bike-space Center Street parking garage is just a half block from Shattuck and easily accessed via Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

  • Those who need to drive North and South through Berkeley should take alternate routes to cross University, such as Sacramento Street or Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. While northbound drivers will eventually spend less time congested in downtown, motorists will periodically see some narrowing of streets during construction.
  • Pedestrians will note an increase in dust and noise, but they'll eventually see improved public spaces, curb bulb-outs, widened sidewalks, landscaping, a raised intersection at Center Street and much safer crossings, especially at key spots such as University Avenue.
  • We'll eventually consolidate AC Transit bus stops to a single block adjacent to BART - improving transit access and ease of transfers. In 2020, one Northbound AC Transit stop on Shattuck between Center and Allston will be moved a block south.

The existing configuration requires a laborious set of turns for northbound motorists and bicyclists. Three northbound lanes currently veer right around Shattuck Square before drivers in all three lanes make a sharp left onto University. Drivers then have to be in one of two lanes to turn right to simply return to northbound Shattuck.

That series of turns is a dangerous hazard for pedestrians, especially those heading West on University. We're ending that. Along Shattuck, we're also ending six different left turns, which each also pose hazards to pedestrians. These turns also slow traffic. (See detailed graphic for more information.)

"Creating safety for each mode of travel benefits all travelers," said Farid Javandel, the City's Transportation Division Manager. "We design for complete streets serving cars, bikes, buses and pedestrians because it reflects the reality of who uses our roads and improves the flow of all people."

The reconfigured Shattuck would cut the northbound commute by an estimated 25 seconds per car during evening commute times. Cumulatively, during every evening commute hour, that would be 5 fewer hours that northbound cars would be in downtown Berkeley.

The project is based on a conceptual plan developed as part of the  Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP), adopted by the City Council on January 29, 2013. The project concept was also included in the  Downtown Area Plan, adopted by Council in 2012.

The $10.3 million project includes $2.7 million from a One Bay Area Grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Construction, which includes coordination with a number of other agencies' projects, is anticipated to begin in February 2019 and is expected to end in late 2020.  

While we reconfigure Shattuck, a number of other private and public agencies are taking on their own work: a 16-story hotel and four apartment buildings are under way in the affected area. EBMUD is replacing a water main. BART is changing some station entrances.

We are coordinating with each agency to minimize the impact on streets and sidewalks, and you can see more detail on our website.

This project is just one of many undertaken by our Public Works Department. Along with the completion of the self-funded garage in 2018, major projects in 2019 including a Citywide street paving plan that includes a doubling of residential street paving, a remodel of the North Berkeley Senior Center and many other projects.

We continue to build a better Berkeley. As we reconfigure Shattuck, think of how you might take advantage of the many ways to reach our downtown or cross our city with an alternate route.


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