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

Berkeley, California (Thursday, December 05, 2019) - Shattuck Avenue crossing University Avenue will soon be a two-way street, eliminating a circuitous, slower route for northbound traffic while also creating a safer environment for pedestrians.

Starting the week of Dec.16-20, northbound drivers will parallel southbound drivers on a new two-way section of Shattuck Avenue between Center Street and University Avenue.Shattuck Reconfiguration

This change signals a key phase of our effort to reconfigure Shattuck Avenue and make a large swath of downtown into a more pedestrian friendly area that consolidates several AC Transit stops and makes for easier bus transfers to BART. 

"We want Shattuck Avenue to be safer for all, no matter if you come by foot, bike, BART, AC Transit, or car," said City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley.

This phase will temporarily close the old northbound stretch of Shattuck to northbound traffic as we prepare for the next set of changes: raising the pavement to the same height as the sidewalk to calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety across this previous section of Shattuck Avenue.

For the week of Dec.16-20, certain Shattuck Avenue intersections will periodically be a four-way flashing red - which should be treated as a four-way stop sign. Prepare for these flashing red signals that week on Shattuck at Center Street, Addison Street and University Avenue. Only one intersection will be flashing red at a time.

The downtown offers many ways of travel to arrive. If you're looking to move across town during construction, expect delays when using Shattuck Avenue to cross University Avenue.  

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. Way.
  • Pedestrians may notice an increase in dust and noise during construction, 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.

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 two of these 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 creates conflicts for pedestrians, especially those walking West on University. We're ending that. Along Shattuck, we're also ending several different left turns, which each also pose hazards to pedestrians. These turns also slow traffic. (See detailed graphic of the proposed final configuration.)

 "Roads that serve all users better serve our whole community," said Farid Javandel, the City's Transportation Division Manager.

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 is partially funded by a $2.7 million One Bay Area Grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Construction, which includes coordination with projects of a number of other agencies and private developments, began in January 2019 and is expected to end in mid-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 replaced a water main. BART changed some station entrances and is replacing some water lines.

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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