June 26, 2008


City of Berkeley Awarded $300,000 MTC Grant To Improve the Downtown Area

Metropolitan Transportation Commission funds proposal for public improvements in downtown Berkeley.

Berkeley, CA – Wednesday, June 25th, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded the City of Berkeley $300,000 from the Station Area Planning Grants to help actualize the new Downtown Area Plan within months rather than years.  The Plan envisions a more beautiful, livable and thriving mixed-use district. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity to revitalize downtown Berkeley”, said MTC Commissioner Mayor Tom Bates. “The Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee spent two years hammering out a plan, and with MTC funding we can take that work and develop specific implementation elements necessary for moving the plan forward”. 

In November 2007, the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) adopted a 130-page "policy plan."  Comprised of City Council appointees, Planning Commissioners, and UC Berkeley ex officio members, the diverse 24-member Committee conducted over 100 meetings and four public workshops in a two-year period.  

Specifically, the MTC will fund Berkeley to carry out the following measures that are necessary for Downtown Area Plan 's success:

1.  Form-Based Zoning Code to replace existing Commercial zoning, which is not tailored to high-density mixed-use development, and can better encourage appropriate architecture of the highest quality.

2.  Public Improvements Plan to develop schematics for pedestrian- friendly and transit-supportive streetscapes and open spaces, which will promote walking and bring new open spaces and civic amenities to Downtown.

3.  Financing Plan to develop stream of development fees and parking revenues to pay for public improvements, promote affordable housing, and support alternatives to the car.

4. Parking Management/Transportation Demand Program to use parking more efficiently through price, information & transit incentives, and to create new shared parking facilities to serve future development and the general public.

MTC 's "Station Area Planning Manual" (MTC Manual) cites Downtown Berkeley as an exemplary City Center because it is an area rich in transit service and a mix of residential, retail, employment, and civic uses.  BART, ten AC Transit bus lines, UC and LBNL shuttles, and Downtown is the northern terminus of the AC Transit East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project presently under consideration.

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