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Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development


INTRODUCTION -----------------------------------------------------50

Definition of Terms 

Format of the Element

EXISTING CONDITIONS -------------------------------------------51

Natural Resources 

Air Resources 

Water Resources

Plant and Animal Life

Manmade Resources (Parks and Recreation) 

Bay Region System 

Citywide Park and Recreation System 

Neighborhood System 

U.C campus

Park/Recreation Problems, opportunities, Issues 

Park Standards 

High Recreation/Park Demand Areas 

Measure '"Y"

Access/Design Diminution of Park Spare Social Problems Views

- The Waterfront

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS -----------------------------74






Early Berkeley residents were farsighted enough to acquire sites for parks and recreation throughout the city. But Berkeley's rapid growth during the first half of this century has left very little land in its "natural" state. Now, with increased leisure time and diminution of resources, many Berkeley are becoming increasingly concerned about maintaining adequate areas for recreation purposes and about conserving remaining natural resource areas. The combined open Space/Conservation/Recreation Element reflects these concerns and the interdependence of natural resources and manmade resources, The Element has relationships to the overall Master Plan goals of preserving Berkeley's character and promoting community safety.


Literally speaking, open space is any land or water which is not built on. More broadly, open space may be a traditional recreation area or a view of the Bay. It may be privately or publicly owned. Open space can enhance and protect natural resources: air, water, soil, plants and animals; and it ran affect people, economic development decisions, employment, housing and real estate.

Open space has several functions:

1) Public health and safety (flood plains, fire hazard areas, etc.)

2) Preservation of natural resources (plant and animal life, areas for ecologic study, streams, bays, etc.)

3) Outdoor recreation (parks, scenic easements, etc.)

4) Managed production of resources (forests, farms, major mineral deposits, commercial fisheries)

Conservation is "the planned management, preparation and wise utilization of natural resources. The objective of conservation is to prevent the wasteful exploitation, destruction or neglect of these resources. " Under this concept, conservation is more than "letting nature take its own course." Rather, conservation requires positive acts to preserve natural areas. The object is to insure that future generations will have the same, or enhanced,, opportunity to enjoy natural resources as does the present generation.

Recreation is an activity in which a person "recreates" his physical and emotional well being. Any activity a person chooses during his leisure time, whether reading a book, dancing, playing basketball, sitting on a park bench, hiking, etc., is 'recreation. Recreation activities generate the need for both open space and specialized buildings.


State law requires that each city's General Plan contain:


1) A Conservation Element which discusses utilizing and preserving natural resources

2) An Open Space Element which outlines policies and programs for conserving and preserving open space lands

In addition, a Recreation Element which deals with park and recreation areas may be prepared. Obviously, there is much overlap and duplication among the three elements. Consequently, they can often be discussed together and represent different ways of looking at the same resource or community development need.

This element will discuss both manmade and natural resources through an inventory and evaluation of their existing conditions. During this discussion, open space, conservation and recreation issues, problems and opportunities will be presented. Policies are developed which encourage solutions to the identified problems and encourage ways to take advantage of opportunities as they arise or exist.

Like other Master Plan elements, this element is not intended as a specific plan. Rather, the element should be looked at as a beginning point from which more detailed proposals may be developed. The element provides a framework for decisions which can lead to specific projects.



Natural resources include among other things -- water resources, air resources, plant life and animal life. Although Berkeley is fairly completely developed, her important assets include natural as well as manmade resources. This section will describe several natural resources and discuss issues related to each resource.

Air Resources

While other natural resources can be discussed specifically for Berkeley, air quality needs to be placed in a regional context. The San Francisco Bay Area Air Basin is classified by the California Air Resources Board as a region having a "critical" air pollution problem. The criteria used for this classification was the ability to meet national standards by 1975. of the total emissions in the Region, over 50% of the hydrocarbons, approximately 90% of the carbon monoxide emissions, are generated by motor vehicles.

Although Berkeley has relatively high air quality when compared to other cities in the Bay Area (see Table 1), state ambient air quality standards have been exceeded for most pollutants enough times to indicate that air pollution exists in Berkeley at certain times of the year.

Information on Berkeley air quality is derived from measurements taken at Richmond, since levels of most air pollutants do not vary greatly from one nearby area to another. Wind and topographic influences can be used as adjustment factors to estimate pollutant levels in Berkeley from those observed in Richmond.


Between the years 1969 and 1972, levels of air pollution have shown significant improvement in the Bay Area and Berkeley (as inferred from analysis of Richmond data). The number of days state standards for sulfur dioxide were exceeded at Richmond fell from 12 in 1969 to 2 in 1972, while oxidant, nitrogen dioxide and suspended particulates (any matter dispersed in the air, whether solid or liquid, in which the individual particles are larger than small molecules but smaller in diameter than 500 m (one m = one millionth of a meter)) also decreased by at least one half.

Berkeley is situated in one of the mildest climatic regions in North America in which the climatic factors seldom reach extremes. The prevailing westerly winds keep Berkeley well ventilated except when a layer of relatively cool air near the ground is trapped beneath a layer of warmer air causing what is known as a "temperature inversion." Smog or air pollution becomes more noticeable during these "temperature inversions."

The primary source of air pollution in Berkeley and the Bay Area comes from trucks, automobiles, buses and other gasoline burning vehicles. Other minor sources include factories and fuel burning electric plants. These sources have effects on the health of some Berkeleyans in terms of respiratory diseases and eye irritants. Plant life may be negatively affected as well. Yet the quality of air in Berkeley is improving. The city can aid in these trends by cooperating with national, state and regional regulatory agencies, through attempts to reduce dependence on the automobile for many trips by increasing public transit and land use planning to decrease distances between places of residence, shopping and employment.

Water Resources

Berkeley's natural water resources consist of San Francisco Bay, Aquatic Park and several creeks. Manmade water resources consist of several reservoirs which are operated by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. San Francisco Bay is the primary water resource for Berkeley in that it provides scenic and recreational opportunities and habitat for various forms of plant and animal life. Berkeley's Bay Shoreline is either developed for recreation/ commercial purposes or is undeveloped. Actually, the present shoreline is the result of decades of dredging and filling the Bay for industrial uses, the Eastshore Highway and the Marina and of diked areas utilized as a repository for solid waste. Berkeley has opposed further non-essential fill of the Son Francisco Bay since 1963.

Aquatic Park receives its water from San Francisco Bay and, in fact, was created from the Bay when the Eastshore Highways were constructed. The Park contains 99 acres and is intensively used for such recreational purposes as water skiing, picnicking and boating. The lake at Aquatic Park offers Berkeleyans a unique close-at-hand resource which should be retained and improved.

Berkeley has very few creeks left in a "natural" state. Those creeks which are partially open include Strawberry Creek, Codornices Creek and Harwood Creek. With the exception of Strawberry Creek which flows through the Central UC Campus and Codornices Creek which flows through Live Oak Park, partially open creeks have limited accessibility. Many creeks now flow in culverts since buildings, streets, etc., have been placed aver them. Those creeks which remain partially open can provide a visual contrast to the surrounding urban development and can support a variety of plant and animal life. There


are various methods to preserve the natural character of Berkeley's partially open creeks. Essentially, the most appropriate concept for Berkeley involves using the existing open channel, modifying it where necessary for erosion control. Such devices as native plants, sandbagging or retaining walls in carefully selected places are appropriate.

The quality of Berkeley's water resources varies from standard to above standard. The Environmental Health Division of the Berkeley Health Department monitors the quality of water in Aquatic Park on a regular basis (approximately once a month in winter, three times a week in summer). Significant improvements have been made in the quality of Aquatic Park water during the last few years. in 1969, prior to the harvesting of algae, the chloroform count at Aquatic Park was 2300 per hundred milliliter. In 1975, the count was between 2 and 23 per hundred milliliters with the state standard being 1000 per hundred milliliters.

Plant and Animal Life

Plants and animals contribute many beneficial aspects to Berkeley's environment. Plants clean and condition the air, reduce noise, provide shade and beauty and serve as a habitat for insects, birds and other species. Animals are part of the ecological cycle in which organisms help to support other organisms.

Information about plant life within the City of Berkeley is sparse and is not available in any concise publication. However, most of Berkeley is a habitat for introduced rather than native plant species. These plants include several varieties of street trees and a wide variety of domestic plants. A 1972 study revealed many different street tree species ranging from several varieties of eucalyptus to honey locust and madrone trees. These trees are found throughout Berkeley. However, some streets in both the hills and the "flatlands" do not have street trees.

The severe freeze which occurred during the 1972-73 winter severely damaged many eucalyptus trees in the ridge lands above Berkeley. Since these partially dead trees presented a fire hazard, approximately 200,000 were removed. If native trees such as redwood, bay, oak and buckeye were used as replacements, the area would be less susceptible to fire hazards.

Trees within cities create a modest need for pest management. Since most trees are planted near residences, pesticides should be selected which minimize hazards to people and property. In addition, the spraying of insect pests frequently means killing, directly or indirectly, various bird species and beneficial insects. The propensity to use non-native plants may create problems because some insect species may come with the plants and without their natural predators.

Since most of Berkeley is fully developed, there are only a few major areas where a diversity-of wildlife exists. 

These areas are the Berkeley Hills (including Strawberry Canyon), Aquatic Park and the Marina. A few forms of wildlife inhabit the more developed portions of Berkeley such as birds, gophers and salamanders.

Several species of wildlife which are found in Berkeley are listed by the California Department of Fish and Game as endangered or rare. The endangered species include the California clapper rail, the California brown pelican and


the salt marsh harvest mouse. The rare species are the Alameda County striped racer snake and the California black rail snake. The California brown pelican has been seen in the Marina area as have the salt marsh harvest mouse and clapper rail. The striped racer its areas of chaparral, grassland, open woods and rock slopes typical of undeveloped portions of the Berkeley hills. The California black rail has not been seen in Berkeley in recent years.

The Berkeley hills, especially Strawberry Canyon, contain habitats for many animals. Larger reptiles and mammals such as deer, skunks, raccoons and snakes are found there and have been reported on the U.C. Campus as well as in the Thousand Oaks and North Berkeley areas. Squirrels are common in portions of the city as are arboreal salamanders.

Species of fish found off the marina include bass, perch, flounder, halibut, salmon, jack smelt, smelt and anchovies. Perch and flounder are the most prevalent species but no data are readily available on population trends over the years or specific numbers of fish. Fishes caught for commercial purposes are principally perch and salmon.

According to zoologists, two habitats in Berkeley are areas of critical environmental concern: the open lands near the Marina and the area above the California Schools for the Deaf and Blind. The open fields near the Marina support large numbers of birds and serve as a "wintering" ground for these animals. The undisturbed hillsides near the Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Strawberry Canyon support the last remaining stand of chaparral near the Bay. Habitats within the developed portion of Berkeley, while not of critical concern, can be improved by preserving small, intact ecosystems. Zoologists also point out that noise levels from automobiles greatly disturb many species.


This section will discuss components of the park and recreation system in Berkeley and issues, problems and opportunities relating to that system. In order to discuss the Berkeley situation, one must be aware of its relationships to the larger Bay Area Region.

Bay Region System

The Bay Region includes the counties of Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. The 1970 census showed that this nine-county area, which comprises less than 57. of the state's land area, has more than four and a half million or 237. of the state's population. Persons 18 years of age and younger total about one and one-half million or approximately 327. of the population. Nine percent of the population represents persons 65 years of age or older. This area has a density of 661 persons per square mile, which is almost double that of the Los Angeles area, the next most largely populated region of the state.

About 47. of the land area within the Bay Region is available for public recreation. There are 45 state-owned park units within this district representing an aggregate open spare area of slightly more than 72 square miles. Collectively, these units received more than six million visitor days of use in 1969. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, when fully developed, will also be an important recreation attraction.


It is felt by a number of recreation agencies that many facilities in local parks (e.g., playgrounds) are no longer serving the purpose for which they were originally designed. In addition to the demand for highly structured, highly programmed parks, there is also demand for generally open areas with little development.

Recreation concerns in the Bay Area revolve primarily around two related problems the need to meet acceptable recreation space and facility standards, and the fiscal constraints that apply to both facilities and programs.

According to the State Resources Agency, consideration in the Bay Area must be given to unsatisfied recreation demands. These needs and deficiencies fall into three categories: 1) recreation close to home; 2) regional day use opportunities; and 3) overnight use facilities (see Figure 1).

The least extensive regional open space use has been for recreation. Land and water areas for recreation are distributed throughout the region in seemingly random fashion (see Table 2). Marin County has the largest amount of land set aside for recreation, which is largely due to the Marin Municipal Water District, Point Reyes National Seashore and various others under state control such as Angel island. The next most significant recreation areas are those of the East Bay Regional Park District and East Bay Municipal Utility District along the tops of the Berkeley/Oakland hills. These agencies together with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission regulate or control recreation areas such as Tilden Park which many Berkeleyans use.

Measured along the Bay Area shoreline there are approximately 345 miles of shoreline frontage. only 17 miles, or 5%, of the shoreline is used for recreation, with a large part located in Berkeley.

Agriculture is currently one of the region's largest land users; however, urban expansion has resulted in changes throughout the region, notably in Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Most parts of the region fall below the ratio of park facilities to population recommended for the area by the State of California.

Citywide Park and Recreation System

In Berkeley, as in most cities, there are two basic designations of park and recreation systems -- city-wide and neighborhood. Berkeley's city-wide parks are defined by the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department as district, view and large parks.

District parks are at least two to three acres in size with either a recreation center, a toilet facility or special use equipment that will attract intensive use. They may have large fields or natural areas.

There are four district parks in Berkeley: Civic Center, Live Oak, Willard and Glendale-LaLoma.

View parks are located primarily in the hills. Their topography is such that development is limited to natural or landscaped areas. Since they are in less populated areas, the intensity of use is low. Several view parks have significant acreage in wild foliage, requiring little or no maintenance. There are five view parks in Berkeley: Cragmont, Indian Rock, John Hinkel, Stoneface and Terrace View.


Large parks are five acres or larger. These parks have some areas very intensively used with a variety of recreation facilities. There are two large parks in Berkeley: Codornices and San Pablo. City-wide parks are not evenly distributed throughout the city and the residents of some areas of Berkeley do not have easy access to a city-wide facility.

In addition, the City of Berkeley operates two family camps: Echo Lake overlooking Lake Tahoe and Tolume on Highway 120 near Yosemite National Park. Berkeley also operates the Cazadero Music Camp near the Russian River which provides recreation for children between the ages of 7 and 19' years.

Numerous pathways cover eastern Berkeley (see Transportation). There is also a series of creeks which originate from the crest of the east hills (see Figure 5). These creeks are generally steep, natural channels until they reach the "flatlands" where, in most instances, they have been placed underground in culverts to their point of discharge in the Bay.

Currently there are 13 city-wide parks available for use by residents. A more detailed discussion of each park and an evaluation of current and possible future development follows:

1. Grove Street playground

The Grove Street Playground contains 2.45 acres, is located at Grove and Russell Streets, and provides facilities for tennis, softball, volleyball and basketball, and also has a children’s' play area.

There has been discussion about closing Grant Street to permit expansion of the park along with installation of an indoor swimming pool and creation of a teen center. A community garden has also been discussed. New facilities such as an indoor stage and tot lot should be created to increase programs for senior citizens and young children.

2. Live Oak Park

Live Oak Park contains 5.52 acres, is located at Shattuck and Berryman Streets, and offers the following facilities: recreation center building, park areas with stream, picnic areas, tiny tot area, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. Attendance at the park during 1973 and 1974 was 443,234 persons at both indoor and outdoor activities. This park is the most heavily utilized in the city. Some of its craft and theatrical activities could be decentralized to other locations.

3. James Kenney Park

This park contains 4.06 acres, is located at 8th and Delaware Streets, and has the following facilities: recreation center building, baseball fields, small children’s' play area, tennis, shuffleboard, volleyball, basketball court and small grass barbeque area. A new recreation building has been constructed.

During 1973, 200,000 persons attended both indoor and outdoor activities at this park. There are high proportions of both youth and elderly within the surrounding neighborhood, and a greater variety of programs for these groups is needed.


4. San Pablo Park

San Pablo Park contains 12.95 acres, is located at Oregon and Park Streets, and has the following facilities: Recreation center building, baseball and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, play apparatus and open play fields.

During 1973, 142,000 persons attended both indoor and outdoor activities at this major South Berkeley park. A swimming pool has been considered at this park since there are no public pools in South Berkeley.

5. Civic Center Park

Civic Center Park contains 2.77 acres, is located at Grove and Center Streets, and has the following facilities: lawn area, small children’s' play area and apparatus and outdoor stage. A large ornamental fountain also exists but has been out of operation for many years.

This park has various outdoor music concerts on summer week ends. This facility could be used to provide outdoor theatrical productions. This park is the open space focus of the Civic Center Complex in addition to serving a recreation function.

6. Bowling Greens

The Bowling Greens contain 1.81 acres, and are located adjacent to the city's Corporation Yard on Acton Street between Allston Way and Bancroft Way. Although in public ownership, the Bowling Greens are operated on a membership basis because of the specialized activity. The potential exists to relocate the Corporation Yard and convert most of the existing Corporation Yard site into park usage incorporating the Bowling Greens for more general public use.

7. Willard Park

Willard Park contains 2.72 acres, is located at 2700 Hillegass Street, and has the following activities: gymnasium and club rooms for scheduled activities, arts and crafts, a tiny tot play area and lighted tennis courts.

The park services many young adults. Active recreation such as handball and basketball should be continued here and open areas for picnicking and frisbee throwing should be retained.

8. Aquatic Park

The park contains 99.36 acres, is located south of University Avenue next to State Route 17, and has the following activities: nature area, bird refuge, picnic areas, water skiing activities, "learn to sail" classes and sailboat rentals.

The noise generated by the adjacent Eastshore Freeway inhibits the use of this park. Since it represents more than one-half of the total park area of the city, priority should be devoted to mitigating this noise factor.


9. John Hinkel Park

The park contains 4.19 acres and is located at Southampton and San Diego Roads and has the following: outdoor amphitheatre, trails, playground and a clubhouse for folk and other dancing activities.

At the present time, the amphitheatre is open to the public on a reservation basis. The city should utilize this facility for meetings, drama productions and other related activities on a more frequent basis.

10. Indian Rock Park

This ornamental park contains 1.18 acres, is located at Indian Rock and Shattuck Avenues, and-is primarily used for rock climbing. its potential as an educational resource for rock climbing and nature study should be emphasized by the Berkeley Unified School District and U.C. Berkeley.

11. Cragmant Park

This park contains 3.0 acres and is located at Regal Road and Euolid Avenue. It is primarily used as an ornamental park and for rock climbing and should continue in this function.

12. Rose Gardens

This park contains 3.54 acres, is located at Euclid Avenue and Bay View Place, and has the following activities: rose horticulture and tennis courts. The park should continue in its present use.

13. Codornices Park

This park contains 10.60 acres, is located at 1201 Euclid Avenue:, and has the following activities: small children’s' play area and apparatus, park area for sports, and fireplaces for barbeques.

Neighborhood System

Berkeley's neighborhood parks are defined as totlots and mini-parks. Totlots are small, approximately one city lot, intensively used areas. They usually have maximum equipment, paved surfaces and minimum turf area. There are two totlots in Berkeley: Prince Street and Roosevelt Street.

Mini-parks are small, approximately 20,000 square feet or four typical city lots, intensively used areas. They have some equipment and a significant turf area. They have more plant material to maintain than totlots and attract an extremely heavy user population of all age groups, but predominantly youth and elderly persons. There are four mini-parks in Berkeley: Virginia-McGee (Totland); Berkeley way Gregg Brown; and 63rd Street.

The city also operates mobile program units which provide recreation services to vacant lots, school yards, temporarily closed streets, local club houses or designated meeting places during the summer.



U.C. Campus

one open space and park/recreation resource which should not be overlooked is the University campus. occupying 370 acres, the U.C. campus is strategically located near the Central Business District in the center of the eastern part of the city. The University's beautifully landscaped grounds offer a welcome contrast to the high density residential and commercial land uses which surround it. During the 1960's many new buildings, such as Wurster Hall, were constructed on campus, drastically changing the "open" character of the campus. While few large-scale buildings have been built since 1974, it appears that the campus does not have enough vacant land west of Gayley Road to construct many new buildings without further diminishing the quality of the campus as an open space resource for Berkeley residents and University students and personnel.

The University's hill lands offer a unique opportunity for ecological study in a major metropolitan area which is not easily duplicated. Some portions of the hill lands are used as forestry research, while others remain in their undeveloped state. These areas, as was discussed earlier, are of critical environmental concern as well as offering opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The University Botanical Gardens and the Strawberry Canyon recreation center offer expanded recreation opportunities for Berkeley residents. In 1976, the University began a policy to publicize the University Botanical Gardens as being open to the general public. Similar steps could be taken for the Strawbery Canyon Recreation Center.


While Berkeley has 176 acres of city-owned parks, 99 acres are in Aquatic Park. other areas of the city have heavily used facilities affected by traffic and other problems. Issues regarding park and recreation in Berkeley include priorities for acquisition and development, park standards, views and public open spaces in new development.

Park Standards

The State of California and cities in the Bay Area, including Berkeley, have developed numerical standards to be used in planning recreation areas. The 1955 Berkeley Master Plan contains proposed standards for neighborhood and district recreation parks. These standards were based upon established space requirements, upon distance factors, activities associated with different age groups and national and local experience.

The earlier Plan established an optimum size of 4.50 acres for a neighborhood recreation park by itself and 9.50 acres for a neighborhood recreation park combined with an elementary school. District recreation parks on individual sites would contain 12.50 acres if located on a separate site, and if combined with a junior high school would contain 20.25 acres. The Plan proposed five new district recreation parks as expansions of existing facilities: Willard Junior High School, Garfield (Martin Luther King) and Burbank (Berkeley High School West Campus), in addition to Codornices and San Pablo Parks. The Plan also proposed 26 neighborhood recreation parks with 13 located at elementary schools. The district facilities were to serve as neighborhood recreation Parks for the immediate neighborhood, and all school sites except for Berkeley


High School were proposed to be developed jointly with recreation facilities. It was apparently felt at that time that with some expansion school sites could be utilized as park/recreation sites. However, the standards proposed in the 1955 Plan have proven costly to achieve in terms of funding and diminishing the city's housing supply.

The California State Outdoor Recreation Plan proposed numerical standards based on the number of acres of park and recreation areas in relationship to the total population of a city. The state plan recommends that a city should provide de a total of ten acres of park and recreation area (exclusive of school playgrounds) for each 1,000 residents. Berkeley would have to acquire an additional 950 acres to meet this standard.

Oakland has suggested standards based on number of acres per 1,000 population while Palo Alto has rejected the notion of numerical standards by suggesting a more flexible approach which evaluates the quality, use and demand for -recreation facilities in determining additional facility and program needs. In recommending that its City Council adopt a standard of 10 acres per 1,000 population, the Oakland Open Space, Conservation and Recreation Element points out that: "Standards which are desirable in the abstract may be next to impossible to achieve in built-up areas like much of Oakland ... it is better to consider an acreage standard as one measure of the relative deficiency in different areas than as a target which must be achieved." The Oakland Plan argues for a flexible approach in fully developed areas which would allow for acquisition of vacant lands at a reasonable cost with emphasis on such alternatives to land acquisition as making more intensive use of existing park and recreation areas, making recreational use of streets and of local spaces and by providing better access to increased facilities at regional and city-wide parks.

Clearly, the state standard of ten acres of park and recreation per 1,000 is too high for an urban center such as Berkeley. Such a standard is more appropriate in less dense areas which can obtain vacant lands more readily. Standards have their primary utility as a goal to be achieved rather than as a prescription. As goals they should be realistic and achievable if they are to be taken seriously. A realistic standard for Berkeley park and recreation acreage would be two acres per 1,000 population (exclusive of school playgrounds) or 220 (41 acres of "new" parks) acres of City-owned/operated park and recreation space. This standard, if seen as a long-range goal and if combined with increased coordination with the school district and regional entities, should provide adequate recreation opportunities.

The acquisition of land for park and recreation use raises a critical concern: reduction of the city's tax base. With 257 acres of vacant land scattered throughout the city but mainly in the North Hills, surely not all parcels should be developed for park/recreation/open space uses. Conversely, neither should each vacant lot be developed for residential or other purposes. Berkeley is a diverse city with competing demands for each vacant parcel. Some parcels should be developed for housing, others in appropriate locations should be developed for commercial or industrial use, others should be acquired by the city for park/recreation purposes. The city should also consider methods to retain open space other than acquisition such as leasing, density transfers, easement acquisition, etc. Full "fee simple" acquisition should be utilized as a technique for larger sites and unique opportunity sites intended for full public use. A land banking program in conjunction with housing programs which would allow the city to use the site for parks in an interim basis with non


permanent equipment and later gradually develop a park or housing development should be pursued.

The 1955 Master Plan called for school sites to be expanded so that park standards could be met. Inclusion of school playgrounds in the Berkeley recreation system is still appropriate because of their distribution throughout the city and the fact that their use will not involve taking additional lands off the tax rolls. New vacant sites for predominantly park and recreation use should be acquired by the city, but emphasis should be given to making more efficient and intensive use of existing facilities and opportunities including school yards. The Washington Elementary School Yard is an example of how the paved area which surrounds many Berkeley schools could be partially given over to grassy areas. The Adult School and the Early Learning Center are other examples. The key component of such a system would be, of course, increased cooperation between city government and the Berkeley Unified School District. Appropriate arrangements between school districts and city government have been achieved in other cities and can be achieved, with effort, in Berkeley.

High Recreation/Park Demand Areas

Berkeley's 176 acres of city-owned and/or operated parks are not evenly distributed throughout the city. In fact, some areas have no publicly owned parks or recreation facilities other than school playgrounds. Whether an area has no parks or has many parks is not the only important consideration for park planning. With the present and future constraints on the municipal budget for park maintenance, acquisition of new facilities needs to be viewed in a systematic yet flexible manner. Many park and recreation experts feel that the provision of new facilities should be based on the effective demand for them. That is, does a given area have a high or low likelihood to use new facilities intensively. And, if so, what is the appropriate composition of recreation services which should be provided.

Several cities have devised methods to determine "high-demand" areas for recreation facilities. The Oakland Open Space, Conservation and Recreation Element lists seven factors affecting recreation demand: total population, the age profile, income distribution, mobility, leisure time, housing type and cultural changes. of these seven components, three indicators were selected which would express the "effective population" for a study area grouping of census tracts:

1)The percentage of persons under 18 years of age

2) The percentage of persons below the poverty line (as defined by the 1970 census)

3) The percentage of housing units in multi-family buildings (two or more unit structures as defined by the 1970 census).

If a study area had a higher than city-wide average percentage of young 


poor people and multi-family units, its effective population will be higher than its actual population. The reverse will be true if an area has lower than average percentages. To determine per capita acreage or investment in parks, the total amount of acreage or investment was divided by the effective population. For future investment in neighborhood and community parks and recreation it was assumed that the more deficient an area is now compared to


the "best-off" area, the one with the highest per capita investment or acreage - the bigger the share it should get of future investment,

The San Francisco Recreation and Open Space Element also noted several large areas in that city where the demand for recreation and open space far exceeds the supply, where opportunities for recreation are restricted because of social and economic factors and where recreation facilities are deficient and limited in the programs that can be provided. The selection of those "high need" neighborhoods was based on median income, population density, the delinquency rate, the elderly population and the youth population, measured against the number of recreation centers, acres of recreation facilities and recreation staff hours allotted to each neighborhood. While San Francisco and Oakland have utilized sophisticated methods of determining park/recreation demand, a less sophisticated method is appropriate for a city the size of Berkeley. Such a method would involve the analysis by residential census tract of existing recreation facilities, including school grounds and other than view or ornamental parks, and vacant lots measured

against net residential density, the percentage of persons under 18 years of age and the ' percentage of persons below poverty income. Those residential census tracts which contained a high combination of Socioeconomic indicators and little vacant, park or school yard land could be termed "high demand"

areas (see Figure 6). These areas could then be designated for a larger share of future city investment of funds for acquisition of new facilities and improvement of existing facilities.

The indicators were chosen because they correspond to local and national experience of park users. In some respects the indicator selection may be "begging the question" because people in an area without parks might not be frequent park users. Consequently, the fact that a census tract is without existing recreation facilities should be given greater importance than other indicators.

The selection of relevant indicators for high demand areas is the beginning point in determining priorities among competing options for park/recreation acquisition and/or development. Some tracts may be "high demand "by only a very few percentage points. In fact, the distance between "high demand" and" medium demand'' is not very great. Therefore, whether an area happens to be "high demand" should be seen as one input to the resource allocation process. A flexible approach may be necessary whereby the six indicators are balanced against cost and availability of land, projected maintenance costs, expressed neighborhood desire for parks, etc. The "high demand" areas and the six indicators are meant to be general minimum guidelines for resource allocation rather than a strict formula. Readily available opportunities which exist in other census tracts of slightly lower than "high" should not be overlooked. However, those tracts which rank very low should receive the lowest priority for future park acquisition.

Once a census tract has been designated a "high demand" area, should the city emphasize acquisition or development? Should the acquisition be of larger parks (1+ acres) or smaller parks (less than an acre)? if there is a school playground in the area should the city work with the school district to increase recreation opportunities there or should it purchase vacant land for a new park? Obviously there are no universal answers to these questions. Much of what should be done within an individual census tract depends upon


the specific situation or opportunities within the tract. For example, one tract may have a large, well located vacant parcel for sale while another may have little vacant land but a well located school yard. The resource allocation process should consider all these factors.

Measure "Y"

The voters passed "Measure Y" in November 1974, which is projected to yield over three million dollars for open space acquisition and development during the five-year life of its 20% property tax override. Seventy-five percent of this fund is to be used for acquisition while the remaining 25% is designated for improvement of existing facilities. One major problem with the measure is that continuing funds for maintenance for new park acquisitions are not provided. This fact suggests that the majority of "Measure Y" acquisition funds should be used to acquire larger vacant or under-utilized parcels rather than parcels less than one acre. According to the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and other studies, larger sites are less expensive to maintain and can offer a more varied recreational program than can scattered smaller sites. Small sites, such as the Berkeley Way Mini-Park should still be acquired, but Parks, Recreation and Community Services staff suggests that approximately 20,000 square feet or four typical 5,000 square foot city lots is the optimum size in terms of facilities and programs which should be provided for mini-parks. There are very few places in residential areas of Berkeley which contain four contiguous lots. There are several ways to provide a site of this size. The most direct way, as was used in the case of Willard Park, is to acquire property over time. However, such a method will often require the demolition or moving of residential buildings. other less costly but more complex methods would involve partial street closures (with the mutual consent of all property owners involved and city government), the use of common backyards, or the use of mobile vans on vacant lots or street cul-de-sacs,


Obviously, the provision of park and recreation facilities will have less benefit if people cannot get to them easily. There could be several barriers to full access. One barrier could be lack of readily available transportation, others could be poorly located park sites in which a person has to cross several busy streets to reach the facilities. Conversely, well-located, intensively used recreation facilities art as traffic generators as can be seen easily on week ends at Live Oak Park. Access to regional parks is by auto or transit vehicle while neighborhood and district parks are accessible by walking as well as by transit or automobile.

Accessibility is also a function of design in that elderly, disabled and young persons may need specially designed facilities so that they may use them easily. Well-designed recreation facilities, as other physical structures, should blend harmoniously with their surroundings. Park facilities should be well-landscaped but not so heavily planted as to inhibit effective use. Diversity, variety of plants and materials and a safe, sensible layout should be features of all park designs. Parks should be designed in such a manner to minimize maintenance costs through the use of sturdy fixtures and easily-maintained or native plant species. Design excellence of park and recreation facilities should be practiced to encourage full and effective use by people the facility is expected to serve,


An important area for providing park and recreation facilities is at a person's place of work. Those persons who work in the Berkeley Central Business District are fortunate to have Civic Center Park as a resource for lunchtime and after work activities. in addition, both the YMCA and YWCA provide gymnasia which are available at noontime for CBD employees. There are also numerous sitting areas and benches where people may visit with friends or on balmy days eat lunch outdoors. other commercial areas and the industrial area with the exception of the Adeline/Alcatraz District are deficient in terms of readily accessible recreation facilities for persons who work there. Arrangements with owners of vacant lots in commercial /industrial areas might be possible whereby the lots could be used for park/recreation purposes with mobile or non-permanent fixtures which could be moved if the lot were sold.

Residents of many Berkeley apartment buildings also suffer from the lack of onsite recreation facilities While it is infeasible to make open space requirements retroactive for residential developments, Berkeley has required since 1973 that new apartment buildings provide more adequate usable open space.

Diminution of Park Space

Demands for vacant sites for municipal uses have increased over the last 20 years. In many cities this demand has been met through building public structures on park/recreation space. Such a use has advantages in that it does not require additional land acquisition, reduce the tax base nor reduce the 

city’s housing supply. Although this issue has not been actively discussed in Berkeley in recent years, there is always the possibility for the issue to arise in the future. Such parks as Civic Center and San Pablo provide welcome relief to the surrounding areas and opportunities for recreation activities. These opportunities should not be reduced through the building of non-recreation oriented buildings. Facilities which are non-recreation related, such as senior centers, administrative offices, etc., should be built on

existing open spare only as a last resort once other options have been explored and found undesirable.

Social Problems

Berkeley is fortunate in that its park and recreation areas are generally free from such crime problems as rapes and muggings. While such incidents have occurred during the past, they have been very infrequent.

Most social problems are minor. A prevalent one is the propensity of certain pet owners to utilize parks for walking their animals. Many complaints about Berkeley's parks involve conflicts between pet owners and non-pet owners. While the issue is an emotional and complex one, solutions need to be devised to ameliorate both sides without a general banning of animals from parks. Perhaps certain days, time periods or areas could be set aside for dog walking.


one of Berkeley's most endearing assets is its unparalled natural setting with steep hills rising to 1,100 feet from the gently sloping bay plain. Certain views from the hills may be so magnificent that they warrant land acquisition to preserve a view for the public. Examples of this type in Berkeley include Cragmont, Indian Rock, John Hinkel, Stoneface and Terrace View Parks. Other views of interest include views of the Bay from houses in the hills or the upper floors of apartment buildings in the "flatlands" or a view of the hills


from houses in the "flatlands" A pleasant vista of either the hills or the Bay adds much to the quality of Berkeley's urban environment while also increasing property values and the city's tax base as much as an estimated 10%


The waterfront is defined as all property, public and private, bordered by Albany on the north and Emeryville on the South, located west of the Interstate 80 Freeway, and also including those lands east of the freeway commonly described as Aquatic Park.

The City of Berkeley has historically been vitally interested in the comprehensive development of its waterfront. over a considerable number of years many ideas and plans *have originated for the development of Berkeley's waterfront lands. These plans have differed in purpose, scope and detail, but the significant aspect of all the early plans, such as those proposed by colonel T. H. Rees in 1912, J. J. Jessup in 1918, R. Jennings in 1919, Stephen Child in 1926 and R. L. Vaughn in 1930, called for the development of harbor facilities with piers and slips capable of accommodating ocean-going vessels. in the 1940's subsequent plans such as Robert Sibley's also included development of a major international airport with necessary taxiways, parking aprons, hangars, shops and office buildings. other plans, such as the one proposed by the Santa Fe Railroad Company in 1948, highlighted the development of industrial areas on the waterfront. Departing from these earlier approaches, the 1955 Master Plan (Waterfront Section) proposed the development of the waterfront as a completely new urban site, with a balanced combination of uses including residence, commerce, recreation and transportation. A sketch plan indicated reclamation of 2,500 acres of land extending nearly three miles west of the Eastshore Freeway. Detailed studies to determine the engineering and economic feasibility of this sketch plan followed.

In 1956 the Tudor Engineering Study reported that and transportation facilities. The plan involved reclamation of about 2,000 acres. During the City Council's public hearings on the recommended plan considerable opposition arose, particularly from a newly organized group of citizens, the Save San Francisco Bay Association. Primary concern centered around the extent of fill proposed and the effect this plan and others in the Bay Area would ultimately have in reducing the water area of the Bay. Because of this concern, the City Council requested that alternative plans be prepared, and that an East Bay Waterfront Planning Committee be formed to study the feasibility of several cities undertaking cooperative shoreline planning.

reclamation of the tidelands was feasible, although not on the scale envisioned in the 1955 Master Plan. The city, therefore, formulated a waterfront study program in 1957, calling for further analysis of the total amount of land fill, together with economic considerations of development and of potential land uses suitable to the area. The city contracted with a team of engineering, economic and planning consultants in 1959 to study the technical phases of the program. A joint committee of the Planning and Recreation Commission was formed to provide general policy guidance to the consultants. After extensive public discussion, the planning Commission submitted to the City Council in 1961 a major amendment to the Waterfront Section of the Master Plan, including a substantially revised map. This plan proposed a land fill out to the Corps of Army Engineers' Bulkhead Line (nearly two miles west of the Eastshore Freeway) and contained a variety of land uses, including residential, industrial, recreational, educational, airport


As the work of the East Bay Waterfront PI Planning Committee started, the Association of Bay Area Governments also became active in an effort to achieve regional planning for the entire Bay shoreline. Later in 1963 the Santa Fe Railroad Company joined this trend, presenting a proposal for the regional development of the East Shore Tidelands prepared by Victor Gruen Associates. In Berkeley the Santa Fe plan suggested extensive fill for residential, industrial, commercial and recreation use.

Previous plans for waterfront development, including the 1955 Waterfront Section of the Master Plan and the 1961 proposed amendment to this section, Were all directed toward development based upon a substantial amount of land fill. Each of these proposals had assumed a need for a variety of uses and extensive land fill to accommodate them. In 1963 the City Council adopted policies that reflected A fundamental change in the earlier assumptions: that waterfront fill should be limited, that park arid recreation use should be emphasized and that plans should be considered more fully in the regional context. These policies were expressed in an Interim General Waterfront Development Plan.

While the position of the city is clearly in support of regional planning efforts and the retention of maximum open water, Berkeley is also aware that exceptional opportunities exist for its waterfront, and that many of these opportunities will mot be affected substantially by regional studies. The 1964 Plan was modified in 1966 to further Limit: the amount of fill.

In 1972 the City of Berkeley was sued by Santa Fe/Murphy regarding development rights for private lands on the waterfront. This matter is still under litigation.




The policies which follow are formulated to encourage solutions to the problems and issues discussed in the previous section. Some policies are more general while others are more specific. These policies should be reviewed annually since some may be more readily implemented than others.


Maintain active liaison with East Bay and Regional Water, Air Quality, Open Space and Recreation agencies to attain Berkeley's goals.


Encourage the preservation of Claremont Canyon as an open space/natural resource area; oppose any development proposals for this area; and foster its acquisition by the East Bay Regional Park District.


Encourage effective pest management programs in which natural predators are emphasized rather than pesticides.


Give priority for the acquisition of the "Hearst Strip and the Santa Fe right-of-way by Berkeley.


Give high priority for improvement of existing park and recreation facilities, including school yards and other than pathways, view and ornamental parks.


Give medium priority for acquiring neighborhood park and recreation facilities which do not reduce Berkeley's housing supply.


Give low priority for improving pathways, view parks and ornamental parks.



(See Policy 1.66 in the Land Use Element)

The California Schools-for the Deaf and Blind should be retained by a public agency and used predominantly for open space. A small amount of medium-low density residential uses as defined by the Land Use Element should be allowed in the northwest quadrant of the School's property.


(see Policy 1.63 in the Land Use Element)

The City of Berkeley Corporation Yard should be moved to a more appropriate location in the manufacturing area and the site developed for park, recreation and aw- housing.


The budget for acquiring any park, recreation or open spare facility shall include the estimated maintenance costs for that park, recreation or open spare facility.


Establish a standard of two acres of city-owned park and recreation areas per 1,000 population, exclusive of school playgrounds.


Enhance and improve public transit access to public parks and recreation facilities including the waterfront.


Existing parks and other public open spare areas including the waterfront area should not be diminished by parking, streets or non-park related facilities.


Develop additional after-school and week end recreational activities at all schools through joint city/district use of Berkeley Unified School District facilities.



Encourage innovative use of public and private lands including streets and backyards for park and open spare purposes,


Protect public views in Berkeley of both the San Francisco Bay and the Berkeley Hills.


Coordinate City open space systems and programs with the recreational systems, program spaces of other jurisdictions and private facilities.


Institute a city-wide street -landscaping program in consultation with residents of each city neighborhood.


Continue to require adequate usable open space in all new private residential developments.


Preserve and enhance by providing pedestrian access where possible those open creeks which carry significant amounts of water throughout the years.


Fund a program to enable continual acquisition of land for open space and public facilities as such parcels come on the market.


(See also Policy 1.43 in Land Use Element)

Endorse the University's policy of preserving a portion of its hill lands as an ecological study area; encourage retention of existing open space in those areas not designated for ecological study; work with the University to enhance the public recreational potential of its hill lands.



(See also Policy 1.70 in the Land Use Element

The Recreation Commission shall have the initial responsibility for parks and recreation facility development plans including the publicly-owned waterfronts lands.


Encourage community involvement in the construction of small public park projects.


Planning for parks and facilities should be based upon comprehensive and through evaluation of the present and estimated future needs mad desires of Berkeley residents.


Recreation facilities should be flexibly and safely designed to serve the needs of people.


All recreation facilities in the City of Berkeley should be well-maintained and staffed to carry out needed recreation programs and services.


The waterfront is defined as all property, public and private, bordered by Albany on the north and Emery7ille on the South located west of the 1-80 Freeway, and also including those lands east of the freeway commonly described as Aquatic Park.


Require that all new development within the waterfront area meet the following criteria:

-Complement the unique waterfront setting. insure adequate public access to the shoreline or other public places

-Enhance recreational opportunities and insure use of the waterfront area by a diverse population (age, sex, race, income)


-Recognize areas which require special management or regulation because of hazardous, unstable soil conditions or other special conditions

-Complement existing recreation or commercial recreation development

In addition, there shall be specific site plans developed for each of the public areas and these shall become a part of this element.


The waterfront should be designed to be visually interesting and attractive both within itself and as viewed from a distance. Plans for the area should include a creative shoreline design, incorporating varying elevations of terrain and retention of a maxim= amount of water with public access.


Increase access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the waterfront. The first order of priority should be given to changes to each waterfront access so that pedestrians and bicyclists may have safe access to the Bay front.


The publicly-owned land north of Spinnaker Way should be devoted to public open space and recreation and not developed with structures or organized sports activities. The area will be pedestrian and bicycle-oriented (with no public roads through or around the area) and protected from the intrusion of incompatible uses.


Develop an unbroken stretch of open space along the shoreline from Albany to Emeryville.


Enhance existing recreation and commercial recreation development, 






Aquatic Park - Addison Street and Bancroft Way 99.36

Berkeley Rose Garden - Euclid Avenue and Bay View Place 3.64

Berkeley Way Mini-Park.- Berkeley Way Between Chestnut and .43

West Streets

Bowling Greens - 2270 Acton Street 1.81

Charles Door Mini-Park - Acton Street Between Allston and .60

Bancroft Ways

Civic Center Park - Grove and Center Streets 2.77

Codornices Park - 1201 Euclid Avenue 10.60

Columbus Mini-Park - 9th Street Between Allston and .46

Bancroft Ways

Cragmont Rock Park - Regal Road and Euclid Avenue 3.00

Glendale/La Loma Park - Glendale and La Loma Avenues between 5.61

Fairview and Harmon Streets

Greg Brown Mini-Park - Between Adeline and Dover Streets .58

Grove Playground - 2828 Grove Street 2.45

Haskell/Mable Mini-Park - Haskell and Mable Streets .13

Indian Rock - Between Arlington and Marin Avenues 1.18

James Kenney Park - Sth and Delaware Streets 4.06

John Hinkel - Southampton and San Diego Roads 4.19

Live Oak Park - Shattuck Avenue and Berryman Street 5.52

Prince Street Totlot/1969-70 - Prince Street Between California .15

and King Streets

Remillard - Keeler Avenue and Poppy Lane 5.90

Roosevelt Totlot/1969-70 - Roosevelt Avenue Between Channing .15

and Dwight Ways







San Pablo Park - Oregon and Park Streets 12.95

63rd Street Mini-Park - 63rd Street Between California .19

and King Streets

Spruce/Michigan - Spruce Street and Michigan Avenue 1.19

Stoneface - San Fernando Avenue and Thousand Oaks Boulevard .73

Terrace View - Fairlawn Drive and Queens Road .71

Totland/Virginia-McGee - Virginia Street and McGee Avenue .37

Willard Park 1969-70 - 2720 Hillegass Avenue 2.72

William Davis, Jr. Mini-Park - Dwight Way Between Telegraph .49

and Dana Streets




Positions listed are full-time permanent career; not necessarily filled at this time. Part-time positions vary according to the time of the year. Codornices Park, La Loma, and Terrace View Parks, each have one permanent part-time position, working approximately. 20 hours per week.

Recreation Recreation

Supervisor Leaders

Grove Center Park 1 2

Jame Kenny 1 1

Live Oak 1 2

San Pablo 1 2











4211 1.19 X 17.4 20.4 6.1


4212 19.2 30.1 7.7


4213 X 24.6 24.6 5.9


4214 X 25.3 32.2 3.6


4215 X 18.2 26.3 5.9


4216 16.21 X 21.7 24.4 8.3


4217 5.52 39.8 17.0 9.9


X 31.7 26.0 12.3 



4219 X 33.3 25.6 13.2 


4220 99.36 19.3 17.1 


4221 4.06 36.3 32.7 18.0 


4222 .43 X 40.6 22.8 14.7 


4223 .37 39.6 .20.7 17.1 

9 1

4Z24** X 71.2 10.3 24.2 


4225" 66.3 4.7 25.0 


4226 University of California Campus

4227** 8.5 2.4 32.9

26 2

4228** .49 148.9 2.1 42.5


4229 2.77 167.8 3.0 38.9


4230 .30 (CBD) X 46.3 19.9 21.7


4231 2.41 X 45.0 23.7 18.6


4232 ..46 X 40.6 34.7 21.5


4233 12.95 36.0 24.9 12.9


4234** 2.45 X 45.8 27.5 21.3


4235** X 56.3 20.5 29.9


4236** 2.72 X 57.5 9.0 31.5


4237 X 40.7 26.4 23.5


4238 X 19.8 26.5 5.6


4Z39 45.9 18.0 21.4


4240 .90 X 44.5 30.1 27.2


* Except view & ornamental parks 1 Includes "Hearst Strip"

** . High demand" Census Tracts 2 Includes "Peoples' Park"

SOURCES: 1970 Census - Berkeley Park, Recreation & Community Services Dept.

Berkeley Planning Department Vacant Lot Maps, 1974

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