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Berkeley - Downtown Public Improvements

Client: City of Berkeley

This streetscape project enhanced Shattuck and University Avenues, two major street corridors of Berkeley's downtown core, to improve the look and feel of a high-activity environment on a limited budget.

New white street lighting, open canopy trees, and street furniture enhanced pedestrian comfort and downtown's image.
 

Before

No side median trees and poor lighting made Shattuck Avenue sidewalks feel unpleasant and dark at night.

  • The City identified 11 downtown blocks in need of improvement, centered on Shattuck and University Avenues connecting the downtown Berkeley BART station to shops, cinemas, workplaces, hotels, residences, and the western edge of the UC Berkeley campus.
  • Safety and image concerns were obstacles to successful transit use, retail, entertainment, institutional and residential activity.

Assignment

  • Design streetscape improvements to improve image and comfort in accordance with a 1994 concept plan under significant budgetary constraints.
  • Facilitate a public workshop process with stakeholders including business owners and residents.
  • Solve problem of inadequate lighting which had contributed to widespread public perceptions of  unwelcoming and neglected streets.

Outcomes

Built

  • Construction was completed in 2000.
  • The project’s community workshops helped build consensus on the design of street lighting, street trees and sidewalks.
  • The streetscape design introduces pedestrian-height streetlight poles with high-quality white lighting, pedestrian “bulb-outs” at key crosswalks, and planting of new sidewalk and median trees, the latter in part to fulfill the “grand boulevard” potential of Shattuck Avenue’s multiple medians.

In collaboration with:

John Northmore Roberts, Mark Thomas & Co., Inc., MTH Engineers, Inc., ISC Group, Sierra Engineering Group