17 May 2007

Cal wins, historic neighborhood loses

The Foothill pedestrian bridge (Donald McDonald Architects)

After many years of community and city resistance, U.C. finally won its long-coveted pedestrian bridge over Hearst Avenue east of the La Loma intersection, connecting the two wings of the Foothill student housing complex.

Although many Berkeley residents and several city commissions were vehemently opposed to the bridge (both BAHA and the Daily Cal came out against it), the city council gave the project a conditional approval on 26 April 2005.

The council’s approval hinged on the following conditions:
  1. An improved bridge design is submitted and approved by the Public Works Director, in consultation with the Design Review Committee.

  2. Any detrimental effects on the immediate community are offset by contributing to specified pedestrian safety and public infrastructure improvements in the “Hearst Corridor,” in the amount of $200,000.

  3. All plan check comments and other technical issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the Public Works Director.

The deal was brokered by Public Works Director René Cardinaux, who retired later that year. By giving the final authority for approving the bridge design to the Public Works Director rather than to the Design Review Committee, the council paved the way for the mediocre bridge that is scheduled to be delivered to the campus in late May.

The Foothill Bridge architect is Donald McDonald, who also gave us the I-80 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overcrossing.

According to the Cal Neighbors Spring 2007 issue, installation of the steel bridge is expected to take one day.


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