16 January 2006

Neighbors of Ashby BART v. Transit Village

On 13 February 2001, The Berkeley City Council approved Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek’s Housing Policy for Development of Ashby BART West Parking Lot to “Adopt policy guidelines that the west parking lot at the Ashby BART Station be developed with housing as a top priority.  To the extent possible, housing should be affordable and available to public sector workers.  If necessary, replacement parking and movement of Berkeley Flea Market to another site should be considered.”

On 13 December 2005, the City Council voted to endorse a $120,000 grant application to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for major Transit Village development with 300 units of housing built over ground-floor commercial space, which would displace the flea market. The actual grant application had been filed two months earlier.

It is not a coincidence that Transit Villages are the 1994 creation of then-Assemblyman Tom Bates in Assembly Bill 3152. It is also not surprising that the Ashby BART neighbors are taken aback at the half-mile radius project area, the eminent-domain implications, and potential upzoning for higher density.

This proposed Transit Village development joins the future Ed Roberts Campus, slated for the Ashby BART east parking lot. The Ashby Station neighborhood is a classic turn-of-the-century streetcar suburb, predominantly Colonial Revival in style. City of Berkeley planners have deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. (See our extensive photo essay on Ashby Station.)

For comprehensive information about the Transit Village project, visit Neighbors of Ashby BART. Here you can find an area map and links to all the newspaper articles and public documents involving the case.

To receive updates on the Transit Village project, join the Neighbors of Ashby BART news group: http://groups.google.com/group/nabart.

A panel discussion on the proposed Transit Village District, sponsored by local neighborhood associations, will take place on Tuesday, 17 January, 7:00pm, at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. at Ashby.


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