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.

09 May 2007

Spring House Tour Photo Gallery


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2006

Did you miss BAHA’s Spring House Tour on Sunday? Visit our tour photo gallery and see what you missed.

Did you go on the tour? Visit the gallery to see who some of the other tourgoers were.

We have ten photo pages of tour goers and tour sights, plus three pages devoted to the houses and gardens.

05 May 2007

The fascinating history of Thousand Oaks


The Newell house, 1890 Yosemite Road at Indian Trail (courtesy of the Berkeley Historical Society)

A failed ballot measure to make Berkeley the state capital. A restless millionaire with a passion for mansions and rambling parks. A clutch of sons-in-law in the real estate business. Several elopements. Notable society figures. A headline-making divorce. Beautiful architecture among the rocks.

All the above and more are covered in three articles about the beginnings of Thousand Oaks, where BAHA’s Spring House & Garden Tour will take place tomorrow.

Read about Stephen and Victorine Sills, owners of Berkeley’s most fashionable grocery & hardware store, and their citadel-like home, Villa della Rocca. Mark Daniels, the flamboyant landscape engineer who laid out the tract before designing Seacliff, Forest Hill, the 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, and Bel-Air in Los Angeles. And Thousand Oaks developer John Hopkins Spring, his two wives, eight children, and three spectacular estates.