Third Draft of Waterfront Specific Plan

Comments on Berkeley Waterfront Specific Plan, Third Draft

  • Martin Nicolaus
  • CEO, Chavez Park Conservancy

The City of Berkeley has spent $1.1 million to hire a set of consultants headed by the Hargreaves Jones firm to produce recommendations for the future of the Berkeley waterfront. Their initial report in March 2022, captioned the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP), contained proposals for commercial development in Cesar Chavez Park that aroused strong and widespread popular opposition. See “Love Letters to the Park.” The City formally backed off these proposals in August 2022 and initiated a new round of proposals under the revised heading of Waterfront Specific Plan (WSP). The first WSP draft came out on September 8 2023. I published comments on that draft here. A second draft was published on September 22; my comments are here. On October 30, the City published its third draft. This document is my response to the third draft. While I am identified as CEO of the Chavez Park Conservancy, this writing is not an organizational document but represents my personal opinions.

1. The Waterfront as a Whole

    1.1 The Waterfront Is Part of Berkeley

    After reviewing the need for repairs and new construction at the Waterfront, the draft says, “the long-term viability of the Waterfront will be dependent on creating a consistent revenue stream to fund these maintenance and capital replacements over time.” P. 46. This is true, but it is a fundamental mistake to assume that this revenue stream must arise from the Waterfront itself. As the historical section points out, the notion of a self-sustaining Waterfront was embodied in the creation of the Marina Fund in 1964. P. 48. If we have learned anything in the decades since, it is that this notion was a pipedream of the sixties.

    The authors of this third draft should cut through the years of accumulated official fictions and state frankly what is now obvious: the idea of the Marina Fund as the main revenue source for the Waterfront is unsound. We have seen in previous analyses, which the draft should but doesn’t reference, that the Marina Fund is an accounting mess. A major source of revenue generated on the Waterfront, the Hotel Occupancy Tax, is not credited to the Marina Fund. Major road repair, garbage pickup, and landscaping expenses treated as City General Fund items everywhere else in the City are treated as Marina Fund costs on the Waterfront. Parks Tax funds can flow everywhere in Berkeley but not to the Marina Fund. One version of the Marina Fund, using cash method accounting, shows it in deficit. Another version, using the accrual method, shows it in vigorous surplus. It is a matter of controversy whether the Waterfront is an operational drain on the City or a cash cow. A City cannot be operated this way without losing credibility in its management. The Marina Fund was a mistake. The Waterfront is not and cannot be handled as if it were a separate city. The Marina Fund needs to be killed. All the assets and expenses of the Waterfront need to be merged with the City budget and the City administration. The Waterfront needs to be treated as what it is: part of the City.

    After avoiding the issue in the earlier pages, the draft comes back to it in Section 2.6, “Fiscal Sustainability” p. 188. There it finally admits, as it should have done 140 pages earlier, that “we know that it is not possible to generate all the revenue needed at the Waterfront.” There the draft lists a number of revenue options, such as General Fund subsidies, a Parks Tax increase, a new City or regional tax, bond measure, private financing, grants, and user fees. None of these options will work so long as the Waterfront is treated as an economic sovereignty separate from the City of Berkeley. These issues should be front and center in the draft, not buried far down the road where few will reach it.

    1.2 The Ferry Black Hole

    In Section 2.3.3 at p. 128, the draft takes up the Berkeley Pier and the “Ferry Access Project” in one page that reads like a City handout. There’s no look at the decade without inspections or maintenance that preceded the pier closure. The fierce ongoing controversy about the proposed ferry project doesn’t exist. Everything is peachy, or will be peachy when the ferry begins service in 2028. Why are we paying tax money to consultants who write fluff like this?

    It isn’t until 30 and then 60 pages later that a little bit of reality creeps in. In a table on p. 154, the draft suggests that repairing the pier without ferry access might cost in the range of $37M, while adding ferry access would at least double the cost, with actual numbers totally up in the air, depending on unspecified future grants and an undetermined WETA contribution in 2028.

    Also up in the air is the amount of parking that would be required for the ferry. The whole “Parking” treatment in the draft centers on this huge black hole. The table of land allocations on p. 199 shows blanks with the legend “TBD” for the “Ferry Access Project.” As a result, all the land allocation percentages are fuzzy.

    There is no discussion of ferry operating costs. Previous estimates indicate that ferry fares at market rates would require heavy subsidies. Who will pay them? There are no commitments from anyone. The impact of ferry traffic on local business is unknowable. The amount of expected ferry passenger traffic is a matter of ever-changing conjecture. The impact of ferry traffic on BART ridership is unmentioned. The project looks less like a business plan and more like a fantasy.

    The City has recently received a grant to study the project, which will take years. The consultants would inspire confidence by admitting that a Waterfront Specific Plan is currently not possible because the parameters of the ferry project — potentially a major component of the Waterfront — are unknowable at this time.

    It would make sense for the City to repair the pier at this time, as soon as possible, and to leave the ferry project to a future date when the series of financial questions about it may be answered. To leave the pier dead and closed while waiting on possible ferry financing condemns the south side of the Marina to at least five more years of stagnation and decay.

    On the ferry issue, the draft is weak on analysis and on speaking truth. What we are getting is blurring, coverup, salesmanship.

    1.3 Where is the Garbage?

    The draft correctly points out on p. 34 that future development projects have to consider subsurface conditions. It’s known that erecting a building over decomposing garbage carries risks of settlement, instability, and landfill gas venting. The map on that page displays the Cesar Chavez Park area as “Capped Landfill” and the rest of the Waterfront, including the Eastshore State Park, as “Construction Spoils.” Construction spoils, by contrast, offer firmness, stability, and no gas problem. Development there should be free of subsurface issues.

    This map is inaccurate. The history of the Waterfront area is a history of garbage deposition. Only the Chavez Park area was expressly developed as a garbage dump, but garbage was the chief material that created almost all of the waterfront land.

    A case in point is the University Avenue strip between the freeway overpass and the Marina. This was a wooden pier where Berkeley residents dumped uncountable tons of garbage under and alongside the posts and beams. Everyone who drove the eastbound lane prior to the 2021 renovation knows that this became a washboard due to garbage settlement. The consultants missed this.

    The North Basin Strip, the former Berkeley Meadow, and the envelope around the boat basin are all constructed on a foundation of garbage. The only exception is today’s Brickyard Cove Park, where construction and demolition debris forms the principal basis.

    It would not have taken the Hargreaves Jones firm, principal authors of the draft, a deep dive into the historical record to draw a more accurate map. The 2003 Marina Master Plan, predecessor of the current effort, says at p. 24:

    The fill that comprises the waterfront sites are of two general types: 1) partly incinerated refuse consisting of brick, glass, metal, and organic material underlies the Meadow, North Basin Strip and Cesar Chavez Park; and 2) rubble consisting of a mixture of brick, concrete and clay soil underlies the Brickyard.

    The area formerly known as the Berkeley Meadow, now McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, was identified as a garbage deposit as early as the 1986 Specific Master Plan. The EIR addressed “ground settlement, ground shaking and ignition of methane in the soil.” By way of mitigation, “development has been removed entirely from the Meadow area, strict requirements are placed … for protection from groundshaking and settlement, … and incorporation of special measures to insure adequate venting of subsurface methane are required of all development.”

    But if reviewing these old documents was too much, the consultants had only to walk the Berkeley Meadow, where they would encounter this sign:

    “You are standing on 12 feet of accumulated garbage.” The history of the Berkeley waterfront since European settlement, but particularly in the 20th century, was one of trashing the beaches. “For over 60 years Berkeley’s household trash was dumped here.” Reviewing these well known facts, it is striking that the word “garbage” appears in the consultants’ draft only once, in connection with Chavez Park. Reading the consultants’ version of history, it’s difficult to understand why the Save the Bay movement arose — and in fact this movement, which profoundly changed land use at the Waterfront and around the whole Bay, is not mentioned in the consultants’ work.

    The location of garbage infill is of particular interest in the strip south of Spinnaker Way, between Spinnaker Way and the northern edge of the boat basin. The Hilton Doubletree hotel sits here. The consultants would like to “densify” this hotel by adding more floors and more buildings. On the west side of this strip currently sits the Marine Center, a working boatyard. The consultants would like to put a four-story hotel here. If the foundation fill is “construction spoils,” no problem. But if it were construction spoils, why would the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the City of Berkeley’s Public Works Department have required installation of a Landfill Gas Collection system south of Spinnaker Way? The main buildings of the hotel and of the Marine Center sit atop a network of landfill gas collection wells detailed in this architectural drawing (left).

    The schematic below shows that the landfill gas collection system south of Spinnaker Way consists of 18 monitoring probes, 14 trench wells, and 2 horizontal collectors, for a total of 34 gas collection devices. Two of the probes and four of the trench wells are located under the Marine Center. The two horizontal collectors are located under the parking lots between the Marine Center and the hotel. The remaining 26 gas collectors are located under and around various buildings of the hotel.

    Moreover, the hotel has installed methane monitoring devices inside its buildings to detect possible leakage not vented by the collection system. No methane leakage has been reported inside a hotel building. However, there has been active gas generation under the hotel grounds, with the highest methane concentrations reported from the collectors around the hotel lobby area (upper right corner of the graphic):

    In summary, the consultants’ map of subsurface conditions on page 34 raises troubling concerns. The authors of the draft have not done their homework. They are not aware that University Avenue eastbound was built on garbage, even though anyone who drove that stretch of washboard road before 2022 would have been put on notice. They have not walked the former Berkeley Meadow and seen the signs advising that it was built on garbage. They have not read two previous waterfront master plans detailing where the garbage is distributed. They have not seen the architectural drawings or the engineer’s schematics showing the landfill gas collection system south of Spinnaker Way. Densifying the existing hotel and adding a new four-story building in this strip raises subsurface issues that the map on p. 34 covers up.

    1.4 Design Criteria

    Section 3.5 on Design Guidelines (p. 218) says that new structures “are designed to recede through careful massing, facade articulation, and material selection.” Yet the proposed buildings shown in the numerous graphics throughout the draft are mostly glass boxes. The one point about facade articulation and material selection that could make a difference, namely bird-safe glass, is not mentioned.

    Similarly, the section on lighting, p. 183, reveals zero awareness of the negative impacts of night lighting on wildlife. These gaps are typical of the ecologically insensitive Hargreaves Jones firm, as we saw from their 2022 proposals for commercial development in Chavez Park. See the book “Love Letters to the Park.” Nothing in the past 30 years of growing environmental awareness has penetrated the Hargreaves Jones consciousness.

    2. Cesar Chavez Park

      The keynote of the draft’s coverage of Cesar Chavez Park is what it leaves out. There is no repetition of the commercial development proposals in the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP) of early 2022. There is no talk of a concert venue in the central grassland nor of a zip line and ropes course in the Native Plant Area. These omissions are thoroughly welcome. It is clear that last summer’s strong and broad public movement to preserve the park from commercial development (see the book “Love Letters to the Park”) has left an impact. Commercial development in Chavez Park is off the agenda. Unless …

      2.1 The Million Dollar Master Plan

      In a table on page 154, there is the amount of $1M for a Master Plan for Cesar Chavez Park. Earlier, at p. 84, the draft points out that a Master Plan would be necessary only if big changes to the park were contemplated. What changes are contemplated?

      The planned changes that the draft signals are three: repairs to the perimeter trail, one bathroom, and changes to interior trails.

      • Perimeter trail: $2.1M financed by a State of California grant, bottom of p. 156.
      • One permanent park restroom, $445K in 2025, table on pp. 50-51.
      • “Interior Pathways Improvements and Amenities – Phase 2,” $2.9M, table on p. 154.

      The perimeter trail has had no repairs for 30 years. There is no question that a renovation is necessary.

      The amount budgeted for a permanent restroom continues the City management’s obsession with expensive custom-built restroom buildings. Perfectly functioning and attractive prefab structures can be had for a fraction of the cost. With that budget number, three and possibly four permanent restrooms could be built in the park, using innovative vendors such as Portland Loo and GreenFlush Restrooms.

      The sum of $2.9M for interior pathways “and amenities” makes a surprise appearance here. The Parks administration has not published ideas for interior pathway updates and has not asked for public input on such a project. If Parks is serious about this item, a public process is called for.

      Taken together, these three items do not amount to the kind of major park changes that call for a million-dollar Master Plan. If the City has bigger ideas that warrant the expenditure, it should say so clearly and promptly. Is this Master Plan a Trojan horse for reintroducing commercial development in the park? If there are no big ideas lurking in the Master Plan proposal, the million dollar expenditure should be applied to more productive projects.

      2.2 The Myth of Special Events Revenue

      In Section 2.3.4 at page 132, the draft repeats the mistake of previous drafts by describing large events like the Kite Fest and July 4th as revenue sources. Public records and news reports with which the consultants ought to be familiar make it clear that these events drain city coffers and are revenue negative. The draft wrongly describes these events as ongoing and continuing when in fact they have been killed due to their excessive cost.

      The map on p. 133 mistakenly labels approximately the southern half of Chavez Park in pink as a festival area for “Festivals, Concerts, Scenic Walking Tours, Large Picnic Rentals.” Let’s look at these in detail.

      • The Kite Fest was held in this area, but was discontinued due to high costs.
      • There is no venue for “Concerts” in the park, other than by pop-up small bands and individual artist volunteers. A proposal to build a concert stage in the park aroused strong and widespread opposition in the summer of 2022; see the book “Love Letters to the Park
      • Scenic walking tours have been and are held in the whole park seasonally but require no buildout and generate no revenues for the City.
      • Large picnics occur occasionally but picnic areas are free and are not rented. A proposal to require rental fees for picnic areas is certain to face strong opposition.

      The draft also proposes to put food trucks in two areas adjacent to Chavez Park. Food trucks are notorious generators of trash and litter. If food trucks are allowed, the food truck permit fees must include a cost to hire City staff for wide area cleanup afterward.

      2.3 What’s In the Park?

      In two maps of Chavez Park on p. 85 and 86, some key features are missing.

      • While including one public art installation, the Open Circle construction on the east side, it misses the Sky Window artwork and the Peace Symbol on the west side.
      • A major landscape feature, the Native Plant Area, remains without a label.

      Some labels are not quite right.

      • The “Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar” is now the Chavez/Huerta Tribute Site.
      • The “Owl Habitat” label marks the seasonal Burrowing Owl Sanctuary. But Burrowing Owls have settled also in the Protected Nature Area and in the shoreline margin north of the perimeter trail. This too is “owl habitat.”
      • Most of the trees shown scattered over the northern and eastern portion of the map on p. 86 don’t exist.

      There is an infrastructure map on p. 155 showing, among other things, water lines. This map omits Chavez Park. There is a water line system feeding the half dozen red standpipes for firefighters in the southern half of the park. There is an extensive but now largely abandoned and broken irrigation system. There are working pipes that supply the four water fountains. There is an extensive landfill gas pipe network, also not shown. There is a network of buried electrical cables, not shown.

      Missing from the depictions of the paved perimeter trail in Cut 1E and 1F on p. 164 are the side trails used by runners. Runners are one of the key user groups in the park.

      The maps and schematics of the park give the distinct impression that the artists haven’t actually set foot in the park, or not very much.

      This same remoteness colors the discussion of fences. On p. 221, the draft says that “fencing is not allowed, with exceptions for screening utilities and waste storage areas.” The drafters forget that there are dogs in the park, many of them off leash. After years of violations which drew media attention, the City in March 2020 felt compelled to build a fence separating the Off Leash Area from the Protected Nature Area on the north side. The “Owl Habitat” in the northeast corner has a substandard fence that enables off-leash dog attacks on the owls. This fence needs to be upgraded. Consultants who had any degree of on-the-ground engagement with the park would be familiar with these issues.

      On the positive side, Section 2.5.5 (Placemaking and Wayfinding) calls for an overhaul of signage in the park. This would be welcome if done right. The existing signs installed in the last decade are ordinary street signs. They do not have a park style or set a park atmosphere. This is quite apart from issues of sign placement to mark area boundaries, where numerous gaps exist.

      The draft also mentions trash receptacles. Chavez Park currently uses many open 55-gal barrels that are unattractive and that provide food for an overpopulation of crows and rats. Many of the receptacles are beat up. There is no separate disposal for recyclables. Improvements would be welcome.

      2.4 Flyover Ecology

      One could frost a three-tier wedding cake with the sugary platitudes in the “Nature and Shoreline Ecology” section beginning on p. 94. It’s “diversify” and “resilience” and “environmental benefits” and “broad and inclusive approach” and “sustainable” and “adaptable” and “richness” and more of the same. This bath of virtuous generalities concludes on p. 109 with a full page photo featuring Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), an exotic, aggressively invasive weed.

      In that entire span, the reader never finds out what plants actually grow in the park, only what plants typically grow in “Central Coast plant communities.” The website contains an exhaustive list of plants spotted and identified in the park in the past five years. It doesn’t look like the authors of the draft consulted this inventory in any depth, and they certainly did no field work on their own. Field investigation would show the consultants in a short time that their four distinct “Coastal Plant Communities” are in reality scrambled and compressed all over the waterfront, including in Chavez Park. Landscaping in the park has a chaotic history, with a great variety of topsoils dumped at random, hydroseeding that failed, widespread trench digging for the landfill gas system that attracted invasive grasses and ruderals, broken and abandoned irrigation, years of deferred maintenance, and other issues. Records of this history are available, but the consultants didn’t do homework.

      The consultants’ report particularly ignores the grasslands that make up the great majority of the park’s land area. Grasslands provide the primary habitat for much of the wildlife found in the park. Creeping wild rye and purple needlegrass are important native plant species here. Western Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Northern Harriers, American Pipits and White-tailed Kites extensively depend on grasslands, and most of their numbers are diminishing. Instead of native grasslands, the consultants (at page 101) propose irrigation “at select lawns … such as the southeast quadrant of Cesar Chavez Park.” There are no lawns in Chavez Park, not in the southeast corner nor anywhere else, and installing irrigation to create lawns is a non-starter. The scraping, rolling, reseeding, watering, fertilizing, and chemical spraying required to make and maintain lawns would eat up the park budget, poison the soil, and carry zero benefits for park wildlife.

      The consultants recommend a list of trees and other native plants that should be introduced, but no specific locations, budgets, or timelines for doing anything. Even the list of recommended native species is faulty. Chavez Park Conservancy director Jutta Burger Ph.D. points out that the list of native trees on page 104 omits the lovely Hollyleaf Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia). Among native shrubs, it forgets the attractive Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla), the aromatic Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens), and California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica), among others. It wrongly classifies California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum) as a shrub. Among grasses, it wrongly lists Sisyrinchium bellum as a grass, when it is a flower, and it forgets about Creeping Wild Rye (Leymos triticoides) and Purple Needlegrass (Stipa pulchra), the California state grass. It omits at least four important native flowers that grow in Chavez Park: California Bee Plant (Scrophularia californica), Coast Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium), Western Goldenrod (Euthamia occidentalis), and the Gumplant varieties (Grindelia spp.)

      The consultants also present a list of existing plants that are not native and should be “managed or not planted.” This list, like the rest of the presentation, is entirely abstract, without any action component. Should Myoporum and Acacia be removed and replaced with natives? Should the lessons of the No Mow movement be applied here? Is there too much or too little mowing in the east side meadow? Are we preserving or destroying habitat for ground-nesting birds like Savannah Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks, the most threatened bird category? What can be done about the persistence of foxtails that injure dogs? What can we do about loose dogs that flush ground-dwelling birds and dig holes that enlarge Ground Squirrel burrow entrances? How much Fennel should be permitted in the park, if any? Would we attract more wildlife if we planted more trees? Are we landscaping the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary correctly to attract and protect owls? Are Barn Owl boxes effective in attracting these nocturnal raptors? Should we build elevated platforms to attract nesting Ospreys? Where else in the park should native plant pollinator habitats be built? These are the kinds of specific practical questions that engage people on the ground. Not a whiff of this appears in the draft.

      Most revealing is the draft’s non-recognition of the Native Plant Area in the park. Members of Design Associates Working With Nature (DAWN), with grants from the City of Berkeley and the California Coastal Conservancy, established this historic plant community in the early 1980s. It has drawn statewide attention as proof of concept that native plant communities could thrive on an exposed coastal landfill. Decades later, dozens of volunteers with the local nonprofit Chavez Park Conservancy have built a native plant pollinator habitat in this area, and spent donated charitable funds and hundreds of hours of labor tending and watering these plants. The draft doesn’t mention it. In last year’s BMASP plan, the Hargreaves Jones firm proposed to destroy the Native Plant Area by converting it to a commercial zip line and ropes course. In this draft the consultants are pretending the Native Plant Area isn’t there. Similarly, the Chavez Park Conservancy is ghosted from the list of “Waterfront Organizations and Businesses” listed on page 40.

      Chavez Park Conservancy volunteers at work in the Native Plant Area

      The quality of this consulting work is disappointing. The purported description of current conditions is loosely copied out of textbooks and could have been generated by a student intern in half a day, or by an AI app in half a minute. It lacks the earthy smell of fieldwork. We should not be spending tax money on flyover consulting like this.

      3. Park Neighbors

        The draft contains recommendations regarding the park’s neighbor on the southwest, namely the Marine Center boat repair yard. The consultants want to shrink and relocate the boatyard, put up a 4-story hotel in its place, and set up a “beer garden” facing the Bay.

        3.1 The Vanishing Marine Center

        In its first approach, the draft is vague about the Marine Center. On p. 72, it speaks of “redevelopment of the existing Marine Center with a new Marine Center.” But 70 pages later, in the graphic on p. 141, the boatyard is off the map. In its place, in a graphic on p. 145, sits a new “North Bayfront Hotel,” 3-4 stories tall. Still later, on p. 147, another map shows a “Reduced Marine Center” that’s only slightly bigger than the restroom building near the B docks. On page 198, the new Marine Center is reduced by more than half of its building space and shows no yard space or boat storage space at all. The authors do not ask whether a boatyard is economically feasible at this reduced scale. There is no evidence that anyone consulted the boatyard owners and operators how they felt about their proposed shrinkage. No soundings were made about the number of skilled boat repair jobs lost. No investigation was made of the importance of the boatyard to the Marina’s berth holders and to boaters from around the Bay. As one of the other consulting firms found, the boatyard is one of the key features that makes the Berkeley Marina a favored boating destination (p. 80). The draft is not interested in these issues. Its priority is to put up a big hotel.

        3.2 A Half-Car Hotel

        On page 145, the consultants describe the proposed “North Bayfront Hotel” as having parking for 0.5 cars per room. That is, there is parking for half a car for each room, or for half the rooms to have guests with a car and half the rooms having guests with no car. Presumably the guests without cars will rely on services such as Uber or Lyft to arrive, to sightsee, to take restaurant meals, to run errands, and to depart again. The draft does not explain how the pricing of the rooms will be adjusted to reflect these extra costs that do not occur with competing hotel operations. The draft would be more persuasive if a lodging expert were to explain the economics of a half-car hotel.

        3.3 Beer v. Bay as Destination

        On Pages 72-74, the draft introduces the proposal for a beer bar on an outdoor patio on the north side, next to the parking circle, across Spinnaker Way from Chavez Park. It has not occurred to these planners to ask why an outdoor cafe or restaurant does not already exist in this area. It would be an easy matter for the Marine Center to set it up in part of its yard. But boat people know why this would not work. The reason is the prevailing wind. There are some nice days, but there are many more days when this area is raked by a chill Pacific Ocean gale that punishes outdoor seating.

        By way of an object lesson, the recent Roaming Bean coffee tent that was set up in this area in July 2023 lasted just eleven weeks before the wind forced it to withdraw to the south side of the Marina. That was in the height of the summer park visiting season, with a clientele that mostly walked away with a coffee cup in hand. A sit-down place would have folded in less than a month.

        The purpose of the proposed outdoor drinking place is so that “visitors will stay longer because of expanded amenities.” P. 72. On p. 140, the outdoor tavern gets promoted to a “new visitor destination where there currently is none.” Yet, even though there is allegedly no destination here, the parking circle at the proposed drinking site is usually full and on weekends is filled to overflowing, as Figure 2-66 on page 175 correctly indicates. Locating a retail business here would take away parking slots that park visitors currently rely on. The photo in the center of page 11 of the draft (right) shows a typical weekend crowd at this spot. No beer was needed to bring them here. The Bay alone is the prime destination, offering spectacular views of the City of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais, and other attractions.

        The draft says that the beer garden “would attract visitors to the Waterfront to stop and stay, who may otherwise just be passing through.” P.140. The draft authors seem unaware that Spinnaker Way is a dead end street. “Passing through” is not a big issue here. What is a real issue is that tavern visitors, after their stay, would be taking the wheel of their cars on Spinnaker Way. The tavern proposal invites a higher incidence of driving under the influence in an area with a 10 mph speed limit and with numerous families and dogs using and crossing the narrow roadway. If nothing else, considerations of public safety speak against the outdoor tavern proposal in this location.

        3 thoughts on “Third Draft of Waterfront Specific Plan

        • I was pleased that mention of the foxtail and its danger to dogs finally got mentioned. I’ve had dogs and I know the difficulty of removing foxtails from paws and even more dangerous inside ears, eyes, and noses. Although I no longer have a dog, I’ve experienced the danger of these episodes and the cost of veternarian services, sometimes necessary to save a dog’s life. Dog walkers are a significant segment of visitors, and the off-leash area should be enforced.
          One can walk the perimeter trail of Chavez Park in less than half an hour, and yes, there are places where the surface is deteriorating and places clearly difficult for wheelchairs, but a MILLION BUCKS to repair the trail! Gold-plated flush toilets? The formerly-named fishing pier would require significant money to make safe, but here too, I am shocked at the estimates of cost to make the necessary changes. And what’s up with His Lordships, the vacant restaurant at the end of the street when one turns south at the end of Spinnaker.

        • This is a fabulous analysis of the proposals put forth by the Hargreave Jones firm. The City of Berkeley should thank Hargeave Jones for their sub-par efforts … dismiss them immediately.

          The key point, to my mind, of this most-excellent critique is that the Marina Fund concept needs to be retired immediately and that the waterfront needs to be integrated into the City of Berkeley’s overall planning and budgeting process. The sooner this is done, the sooner better.

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