Orchard Proposal for SFRW Moves Forward
Groups working on Flatland Paths Background Information on the Santa Fe Right of Way Ohlone Greenway Commons Student Analysis of Existing Conditions Student Concept Proposals
Neighbors Moving Forward to Create Community Orchard - June 2003
South Berkeley Santa Fe Right of Way neighbors are working hard to develop and refine their proposal and get approval for a community orchard on two blocks of the Santa Fe Right of Way from Ward to Carleton. We support this propose wholeheartedly. Find out more from this 4/20/03 Community Orchard Progress Report.
UC Students Do Analysis and Create Concept Plans for SFRW - May '03
Students in Stephen Wheeler's UC Berkeley City Planning course this spring did a a survey of the neighbors of the Santa Fe Right of Way, an analysis of existing conditions, and created proposals for its re-use. Under "survey key points", the report says "people felt their neighborhood either needed more parks or a greenway, or no development at all...community gardens, playgrounds, greenways, and quiet/relaxing parks were the most desired park types.
Bike/Ped Path Moving Forward - Update from Dec. 2002
In April 2002 the Berkeley City Council voted to fund a pedestrian/bike pathway on the Santa Fe Right of Way (SFRW) from Strawberry Creek Park to Delaware St. City staff is also looking for funds to complete the pathway to Lincoln Street and the Ohlone Greenway. This will include full landscaping and a pedestrian-activated crossing at University Ave. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, including many park and bike activists, city staff, Berkeley Montesorri School (which is allowing the SFRW trail to go through their property, the old Santa Fe Bar and Grill sight), and the Berkeley City Council.
The planning process will be run by an outside consultant, starting in six months to a year from now. The consultant's charge will be to plan a pedestrian/bike greenway. Neighborhood and park activists who have compatible open space goals for the Santa Fe Right of Way adjacent to the pathway should start planning and coalescing now.
At the same time, plans are coming forth for green use of the southern parts of the Santa Fe Right of Way. BOSS Urban Gardens Institute has city council approval for a nonprofit organic nursery, food production garden, and outdoor classroom on the two southern-most blocks of the SFRW at Sacramento and Oregon. The focus is on job training/horticultural therapy for individuals in transition from homelessness. There will also be some neighborhood vegetable beds. The project is fully-funded through private grants and only requires zoning approval before it becomes a reality.
SFRW neighbors are proposing a community orchard on two blocks of the ROW from Carleton to Ward. This proposal is in its beginning stage and is neither funded nor approved. Another idea that has come up but is not currently being pursued for the southern blocks of the ROW is an off-leash dog area. To keep informed of SFRW developments, get on our email list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and even better, join BPFP.
UPDATE FROM April 2002 - The City Council voted to fund a pedestrian/bike pathway on the SFRW from Strawberry Creek Park to Delaware St. This will include full landscaping and a pedestrian-activated crossing at University Ave. Watch this space for a schedule of the public planning process that will take place.
UPDATE FROM 3/19/02 - Council Member Maio withdraws her amendment to build housing on the SFRW in the face of overwhelming opposition. Thanks for all the calls and letters to defend open space on the Santa Fe Right of Way.
COUNCIL MEMBER MAIO INTRODUCES AMENDMENT ENCOURAGING HOUSING FOR SFRW - YOUR RESPONSE NEEDED
EVEN IF YOU CAN ATTEND ONLY ONE PARKS-RELATED MEETING THIS YEAR -- COME TO CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 6:55PM, 2134 MLK JR. WAY TO SPEAK AT OPEN MIKE OR JUST TO SUPPORT PARKS & OPEN SPACE ON THE SFRW
WRITE AN EMAIL TO MAYOR AND COUNCIL - email@example.com, email a particular council member using [lastname]@ci.berkeley.ca.us
CALL LINDA MAIO 981-7110, Margaret Breland 981-7120, Maudelle Shirek 981-7130, Dona Spring 981-7140, Mim Hawley 981-7150, Kriss Worthington 981-7170 (Mayor Dean and Council Members Olds & Armstrong are very unlikely to support this amendment)
Council Member Maio has-reintroduced an amendment to the General Plan Open Space Policy OS-6 at the 11th hour (on March 12) without notifying BPFP. Don't let her slip this one by. It will likely be voted on by Council this Tuesday, March 19.
The proposal sounds mild and reasonable, but it:
Would allow dense public housing on the SFRW, a precious green corridor better used for a pedestrian/bicycle greenway and public open space uses. Council Member Maio has a vision of an asphalt pathway skirting between housing, but given that the SFRW is only '30-'40 wide where a pathway is proposed, this seems highly improbable, and even if realizable, will be more like a public sidewalk adjacent to a 40' wall then a greenway.
Encourages the City to build housing on the SFRW, thus violating the 1986 voter-approved "Measure L", which prohibits "de facto open space" from being used for any other purpose. Full text at http://www.bpfp.org/parkdocuments/measurel.htm
Will complicate any efforts for green space on the SFRW, as a simple Parks & Recreation Commission process to dedicate land for open space use will not be possible, and instead a full-blown Planning Commission process to determine land uses along each segment of the SFRW would be necessary. This process might take years or decades, or might never be attempted (i.e. decades more of stalemate). This amendment could torpedo our very real chances of grant funding for a greenway along the SFRW.
In any planning process, clear priorities need to be established. The Planning Commission version of OS-6 establishes open space as the first priority use for the SFRW, and affordable housing as the second priority. Housing would only be built if a SFRW parcel clearly has no open space value.
Here is Council Member Maio's rewording of OS-6:
"...The community planning process shall consider public open space (i.e. neighborhood parks, community gardens, and/or bicycle and pedestrian paths) as the predominant use, while enabling some parcels to be used for housing for public service employees (teachers, librarians, public safety officers) that is compatible with the zoning and surrounding neighborhood and incorporates appropriate pathways."
Here is the desired, Planning Commission version of OS-6:
"...The community planning process shall consider public open space (i.e. neighborhood parks, community gardens, and/or bicycle and pedestrian paths) as the highest priority use for the remaining vacant land and new affordable housing development as the next highest priority use."
I hope to see you Tuesday, March 19.
President, Berkeley Partners for Parks
12/17/01 Letter to City Council from 11 Groups Requesting Funding for SFRW Trail
9/6/01 BPFP Letter to City Council Requesting Funding of SFRW Trail
Some good luck and changed circumstances have made the possibility of a pedestrian/bicycle greenway along the Santa Fe Right of Way from Strawberry Creek Park to the Ohlone Greenway a much stronger possibility. Berkeley Montesorri School has purchased the properly currently leased by the Santa Fe Bar and Grill. BPFP received a letter from Berkeley Montessori expressing interest in creating a right-of-way through their property connecting their school to the Santa Fe Right of Way.
At the same time, the City of Berkeley has received a one million dollar HIP grant to fund pedestrian-related improvements as they see fit. Spending this money to fund a Santa Fe greenway would create a well used bicycle/pedestrian trail, as well as opening up a greenway of open space. The entire greenway would be planned as part of a Parks & Recreation Commission process that neighbors and interested parties could participate in.
A well-designed and adequately funded right-of-way would create a south to north-west Berkeley pedestrian trial that also links to central Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond via the Ohlone Greenway. It would become a treasured resource for the entire City.
Crosswalks, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal across University Ave., curb cuts, and paved trails would be needed. The full million dollar HIP grant is needed to fund these improvements. If the City chooses not to fund a Santa Fe greenway at this time, it is possible that Berkeley Montesorri might conclude the City is not serious about a pedestrian/bicycle trail and not include a right-of-way through their property in their school plans.
You can help by writing a letter in support of funding a greenway along the Santa Fe Right of Way. Keep in mind that even if a pedestrian trail is not your first priority for the right-of-way, such a trail will effectively create public space that can also be put to other uses, such as community gardens, public art, etc. Email to "Mayor and Council" at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mayor & Council, 2180 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704. This becomes part of the public record and goes to all council members. In addition, it is very helpful if you can call the Mayor and your council member, and email your individual council member
Phone numbers and emails are listed below.
|Mayor Shirley Deanemail@example.com|
September 6, 2001
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Ted Gartner, President, Berkeley Partners for Parks
Telephone: (510) 548-9235
Subject: Santa Fe Right of Way (SFRW) and HIP Grant Allocation
Berkeley Partners for Parks is aware that the City has a one million dollar HIP grant to fund pedestrian-related improvements. We strongly urge Council to use this grant to create a pedestrian and bicycle right-of-way from Strawberry Creek Park, along the Santa Fe Right of Way, and linking up with the Ohlone Greenway.
Berkeley Montessori School is purchasing the properly currently leased by the Santa Fe Bar and Grill. We received a letter from Berkeley Montessori (see attached) expressing interest in creating a right-of-way through their property connecting their school to the Santa Fe Right of Way. They have an interest in reducing auto trips by encouraging bicycling and walking. Berkeley Montessori points out that a “mid-block pedestrian crossing [across University Ave.] to link with a bicycle-pedestrian trail has many advantages for BMS, especially if a traffic signal were installed."
Additionally, we have begun conversations with Berkeley Way neighbors, and the feedback has been that a SFRW pedestrian trail could be an asset if it is well utilized.
The willingness of neighbors and the generous offer by Berkeley Montessori to consider a public trail through their property creates an opportune time for the City to act on this long sought dream of a pedestrian right-of-way along the old Santa Fe tracks. This idea has been discussed for twenty years, and a pedestrian right-of-way from Strawberry Creek to the Ohlone Greenway is in the University Ave. Plan. It is time to act.
The entire grant amount is needed to create a safe, well-used right-of-way. Crosswalks, a traffic signal, curb cuts, and paved trails are needed. Linking to the Ohlone Greenway and creating a pedestrian crossing across University Ave. will greatly increase the functionality, use, and security of a new pedestrian right-of-way. A well-designed and adequately funded right-of-way will create a south to north-west Berkeley pedestrian trial that also links to central Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond via the Ohlone Greenway. It is sure to become a treasured resource for the entire City and a major accomplishment for the Mayor and City Council.
President, Berkeley Partners for Parks
Cc: Weldon Rucker, City Manager
Lisa Caronna, Director, Parks, Recreation and Waterfront
Carol Thorton, Chair, Parks and Recreation Commission
3-14-00 City Council Moves Toward a Public Planning Process for the Santa Fe Right of Way
Dwight to Channing block of the Santa Fe Right of Way, the sale of which has recently been completed to neighbors. Hopefully, the City Council's action to pursue a public planning process for the right-of-way signals an end to give-aways of scarce open space in Berkeley.
On 3/14/00 the City Council moved towards a public planning process for the Santa Fe Right of Way. The process will most likely involve neighbors, BPFP, housing groups, and interested citizens. It will likely be organized by council members, not the Planning Commission. We need open space advocates to participate. Please watch this space or call 649-9874 for updated information. Here is the complete text of the 3/14/00 resolution:
Santa Fe Right-of-Way Planning Process
From: Councilmembers Maio and Breland
Recommendation: Direct the City Manager to initiate a planning process for the Santa Fe Right-of-Way for the express purpose of utilizing the land for biking or walking paths; open space; workforce housing; and community gardens.
Contact: Linda Maio, Councilmember District 1, 644-6359 and Margaret Breland, Councilmember District 2, 644-6400
Action: Moved, seconded, carried (Maio/Armstrong; Abstain - Olds) to approve recommendation.
The Santa Fe Right of Way (SFRW) is a City-owned, 3.2 mile long former railroad right-of-way. This land begins at Sacramento and Oregon Streets and connects to the existing Ohlone Greenway (and future Bay trail) at Cedar Rose Park. This strip of land could be an invaluable public greenway for a variety of open space uses.
The City of Berkeley acquired the Santa Fe Right of Way at no cost in 1979 from the Santa Fe Railroad Co. Previous city managers and planning directors have called for a comprehensive planning process for the SFRW, but one was never done. Today, the majority of the SFRW remains as it was in 1979 - empty, abandoned lots, some of them surrounded by five feet hurricane fencing.
The Santa Fe Right of Way in Albany and El Cerrito is the Ohlone Greenway. In Richmond, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has just approved a large grant to design the continuation of the greenway along the Santa Fe Right of Way. Some envision the SFRW in Berkeley as part of a larger greenway network from Downtown Oakland to Richmond, and from the Bay to the Hills. Federal transportation funds are available to fund the planning and development of such a network. What we need is the vision and political direction from the citizens of Berkeley.
Berkeley Partners for Parks wrote a letter on August 23 to the City Council asking the Council for an immediate cessation of any plans endangering future open space use of the SFRW and calling for a public, city-wide process to plan use of the SFRW. In response to our letter, the City Council directed staff to report back on the issue. Please see the October 12 City Manager report and BPFP's response. The City Council has now acted to initiate a public planning process for the SFRW. We need advocates of open space to participate.
At a future date we will have a walking tour of the Santa Fe Right of Way. Please contact us so we can let you know about the walking tour and provide you with the latest information. Contact BPFP President Zasa Swanson at 510-649-9874, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and see our website at http://www.bpfp.org
Text of SFRW City Council Action
( for the passed resolution, see the last paragraph under Action: )
30. Santa Fe Right-of-Way (removed from
Consent by Councilmember Breland and held over from December 7th meeting)
From: Councilmember Maio
Recommendation: Direct the City Manager to discontinue any further activity with reference to the selling or disposal of property along the Santa Fe Right-of-Way (SFROW) until an assessment and inventory of the remaining open sections of the SFROW have been completed and this project can be considered in the context of a larger planning process.
Contact: Linda Maio, Councilmember District 1, 644-6359
a. Parks and Recreation Commission Report
Recommendation: Initiate a public, city-wide process to plan use of the Santa Fe Right-of-Way and direct staff to immediately cease any activity that may endanger future public open space use of the Santa Fe Right-of-Way; and rescind previous direction to staff and halt all pending and future sales of pieces of the Santa Fe Right-of-Way, including the parcel from Channing to Dwight Way and that whenever possible, develop the Santa Fe Right-of-Way to enhance the cities network of pathways, pedestrian trails and existing open space.
Contact: Jay Kelekian, Secretary, 644-6970
b. City Manager Report
Recommendation: On October 12, 1999, the City Manager indicated that an inventory of properties, including an extensive title search, needed to be completed before a decision on future uses of the property can be made. The City Manager also suggested that this project be considered in the context of a larger planning process. These recommendations will cost approximately $50,000, as well as staff time to manage the project. This project is not in the current work program and the investment of time and money should be weighed against other competing projects. The City Manager recommends this evaluation be done as part of the mid-year budget review in February or March.
Contact: Lisa Caronna, Parks and Waterfront, 644-6943
Action: Moved, seconded, carried (Breland/Maio; Absent - Olds, Dean) to 1) discontinue selling off the right-of-way except at Council direction; 2) allow all sales agreements in escrow to go forward; and 3) direct staff to propose to the budget process a land survey for the right-of-way and report on the feasibility to square off the following five properties - 1350-52 Blake Street, 1345 Blake Street, 1339 Blake Street, 2508 Acton Street and 2510 Acton Street; with a report back to Council in February.
Santa Fe Right of Way, Ohlone Greenway Background Information
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