Much of Berkeley’s infrastructure – streets, sewers, sidewalks, storm drains, parks and public buildings – were built more than 70 years ago and are approaching the end of their lifespan. Aging infrastructure is costly to operate and maintain, and the backlog of deferred maintenance coupled with record high construction costs only add to the challenge of keeping up with repair needs.
At the same time, we are faced with the potential for a major earthquake at any time, rapidly changing technologies, and exponentially worsening climate change predictions. Berkeley and the Bay Area are already experiencing unprecedented wildfires, and the threat of extreme weather conditions and sea level rise will only increase over time.
Simply restoring existing infrastructure as-is in perpetuity will not prepare our city for the many changes to come. That is why we need infrastructure that is resilient, adaptable and includes emerging technologies and materials. And we need to start planning now.
Our community must be protected from climate induced flooding, inundated roadways, erosion, unsafe buildings and fires. Technologies are also advancing, such as micro-grids, self-driving vehicles and permeable pavements that Berkeley can utilize. The city’s infrastructure should withstand and recover from climatic, fire and seismic events, incorporate the latest technologies, and be environmentally and financially sustainable.
Measure R directs the Mayor to lead a community process to develop Vision 2050, a 30-year infrastructure plan, with the goal of creating climate-smart, technologically-advanced, integrated and efficient infrastructure that prepares our city for the future.