James Kenney (Photo © Billy Hustace)_04.JPG
Vision2050 City of Berkeley logo

PLANNING FOR A SUSTAINABLE

& RESILIENT FUTURE

James Kenney (Photo (c) Billy Hustace)

We have a complex network of pipes, streets, utility wires, bike­ways, and transportation systems across our city. Berkeley’s critical infrastructure services are the lifeblood of our daily lives, economy and public health. Yet, the delivery of these essential services depends on infrastructure systems that are old, and have suffered from historic disinvestment, neglect and poor maintenance. In Berkeley we lean into what makes us great — our values, diversity and brilliant residents. As our infrastructure ages, we need a plan to make sure our streets, sidewalks, sewer systems and buildings are resilient enough to handle a growing population and climate change, including sea-level rise, more flooding and wildfires.

— Mayor Jesse Arreguín

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BERKLELEY’S AGING INFRASTRUCTURE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING CHALLENGES

Most of Berkeley’s streets, sidewalks, sewers, parks, playgrounds and public buildings were built over 75 years ago and need repair. However, local revenues have not kept pace with the need for investments to update aging infrastructure or promote sustainability. This underinvestment has led to an estimated $1+ billion in deferred maintenance, as detailed in the chart below. At the same time, the accelerating impacts of climate change and growing need for affordable housing for our low income and homeless residents create new challenges for the safety and sustainability of our community.

University Ave (Photo © Billy Hustace)_07 (1).JPG

University Ave (Photo (c) Billy Hustace)

CITYWIDE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

streets and roads

Streets and Roads

$248,043,600

sidewalks

Sidewalks

$10,628,400

storm water

Storm Water

$249,410,400

traffic signals and parking

Traffic Signals and Parking

$14,727,576

sewers

Sewers

$175,261,925

public buildings

Public Buildings

$287,130,000

parks, park buildings, pools, waterfront, and camps

Parks, Park Buildings, Pools, Waterfront, and Camps

$219,594,780

The City’s infrastructure needs are being updated. This calculation does not include known needs, including implementation of our Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans, Undergrounding Study or historic Civic Center buildings, among other needs.

BUILDING ON OUR PAST INVESTMENTS

Recent voter-approved investments, including Measure M in 2012 and Measure T1 in 2016, provided approximately $130 million to begin the first phase of capital improvements to Berkeley’s aging infrastructure.

 

T1 Phase 1 projects made many community buildings seismically safe and accessible, repaved some of the most neglected streets in the city, built green infrastructure, replaced outdated and non-compliant play structures, increased the City’s resilience by reducing water consumption, brought new life to an aging Rose Garden, provided nine renovated courts and cleaned out the tide tubes in Aquatic Park for greatly improved water quality in the lagoon.

 
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Nevertheless, this size and scale of our infrastructure needs shows the challenge ahead despite the proactive steps taken to address these issues over the last decade. The City has identified over $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs. However, this figure does not include the significant need for affordable housing, new or improved infrastructure including for bike and pedestrian safety, reducing our environmental footprint, adapting to climate change and the risk of increased flooding and wildfire, and improvements to make the City’s infrastructure and public spaces more sustainable and resilient.

 

For more information on these projects and the City’s unfunded infrastructure needs, please visit www.cityofberkeley.info/MeasureT1.

Berkeley voters approved Measure O in 2018, an affordable housing bond that has already put 284 affordable housing units under construction, 227 more units in predevelopment, and is helping to ensure more affordable housing at the proposed Ashby and North Berkeley BART station developments.

Berkeley Way under construction

Berkeley Way
under construction

During the public process discussion of Vision 2050, many residents have asked about the spending of Measure O Bond revenue. This $135M General Obligation Bond is for the construction and preservation of affordable housing and acquisition of land and buildings. This measure created an independent citizen commission to provide oversight and funding recommendations to the City Council. The Measure O Oversight Committee is engaged in developing priorities, evaluation criteria and reviews the housing projects applying for Measure O bond funding. To view a spreadsheet of current and upcoming allocations of Measure O funds, Click Here.

VISION 2050: A ROADMAP TO SUSTAINABILITY

Vision 2050 is a long-term plan to build, upgrade and repair Berkeley’s aging infrastructure to be more sustainable and resilient in order to meet the serious challenges of the future, including climate change. Driven by a set of core values: equity, public health and safety, a strong local economy, resiliency and sustainability, the City intends to transition the Vision 2050 framework into reality. In order to do this, additional funding and community input is needed.

 
equity

EQUITY

The benefits of improved infrastructure must be distributed equitably throughout the entire community. Equity should mean that disadvantaged community members with more pressing needs experience benefits sooner than others and receive benefits particularly tailored to their unique needs.

strong local economy

STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY

A strong local economy provides resources to Berkeley residents and creates an opportunity to build local skills and employment opportunities that support the city’s diverse community.

public health and safety

PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

This core value considers safe and convenient access to greenspaces, public services, clean air, and social support networks, all of which can have a big impact on people’s emotional and physical health.

resiliency and sustainability

RESILIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY

Resilience requires systems and structures that are able to recover quickly from temporary and, sometimes, catastrophic events. Sustainability refers to the ability to minimize our impacts on the environment while still providing core services.

After the Vision 2050 Framework was adopted by City Council in September 2020, the City Manager formed an Implementation Team with members from several departments in the City, the Mayor’s office, and Berkeley residents with specialized expertise. In the first year, nine of fourteen work tasks were either initiated or completed, including: a) developing a life cycle maintenance program, b) gathering community input, c) evaluating funding options, d) preparing a Program Plan, and e) evaluating our organizational structure to deliver a much larger capital program.

 

In addition, the City’s adopted FY 2022 capital improvement program, as shown in March to 2050: Vision to Reality, A CIP In Brief, demonstrated how the City’s capital planning, Vision 2050 framework, and project delivery were aligning. Along the way, input has been gained from 7 commission presentations, 500 residents in a scientific survey, more than 1,000 online survey respondents, and 20+ stakeholder and neighborhood meetings.

COMMUNITY DRIVEN SOLUTIONS

The development of the Vision 2050 Framework was a resident led effort, and the community remains at the center of implementing Vision 2050. Translating this vision into implementation has involved a scientific survey of a representative sample of 500 Berkeley voters and listening to more than 25 local organizations across the community. Additionally, the City received over 1000 responses from an online public survey covering infrastructure, affordable housing and potential funding mechanisms that was open October 2021 through January 12, 2022. This feedback, along with the Vision 2050 Framework, is being used to develop a program plan that reflects community priorities and underscores local needs.

 

From the last week of March through late April, the City held four virtual large area public meetings for Berkeley community members to share additional feedback on their priorities for addressing our most pressing infrastructure and affordable housing needs. Meetings were organized by Council District and included a staff presentation, some time for general comments and a Q & A session. 

Council Districts 5 & 6

When:
March 30 from 7-9pm

Where:
Link to Virtual Meeting
Council Districts 3 & 4

When:
April 13 from 7-9pm

Where:
Link to Virtual Meeting
Council Districts 7 & 8

When:
April 6 from 7-9pm

Where:
Link to Virtual Meeting
Council Districts 1 & 2

When:
April 20 from 7-9pm

Where:
Link to Virtual Meeting

Thank you to all the community members who were able to attend. We have received lots of thoughtful feedback that will serve to inform this process going forward. Click Here to view a detailed report of feedback received over the course of these virtual meetings. This is an ongoing process and even if you were not able to attend, you can still provide feedback on your priorities for the City by emailing us at Vision2050@CityofBerkeley.info.

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED

To address the next phase of local infrastructure, housing and sustainability needs, the City of Berkeley is considering placing a measure, or multiple measures, on the November 2022 ballot. While additional input is needed before the City Council makes any decision, a preliminary list of community priorities includes:

 
Increasing affordable housing for low-income and homeless residents

Increasing affordable housing for low-income and homeless residents

Improving climate change resiliency, including protecting against sea level rise, wildfires and drought

Improving climate change resiliency, including protecting against sea level rise, wildfires and drought

Repairing deteriorating streets

Repairing deteriorating streets

Improving traffic safety, including for bikes and pedestrians

Improving traffic safety, including for bikes and pedestrians

Repairing sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety and access for those with disabilities

Repairing sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety and access for those with disabilities

Upgrading storm drains, green infrastructure and watersheds to keep pollution from the Bay

Upgrading storm drains, green infrastructure and watersheds to keep pollution from the Bay

While a 2022 revenue measure(s) would address our most pressing infrastructure and affordable housing needs, as identified through community outreach, this ongoing evaluation process will also help inform future efforts in implementing Vision 2050. The feedback we gather will highlight our long-term community priorities and possible funding methods to fully implement the Vision 2050 framework.

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback, please email us at Vision2050@CityofBerkeley.info.

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