Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin

Berkeley: Vote NO on Measure R

Berkeley has an award-winning Downtown Plan that creates opportunities for vibrant streets with new homes and shops right by the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Measure R would undo much of that plan, making the city more expensive, more car-dependent, and more polluted as a result.

Stand up for a vibrant and green downtown Berkeley and vote no on Measure R.

If approved, Measure R would stifle the revitalization of downtown Berkeley and make finding an affordable place to live in a walkable neighborhood further out of reach for Bay Area residents. The measure includes 28 pages of new requirements that will roll back progress toward a greener, thriving downtown. For example, the measure would force new developments to dedicate more space to parking and deny millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations that build homes for seniors and low-income residents.

These rules would invalidate many of the core components of the sustainable Downtown Plan that 64% of Berkeley voters supported just four years ago. Greenbelt Alliance was proud to endorse that plan and we’re extremely disappointed to see years of thorough, community-driven consensus-building put at risk by this misguided and flawed ballot measure.

On November 4, join us in saying no to Berkeley’s Measure R.

Measure R is opposed by a broad coalition of environmentalists, seniors, students, small-business owners, housing advocates, labor organizations, artists, and educators. Two-thirds of the Berkeley City Council opposes the measure, as do Berkeley’s two representatives in Sacramento. Join the campaign at

Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin


5 Comments on “Berkeley: Vote NO on Measure R

  1. As a former Vice President of the Ecology Center’s Board of Directors, Sierra Club Member-elected rep to the Northern Alameda County Executive Committee, and appointed commissioner to Berkeley’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission in 2001, I feel the need to explain why I support a YES vote for Measure R on the Berkeley local ballot.

    My husband and I chose to move to our Berkeley home 27 years ago primarily because it is within walking distance of the Berkeley Downtown. We envisioned and have been able to live a sustainable lifestyle independent of automobile usage. As a car-free household we choose to walk, bicycle, and use public transit to conduct personal and professional business. But because of the pro-development trend in Berkeley planning, we are gradually losing that dream.

    The No on R campaign funders and advocates realize that Berkeley residents want a sustainable car-free livable downtown, and they use misleading rhetoric to green-wash and sell their corporate, developer-friendly version of a green corridor.

    I encourage true environmentalists to vote YES for Measure R.

    Four years ago voters were fooled by the misleading 2010 Measure R language. Since its passage we have seen blocks of our historic downtown bought by out of state developers. Because of the previous passage of the 2010 Measure R, government has weakened building regulations in the guise of encouraging “green” development. Locally owned small businesses have been forced to vacate as we watch our beloved buildings of character be bulldozed for high rise construction of micro-unit buildings too small for families to inhabit.

    So I ask, who are the No on R supporters serving? Not families hoping to also live a car-free lifestyle. Not the masses of new residents who will continue to drive because the downtown lacks affordable amenities and services lost to expensive rents in new construction. Perhaps financial institutions and telecommunication firms and fast food services will thrive. But one by one we are losing local businesses that served the basic needs of the downtown and peripheral neighborhoods. No longer can I walk to shoe stores, locally owned stationers, record stores, clothing stores, or independent movie theaters that contributed to the vibrancy and livability of our downtown.

    For the first time in 27 years, I foresee a future in which our family will have to rejoin the ranks of automobile drivers or rely on less than convenient transit lines to services we are losing to big-developers and their corporate tenants.

    For a truly green, livable, vibrant Berkeley, Vote YES on Measure R. This time we got it right!
    Pamela Webster

  2. Thanks for providing this perspective Pamela.

    Greenbelt Alliance is strongly opposed to Measure R because if it passes, it will prevent many of the things we all collectively want for downtown Berkeley — a place where people can walk and bike, streets with shops and green space, plentiful transportation options, and homes that are affordable.

    Measure R devotes more of downtown to cars and parking, making it harder for people to live a car-free lifestyle. That means more air pollution and traffic, worsening the area’s quality of life.

    Measure R also makes it significantly harder to provide new affordable homes downtown, leading to ever-lengthening commutes for those who work and shop in the downtown.

    Measure R hurts the local-serving shops and services we all love, denying them the customer base of new nearby residents. That’s one of the reasons so many local merchants are opposed to Measure R.

    By stifling the revitalization of downtown, Measure R also drives development to the edge of our region, leading to more sprawl on our precious natural and agricultural lands.

    This November, please support a greener, more vibrant downtown by saying No to Measure R.

  3. Ms. Webster seems to be voting for Measure R for the same reasons Mr. Vander Sluis says we should all vote against it.

    Does Mr. Vander Sluis live in Berkeley?

    It would be more helpful if the Greenbelt Alliance would explain how the Measure devotes itself to more cars, provides less affordable housing and hurts local shops and services, rather than just stating that it will.

  4. Pingback: Voters strongly support smart growth measures on Election Day 2014 | Smart Growth America

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