North Berkeley Puts AB2923 into Practice
The first test case for what is possible under AB2923 is happening at the North Berkeley BART Station.
Signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown late last year, AB2923 makes it easier to turn the sprawling acres of parking lots across BART’s 48 stations into compact, transit-friendly communities. Greenbelt Alliance endorsed this bill because putting housing next to BART stations will foster greater transit ridership, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ease development pressure on our natural and agricultural lands.
Given the North Berkeley station’s proximity to job centers and walkability, BART is now able to construct at least 300 units of housing on its four-acre parking lot under BART’s transit-oriented development guidelines.
BART is working with the Berkeley City Council to plan the project, and Berkeley residents have been organizing to show their support for dense, affordable housing at the station. The construction of homes at the BART Station is not a foregone conclusion—though it is allowed by AB2923, it will take the support of the community to ensure this parking lot transforms to its full residential potential. Greenbelt Alliance is working with the Sierra Club to support the work of these community members to ensure that all 300 units of housing are constructed, that they are affordable to Berkeley residents across the income spectrum, and that the project is designed to create a more walkable, bikeable neighborhood.
As a resident of the area immediately around the North Berkeley BART Station, I am excited to work with my neighbors to ensure this public resource is turned into a public asset—housing for all, with excellent bike facilities.
On May 9, the Berkeley City Council will hold a public meeting to review land use scenarios for the station and will consider moving forward with a memorandum of understanding with BART. I hope you will join me on May 9 at Longfellow Middle School to tell our City Councilmembers that we are supportive of housing at the North Berkeley BART Station. You can also write a letter to your City Councilmember.
Photo: Hitchster via Flickr