Berkeley Downtown Public Improvements

In 1991, a comprehensive Downtown Public Improvements design process was funded by the City of Berkeley, and coordinated by the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) Design Committee, chaired by John N. Roberts. The Public Improvements Program planning was done concurrently with the development of Design Guidelines for downtown. The plan, prepared by Lyndon/Buchanan Associates and developed with extensive community input, envisioned transforming the existing open space network into a well lit, handsomely composed, clean, safe, and actively used pedestrian environment to complement the collection of historically significant structures. Completed work based upon the plan overseen by Mr. Roberts and DBA included new trees, pedestrian lights, and widened sidewalks along Center and Addison Streets; improved crosswalks; and information kiosks and other renovations to the BART Plazas.

A subsequent voter-approved bond measure allocated $2.3 million for additional public improvements as envisioned in the earlier Public Improvements Program. Completed in 2001, Measure S improvements designed by John N. Roberts and Freedman Tung and Bottomley focused on improvements within the downtown core along Shattuck Ave, University Ave., and Addison Street. A rare consensus on the plans was developed with a Council-appointed 36-member citizen committee, following several public meetings. The completed project included new sidewalk and parking median trees, new pedestrian lights, special historic light fixtures at key intersections, renovations to the Library plaza, new sidewalk furnishings, and four public art installations. The art installations include two large modern sculptures along Shattuck Ave., twelve pieces of sidewalk/paving art and 122 poetry panels along Addison Street, and a pair of sculpted doors at the Central Library. The improvements (approximately one-quarter of that envisioned in the original Public Improvements Program) have enlivened the public spaces and have played an important role in the revitalization of the downtown.

Urban Design Award, Berkeley Design Advocates, 1999

Design Achievement Award, Downtown Berkeley Association, 1994

Berkeley, CA

Client: City of Berkeley

$1.75 Million

Public Improvements