General Plan: Berkeley California
A general plan is a broad range of guidelines and policies that are developed by a city or a state to enable it to achieve its desired development goals. Usually, cities and states use the general plan to formulate guidelines on land development, to ensure that this resource is usable both in long term and short term. Berkeley City, California, regularly incorporates the views of the public in the development of its general plan. Accordingly, this document always reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Berkeley and forms the basis for the goals, zoning activities, and use of each land parcel.
The general plan plays many essential roles in a City’s management. In Berkeley, the plan enables the City to prepare for both natural and manmade disaster. Most cities usually have many hazards within or around them. In the City of Berkeley, there is always a risk of possible earthquakes on the Hayward Fault and even possible fires from the surrounding hills (“City of Berkeley General Plan”). In this regard, the general plan is necessary for ensuring that Berkley’s residents live in a safe and healthy neighborhood.
The general plan is also essential in traffic management. Unregulated traffic usually leads to spillover onto local residential streets and congestion on major roads. These congestions progressively erode the livability of certain parts of the city. This plan also establishes the land development plans in a town through zoning and development of houses (“City of Berkeley General Plan”). Additionally, the plan ensures that a city has an adequate supply of decent houses and essential services and products. Through the creation of wage management techniques, the general plan protects a City’s environmental quality (“Transportation Element”). Finally, a general plan establishes policies that are necessary for maintaining a city’s infrastructure and facilities.
Transport Element: Berkeley City
The transport element for Berkeley City aims at establishing a safe, clean, and efficient transport system. To achieve this objective, the City seeks to encourage more people to walk or use bicycles for their transport, public transport systems, or pulled car transports. For a clean environment, the City aims at ensuring people use hybrid vehicles, which are usually fuel efficient (“Transportation Element”). Finally, the City intends to make better footpaths, bicycle lanes, roads, parking lots, and signaling systems than it currently has to improve the safety of all road users. Overall, the issues discussed in the transport element of Berkley City were in the class lessons.
The transport element of Berkley’s City advocates for the formation of coordinated transport systems to reduce the use of automobiles in the City. It also requests for more funding of the public and alternative transportation improvements. Firstly, it pursues regional and statewide policies that encourage greater transit use by financing the development of transit services. Secondly, the City aims at supporting local efforts to maintain and enhance public transportation (“Transportation Element”). To achieve this goal, the City will work with the AC Transit and BART (“Transportation Element”). It will also promote and market public transport and improve the shuttle and transit services.
The third policy in the transport element is the development of an Eco-Pass program to all the City employees. It will also encourage employers and to join this program. Fourthly, the City will give priority to alternative transportation and transit over single-occupant vehicles (“Transportation Element”). The fifth policy entails the City supporting regional efforts to develop light rail and bus rapid services connecting the East Bay cities. In the sixth policy, the City will establish a transport service fee to ensure that the new developments will not negatively affect the existing transport services and facilities (“Transportation Element”). Berkeley City has an additional 26 other policies in addition to the six mentioned that aim at improving its transport system.
The transport element established by the City of Berkeley is necessary for its success. Currently, the city’s transport network has been fully utilized in the transport of passengers. As a result, some vehicles pass through residential streets during peak times, which risks undermining the attractiveness of these parts of the City. Additionally, although Berkeley has the highest rate of individuals who walk or ride a bicycle to work, unfortunately, its also has the highest number of road users and cyclists who are knocked down by vehicles (“Transportation Element”). Consequently, the City’s transport element makes sense since it will reduce traffic congestion, improve its environment, and ensure that all road users are safe.
Berkeley City does not have enough time to implement the transport element. Although much of the ambitious City’s policies on transport are within its control, which will enable it to achieve them quickly; in others, it will have to liaise with other cities, private businesses, and even the state of California. For example, in the Ferry Service policy, Berkeley City has to partner with the City of Albany, regional transportation agencies, AC Transit, and racetrack owners for it to establish a ferry terminal and to enjoy the San Francisco ferry service (“Transportation Element”). Accordingly, the short period for the implementation of these policies, such as one year in some, and the like of a clear deadline in other, makes the time frames unrealistic. In this regard, the successful implementation of the City of Berkeley’s transport element is wishful.
For Berkeley City to successfully implement its policies and objectives, it should set clear, realistic, and time-bound deadlines. Additionally, the City should form a committee that will oversee the implementation of these policies. This board should be able to revise the set policies so that they can adapt to the dynamic changes in the City.
City of Berkeley. City of Berkeley General Plan: A Guide for Public Decision-Making (2003). (N.d.). Available from www.cityofberkeley.info/contentdisplay.aspx?id=488. Accessed November 11, 2017.
City of Berkeley. Transportation Element. (N.d.). Available from www.cityofberkeley.info/Planning_and_Development/Home/General_Plan_-_Transportation_Element.aspx. Accessed November 11, 2017.