University Village Mixed Use Project approved

Sprouts imageWell, we can’t get there quite yet, but a significant step has been taken.  The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the tentative parcel maps and the design review for the University Village Mixed Use Project on Wednesday, December 11th.  The conditions of approval include the developers providing up to an additional two feet abutting the San Pablo right of way as needed to make the sidewalk, cycle track and landscape configuration approvable by CalTrans.

Garnering this approval is the next big hurdle.  The extra space deals with one point of feedback from CalTrans.  The others are providing a cycling signal phase for users of the cycle track and continuing the cycle track all the way to the east end of the new Buchanan path from the get go.  The project and City-hired engineers are working on the cycle signal phase and AS&R has conveyed a number of ideas for consideration. The likelihood of the cycle track going all the way to Marin at the outset is slim to say the least, but there is high likelihood of being able to close this gap in the long term (for instance it would score highly for grant funding).  In the short term staff is likely to counter propose installing a cross walk at the north end of the cycle track by the grocery store instead.  This would allow people cycling north along the cycle track to cross over San Pablo to continue heading north.  This midblock crosswalk is called for in the San Pablo complete streets plan, which was just approved unanimously by the City Council.

The Planning and Zoning Commission also changed the conditions of approval to specify a HAWK signal at the Dartmouth crossing of San Pablo as the preferred option for that location.  The developer has already specified this type of signal on the plans, but AS&R asked for this preference to be codified in the approvals.  Staff have already taken the HAWK signal proposal to CalTrans, and report back a generally positive response.

Thank you to City staff, UC, and the developers for working in collaboration to incorporate an amazing amount of cycling access in the project.  Ringed by cycling paths with another running along Monroe down the middle, this project will do more for cycling in Albany than any other private project ever, by far.

1 comment to University Village Mixed Use Project approved

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