Note: BNC Policy Regarding Letters:
BNC invites letters from eNEWS readers. Letters and photos should be sent to email@example.com and should be about issues of neighborhood interest. Letters should be no longer than 500 words, although at times we will publish letters that exceed that length. All letters should state the name(s) of the author and at least the general area where the author lives or the neighborhood group he/she is affiliated with. That information will be published with the letter. Letters should also include a phone number and e-mail address where the author can be contacted. That information will not be published. We ask for it just in case we have any questions, and, of course, we need to verify who it was that sent the letter.
In our Seventeenth eNEWS issue we wrote about a new way to look at the carbon footprint of cars. We’d like to hear comments from our readers about how to measure the environmental impact of cars, particularly around the decision of whether to replace your old, reliable vehicle with a new one with all the bells and whistles. What do you think about the idea of requiring a posting on all cars showing potential buyers that car’s carbon footprint? BNC thinks that’s a pretty good idea because it just might lead to getting a better handle on reducing global warming, but we really want to hear from you.
We’ve also been seeing a lot of newspaper articles about traffic congestion in the Bay Area, along with stories about how BART is serving a record number of passengers. There seems to be lots of agreement that the level of traffic congestion on our freeways has increased with no prediction that things will improve. We’ve also heard lots of Berkeley residents comment that traffic has also increased on our local streets. We agree, but again want to hear from you as to your thoughts. Where does it seem to have increased the most? Why do you think that is happening? How is that congestion changing your everyday life? What do you think should be done about it?
For a number of years, Berkeley has had policies in place that are designed to reduce use of the automobile. These policies usually mean eliminating or reducing the number of parking spaces in new construction, prohibiting the issuance of Residential Parking Permits to occupants in new construction, and requiring developers/employers to provide public transportation passes to new occupants or to employees. More recently, a policy has been adopted to increase density “by right” i.e. no zoning review, in lower density neighborhoods that are close to public transportation. Yet, it seems that traffic congestion has increased and neighbors are complaining that they are finding it increasingly hard to park near their homes, and people are avoiding going downtown because they can’t find a place to park.
BNC would like to begin a conversation about this whole traffic issue. Join in by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, BNC contacted the California Department of Motor Vehicles to get information on the number of vehicles registered in Berkeley over the years as compared to population increases. The DMV people we talked to were very helpful and we received from them the “Estimated Vehicle Registration Volumes, January 2015” by Berkeley zip code. Unfortunately we were unable to obtain any information from earlier years, but we’re still searching. Here are a few tidbits of information that we have obtained so far:
- There are 70, 323 vehicles registered in Berkeley
- “Vehicles” include Autos, Commercial, Motorcycles, Trailers and Other
- Of these vehicles, 61,514 are autos
- 7,237 are Commercial (5,000) and Motorcycles (2,237)
- 1,572 are Trailers and Other
Here is how they are distributed:
Using census numbers and assuming that our recent growth is mainly in the 18 years or older group, we estimate Berkeley’s 2014 population to be about 105,000. This means that 67% of every person in Berkeley 18 years and older has a registered motor vehicle. This, of course, doesn’t include vehicles registered in another State.There’s a lot more to be said. Please stay tuned, and don’t forget to write and join the conversation!