Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP)

The Berkeley Marina
Area Specific Plan (BMASP)

Dear Mayor and Berkeley City Council members,

I'm writing in response to the BMASP proposal I've seen in survey form for the Berkeley Marina/César Chávez park. A link to it can be found at the end of this.

Humans absolutely require respite from urbanization. One or more of you may I suppose take exception to that statement, but if so, I wonder whether you may have become a creature apart in contrast to a famous environmentalist saying about "not man apart."

Some of you have children. Some don't yet, and some of you will choose not to have them. But you were all once children. Maybe some of you never could play in a or near a creek or pond - ever. Maybe some of you, like me, never could find relief, from the sweltering heat that made my legs swell dangerously, with a respite such as this Berkeley Marina is for so many here now.

The future will bring more heat. Most people are lucky not to have been born with the type of deformity I have that means absolute suffering and even threat-to-life in the urban heat. But there will be more heat, and aside from the fact that nature heals and revives our creative resources, or imaginations, maybe even our "souls!" or sense of connection, aside from that, we will simply need relief from the heat. Those familiar with the marina know its relief.

Of course we can climb into long-range vehicles and travel hundreds of miles. But I thought Berkeley cared about the environment? We already have a treasure right here. What could you/they/anyone be thinking with a "plan" for this very different from "please leave it alone!" *I know money is needed. See but a few ideas at the end of this. There are many many more, and the ones proposed by BMASP, as others have demonstrated, either make little or no more money than more efficient stewardship of what is there could.

The marina on a typical visit will include
what one person calls "a view of the bay, the city and the bridges with all the drama that plays out there, the incoming of storms, the changing sky, the various textures of wind on water and the magnificent display of clouds, sunsets and Moon rises..."

. . . Also common: a very apparently culturally-diverse set of park users, one or several young children running down a hill toward the wide expanse of bay horizon, another enthralled with her kite flying way overhead, an older boy rolling down the hill, several of us greeting our owls, herons, egrets, grebes, duck-couples, pelicans in flight formation, or separately diving, fisher-folk, fellow-walkers, dog-walkers, dogs, runners.. Some days, such as today, you'll see the skateboarder propelling himself with a kite, a windsurfer, sailboats, kayaks and canoes. You'll see your own most infinite dreams in the lovely far horizons.

comment I've seen: "It's far preferable to make thoughtful enhanced habitat relief from the town than to bring the town to the Marina. Make the town nicer, don't make the Marina worse."

I simply don't have the words to persuade anyone who could entertain for a moment for themselves or children the horrific BMASP plan I've seen. No more hotels. No larger boats at the expense of the smaller ones there now. No food courts nearby. No events pavilion. No indoor anything. No adventure II playground for adults. No to a dreary closed-off future of urban depressiveness.

Yes to the inventive adventure playground for kids there now over on the other side of the Marina. Yes to repair of the pier.

Yes to parking fees! Yes to entrance fees with relief for those who can't afford them. Yes to keeping the hotel revenue in the Marina. Yes to another "HS Lordships" perhaps on the other side by the pier. Yes to improved restaurants from what's already there but not more traffic. Yes to reliable public transit shuttles with predictable frequent schedules and/or real time LED and other notices of arrival times. Yes to preserving this jewel. Yes to my tears. Yes to yours. Shit. Are you really going to destroy this place?

Virginia Browning
Berkeley, California
May 6, 2022

The Berkeley Marina Plan Would Destroy Cesar Chavez Park