To glimpse Telegraph Avenue as its visionaries and community leaders see it is to view a thriving, bustling European-like utopia, complete with pedestrian plaza, solar-powered trash cans, and enough parklets and bicycle racks to make even the most cynical hipster swoon.
The ambitious if bureaucratically titled “Telegraph Public Realm Plan” has a sweeping vision that’s soon to hit the pavement — first in increments and demonstrations, and then, if all goes well, full-fledged cosmetic surgery for the historic avenue.
“We began with near-term design interventions we can make that would be noticeable and create some buzz around the avenue,” Matt Taecker, of Taecker Planning and Design, told Berkeleyside in a phone interview. “Simultaneously, we were thinking about the long-term vision, and we also came up with something that is quite interesting: It’s a shared street, a plaza, where you allow cars to drive. But it’s a pedestrian-oriented space and the cars will pass slowly because you’ve done certain things design-wise.”
Two demonstration projects are set to kick off the changes, with the aim of testing and refining design features, and making significant changes that are light on the city’s wallet.
At the Bank of America building on the corner of Telegraph and Durant, planners hope to set up a “small plaza comprised of art and artifacts” that will showcase temporary art installations, as well as new design features for the streets, such as new sidewalks and the proposed “modular stations.”