North Berkeley, CA- home of the Berkeley Rose Garden

I included both North Berkeley and the smaller Northside district in this evaluation. North Berkeley is the district just north of Central Berkeley, Downtown, and the Northside. While not as dense or urban as Central Berkeley, North Berkeley is still a high quality urban environment built between the 1900s-1930s. It has several commercial nodes including a couple blocks on Euclid Ave, a long stretch of Shattuck Ave, and several small commercial nodes along MLK way. Its a nice mix of SF, duplexes, triplex, and small multi-family. Larger apartment buildings near Euclid Ave. Walkability is very high in North Berkeley as it is well served by quality public transit and good bike infrastructure.

Like Central Berkeley, housing is very expensive here. There are also limited family households and curb cuts are not always up to current ADA standards. I guess another improvement would be more density and multi-family housing to help alleviate the district’s high housing costs. But that kind of upzoning is best done on a citywide or regional level to avoid creating higher costs through speculation. 
Click here to view my North Berkeley album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Solid urban density allowing most trips to be convenient by foot or bike.
* Much of North Berkeley can still be reached on foot from Downtown Berkeley. Convenient access to Downtown Oakland, and solid access to downtown San Francisco as the BART skirts the southern edge of the neighborhood. Challenging to travel to San Jose or the Silicon Valley where other major employers are concentrated.
* Good  bike infrastructure with plenty of stations but not as many dedicated bike lanes as most Berkeley neighborhoods.
* High percentage of affordable housing options, which helps mitigate the City’s crazy high housing costs. 
* Several high amenities parks and recreational spaces well spread through North Berkeley. Also convenient access to the Cal U campus.
* Lots of small-medium sized museums within Downtown Berkeley or University of California. Good access to museums offered in Oakland and San Francisco. 
* North Berkeley holds a great concentration restaurants, bars, and cafe. Also a good array of art galleries, a community theater, and a couple museums. Still walkable to most North Berkeley residents are all the cultural amenities of  Central Berkeley and Cal U.
* The neighborhood is also well served by walkable retail including a nice mix of independent and chain stores (dwtn targets). There are also a couple service grocery stores and pharmacies. The Target and other important retail conveniences dwtn and walkable to most residents in North Berkeley.
* High quality schools and walkable to almost every Berkeley resident.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Family households are pretty limited. But good age diversity amongst adults with a mix of students and established households.
* Very wealth off economically but students and young professionals add some nice diversity.
* Good offering of rental product but very expensive here in Berkeley. Most studios start at around 2K and most 2-bedrooms start at 3 K. Most for-sale options start at 650K.
* Great sidewalks and solid curb cuts. Modern ADA curbs are often missing at intersections however.
* Berkeley certainly feels very safe and has very little blight but crime rate is higher than the Nat. average. This may be partially attributable to its  homeless situation.
* Some less attractive modern construction from the 60s-80s but generally still good urban form.

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