Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

Equity-First Community Engagement for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) at North Berkeley and Ashby BART Stations

In September 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2923, state legislation that requires the adoption of transit-oriented development (TOD) zoning requirements on existing BART-owned property within a 1/2 mile of stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties.

The City of Berkeley and BART partnered to develop the zoning and site planning parameters that meet the requirements of AB 2923, the goals of BART, the City, and the community. The City and BART established a framework for the development of the Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations, including a community advisory process and other community engagement.

The Challenge

Transit has a history of creating distrust by benefiting some communities while harming others, including the displacement of people of color during its initial construction phase. As we embark on the transformative journey of re-imagining the Ashby BART station, incorporating housing, open spaces, and community amenities, we must acknowledge the impact of the longstanding Berkeley Flea Market. Established in the 1970s, this vibrant market has occupied a BART station parking lot on Ashby Avenue and been a haven for historically excluded individuals, fostering a thriving community of small businesses. Inclusive engagement and broad-based input from the community is vital to ensure the successful relocation of the Berkeley Flea Market, ensuring it remains an asset and economic resource for the community and for local entrepreneurs.

The Goal

The D&A team’s objective was to implement an equity-first community engagement strategy for the next phase of the Ashby and North Berkeley BART station to ensure the diverse community was actively engaged in the development planning process and to help advance racial and economic equity in TOD.

The Strategy

Core to the D&A team’s approach is the facilitation of conflict resolution, trust building, and collective decision-making throughout the project. D&A implemented a comprehensive, equitable community engagement plan surrounding Form Based Design at both BART sites. Our equity-first community engagement and outreach plan outlined tactics and tools to galvanize the communities of Ashby and North Berkeley—and particularly the African-American community in South Berkeley—around constructive engagement with the development planning. We conducted community stakeholder interviews to understand public perceptions and barriers to collaboration, and to solicit recommendations for the next phase of public discourse. D&A delivered insight-based recommendations to the client team for changes to the Ashby and North Berkeley BART station development planning process based on community input.

The Impact

D&A’s equity-first community engagement plan accomplished the goal of removing barriers, empowering community involvement, and ensuring inclusive outreach to those who previously had not been engaged. The Ashby Flea Market is on track for successful relocation with broad-based community support and remains a community institution.  

“Our equity-first community engagement and outreach plan outlined tactics and tools to galvanize the communities of Ashby and North Berkeley—and particularly the African-American community in South Berkeley—around constructive engagement with the development planning.”

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D&A Communications, Inc

1388 Sutter St #510
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: (415) 274-1821