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Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:16 PM


Target on Telegraph? Berkeley mayor's thinking about it


Telegraph Avenue, in all its scruffy 1960s revolutionary glory, is headed for a 21st century overhaul. And - hang on to your Mao hat - that probably means more chain stores.

Determined to clean up the iconic strip south of the UC campus, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates is embarking on a makeover of Telegraph Avenue, looking at everything from traffic laws to the retail mix....

Telegraph Avenue, for decades the heart of UC Berkeley student life and a symbol of the city's radical past, lately has fallen from grace. While Berkeley's other commercial districts have thrived, even in the downturn, sales tax revenues on Telegraph have plummeted, and empty storefronts abound. The intersection of Haste and Telegraph is marred by two vacant lots, and the former Cody's bookstore - once a hub of intellectual life - has sat empty since 2006....

"I know Berkeley's big into local businesses, but the fact is, they're overpriced," said Jael Cook, 23, a Chicago native who graduated last year and lives in the Telegraph neighborhood. "I hate to say it, but I'm a chain store girl. I like Target. That's what I'd like to see on Telegraph."

This would break the hearts of my two favorite Berkeleyites, who live a block off Telegraph. Not to mention the guy I met at Yale who sold "Cosmic Rats" (clay yo-yos with a foam rat shell) on Telegraph for a time in the '80s.

edit: The puff piece somehow fails to mention the devastating fire that burned out decades-old student hangout Raleigh's and neighboring properties a couple of years ago.

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Reply Target on Telegraph? Berkeley mayor's thinking about it (Original post)
KamaAina Feb 2013 OP
TM99 Feb 2013 #1
KamaAina Feb 2013 #3
TM99 Feb 2013 #4
demosincebirth Feb 2013 #2
TM99 Mar 2013 #5
Gormy Cuss Mar 2013 #6
KamaAina Mar 2013 #7

Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:27 PM

1. "I am a chain store girl"?????


May the gods forgive us. This is truly tragic and sad.

I have never seen a generation so completely and utterly out of touch with even their most immediate history.

They would rather have cheap shit from China and shiny iDevices than to preserve even a small part of the local history of Telegraph Avenue by degrading it with a damned Target.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:37 PM

3. Shiny iDevices are readily available on Shattuck


about a half-mile away.

ChinaMarts are relatively scarce throughout the Bay Area, until you get to San Jose.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:54 PM

4. Well, isn't that wonderful!


Let's be sure to have many of them wherever there are none now.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:32 PM

2. Better than a ChinaMart. Telegraph ave can be, or used to be a pain in the ass to walk through.

Haven't been there in quite a while and I hear it's changing.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 10:14 AM

5. My love is from the Bay Area.


She witnessed this very thing happen in Emeryville. What was once local color, artists, ethnic food, and interesting became sanitized corporate crap.

I watched the same thing happen here in Tempe on Mill Ave. When I moved here, there were local ethnic restaurants, local book stores, and a street teeming with homeless people as well as colorful college kids. Not any more, the street is lined with PF Changs, Chili's, Border's, Hooter's, and all the colorfulness is gone.

I am old enough to remember when downtown's and main streets died as malls full of corporate chains sprung up. Then downtown's and main streets had a revival. Small businesses and restaurants replaced locked doors and empty buildings. Now the damned corporate mall is spreading like a plague and will replace downtown's and main streets with the same corporate chains, 'Made in China' trinkets, and the endless parade of iDevices (any 24/7 attached at the hip technological device that separates us from the reality of human interactions).

Sad, very sad.

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Response to KamaAina (Original post)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 03:28 PM

6. When chain stores took over spots in Harvard Square, Cambridge was no longer weird.

It would take a bit more to kill the weird in Berkeley but turning Telegraph into a generic mall would be a good start.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 04:16 PM

7. Some concrete suggestions


Use one or more of the vacant lots as a marketplace for the vendors. That way they get to keep selling, and Bates gets them off the street, plus makes a few bucks off vendor fees.

Bring in businesses that have proven successful in other parts of Berkeley, like the Cheeseboard/Arizmendi bakery collective, maybe even Berkeley Bowl (there is no longer a grocery store near campus). This way, Telegraph becomes sort of a mashup of all that is good about Berkeley, rather than a harbinger of its impending doom.

Set up a shuttle from BART. It's at that awkward distance (about three-quarters of a mile) that's kind of too far to walk, but not really worth paying the $1.85 bus fare. It'd leave from the bus stop next to the escalators, go down Shattuck, up Dwight, then onto Telegraph, with stops at Haste (by the vacant lots/market) and Durant, then back to BART on Bancroft. A single vehicle should be able to complete the round trip in less than 15 minutes. This could also serve as a start for a Berkeley bus system to complement AC Transit, which is especially weak on east-west routes, as set out here:


When I posted most of this in the comments section, it got two thumbs up -- and four thumbs down. Criminetly.

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