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Poll: Does Telegraph Avenue Need a Makeover?

Beset by fire, plagued by a derelict lot and prone to crime — Telegraph Avenue is suffering. Does this Berkeley classic need an overhaul?

It doesn't get more Berkeley than Telegraph Avenue. Here, long-time community activists mingle with students, while tourists and locals alike browse the handmade wares and hippie-era memorabelia being touted by street vendors. The restaurants and shops are as diverse as the people, and every block boasts a vibrant history.

But lately, Telegraph Avenue's famous vibe has been lacking. Business plumeted after right in the heart of the strip. Roads and paths were blocked by chain link fences while bulldozers tore down the corner of the block. On the other side of the street, became even more of a sore point.

To add insult to injury, students intimidated by crime and the denizens of People's Park are steering clear of the area, accoriding to a survey cited in this New York Times article.

So what is Telegraph Avenue to do to regain its former potency? 

Share your thoughts about the past, present and future of Telegraph Avenue in the comments.

Anne February 06, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The BROKEN WINDOWS THEORY is a criminological theory of the norm setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime. The theory was introduced in a 1982 article by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. Since then it has been subject to great debate both within the social sciences and in the public debate. The theory has been used as a motivation for several reforms in criminal policy. The broken windows theory has received support from several empirical studies.
Emily Henry February 06, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Anne, it seems you are suggesting that Telegraph Avenue is on a downward slope until it's more effectively monitored and kept up in a "well-ordered condition." Is that your analysis here?
GM February 06, 2012 at 08:48 PM
grew up hanging on Telegraph in the mid-80s, it was a different place then. I think the only chain-store was Gap, all the rest small business, and the hare krishna parades, the bubble lady, polka-dot man, it was a fun place to hang. Seems so commercial & sad now, a ghost of it's former self. Need to encourage small businesses to set up shop, turn the vacant lot into a garden, or encourage a small building (not that modern square-crap on Shattuck though!), cafes, small grocer perhaps for food for students, brain-storm & make it happen.

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