This week we would like to talk about the controversial Telegraph Avenue shopping area and what you think should be done to get its mojo back.
Telegraph Avenue has a rich history. It was the birthplace of People's Park movement. It was home to several bookstores and record stores that were the draw for decades. But many have closed and the ones remaining have been hit hard by competition from the Web.
Times have changed and Telegraph hasn’t quite kept up. The success of Fourth Street is one sign of the changing shopping preferences of Berkeley residents.
And equally if not more important, one of Telegraph’s core markets, students at UC Berkeley, do not seem to share the nostalgia about Telegraph’s history. A survey was conducted in 2011 among 1,800 students (both graduate and undergraduate) at UC Berkeley. Half of those surveyed said they visit the street less than once per month. Many said they prefer to do their shopping at big-box stores like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.
The city is restarting efforts to revitalize Telegraph Ave. A proposal has been made to rebuild the former Sequoia Apartments that burned down in November 2011. Another proposal would build a restaurant and live entertainment venue at the former Cody’s Books spot. Other ideas that have been suggested include changing Telegraph to a two-way street, widening the sidewalks and adding free WiFi. There’s some controversy over the suggestion of trimming the amount of space for street vendors and what to do with People’s Park.
But after they rebuild buildings, modify the street signs, modify the sidewalks and install new benches, it comes down to what types of businesses on the street will ultimately draw people in and keep them coming back.
So, what would you like to see on Telegraph Ave? And feel free to suggest broader topics beyond businesses if you’d like.
You can submit your suggestions on Spotmojo using this link: http://www.spotmojo.com/openspot/telegraph/
Berkeley Patch is working with Spotmojo to collect your suggestions for vacancies. Spotmojo is a website where you can suggest the businesses you want where you live, work, or play. The suggestions are provided to new businesses and commercial real estate brokers to help businesses find their ideal location. This gives you a voice in the businesses that open in your neighborhood and it helps local businesses succeed.