Berkeley reconfiguring Shattuck Avenue, residents asked to chime in

Part of downtown Berkeley is getting a makeover, and residents are being asked to take part in one small part of the process.

The city is reconfiguring some streets to help traffic flow and make it safer.

The Shattuck Avebue reconfiguration plan hopes to make it easier and safer for drivers, cyclist and pedestrians.

The $10.3 million dollar project aims to tame a wild section of Berkeley's downtown.

Shattuck Avenue, from Allston Way to University Avenue is the area being reconfigured, a zone some drivers criticise.

"Right now with the construction it's kinda crazy but it's that way everywhere with the roads," said one driver.

Currently northbound drivers on Shattuck have to make a quick left at University, then an immediate right to continue on Shattuck.

"It's always a wired little jog for Shattuck," said the driver.

Under the new plan, northbound traffic on Shattuck will split at Center Street.

A map shows the current and forthcoming configuration. 

Southbound Shattuck -- currently one way from University to center -- will be widened to four Lanes and traffic will flow in both directions.

That's excepted to decrease the number of cars making a right from westbound University to Shattuck, a notoriously dangerous corner where a young woman recently had a close call.

"I saw that it was time to go but I see the cars are still approaching pretty quickly and it wasn't just one car, it was like two of them trying to fight to actually turn right, so yeah, I think it's pretty dangerous," said Melissa Young.

The altered route will result in a new name for a tiny stretch of Shattuck Ave.

The city put up chalkboard soliciting new names from the public.

"Very original names. People are pretty creative in these parts. Bezerkely. That's a big thing. Everyone has shirts with that," said Angelo Braganza.

Though the current names are fostering lots of debate, the city's effort to get the public involved seems to have universal appeal.

"Anything to involve the community to get together, work together, I think it's a good idea for advocacy, so I like that," said Lorring Laverty.

The project is expected to take up to two years to complete.

As for the partial renaming of Shattuck, the city is taking email suggestions and will narrow the list down and present the names to the public.

The City Council will make the final decision early next year.