BUILDING NEW PATHS
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Workday on Northgate Path – May 2010 (video)
Berkeley’s hilly neighborhoods were delineated in the early 1900s before most residents owned cars. Developers generally laid out the north-south streets to follow the curving contours of the hills, and they gave the city ten-foot rights of way for pedestrian pathways between the streets to provide shortcuts up and down the hills for people to go to and from schools, shops, and bus stops. But as automobile transportation became more common, some fifty of the designated paths never got built. Over time, weeds and shrubs obliterated some, and neighbors’ added fences and decks that blocked others.
With the full cooperation of the city, Berkeley Path Wanderers Association has built thirty of these unfinished paths, and we hope to complete most of the rest. When necessary, we pay for a professional surveyor to confirm the exact boundaries of the path before we start our work. Our volunteers have cleared vegetation and installed simple wooden steps. These hard-working path builders come from local Boy Scout troops, student and religious groups, and the community at large. A smaller crew, who call themselves the Weekly Hot Shots, has built most of the most recently completed paths.
The city repairs existing concrete staircases, helps restore the path rights of way that have been blocked, and adds concrete stairs on path segments where wooden steps are impractical.
Our focus has begun to shift to path maintenance, and we always need more volunteers for our monthly path clearing and cleaning work parties. They are announced in our monthly e-newsletter. Interested in volunteering to help?
Send us an e-mail.