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The Center for Independent Living’s Position Statement Re: Ashby BART Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Project

Press Release

The Center for Independent Living’s Position Statement Re: Ashby BART Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Project

Berkeley, CA – The Center for Independent Living and the Ed Roberts Campus has released their position statement regarding the City of Berkeley and BART’s transit-oriented development at the Ashby BART station. Our statement was informed by months of meetings with cross-disability communities, community activists, and grassroots organizations in South Berkeley.

CIL and the Ed Roberts Campus strongly supports transit-oriented development at Ashby BART that centers 100% housing affordability, accessibility and universal design, supportive housing for people with mental health and cognitive disabilities, and that prioritizes the repair and the right of return for Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color displaced in South Berkeley by historic and ongoing policies of redlining and institutional racism. Further, we advocate for the maintenance of accessible parking in and around Ashby BART and the Ed Roberts Campus, and cross-disability partnership to ensure the accessibility and usability of the Adeline Corridor reconfiguration.


The Center for Independent Living (CIL) strongly supports transit-oriented development at Ashby BART that has, at its center, 100% housing affordability, accessibility and universal design, supportive housing for people with mental health and cognitive disabilities, and that prioritizes the repair and the right of return for Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color displaced in South Berkeley by
historic and ongoing policies of redlining and institutional racism. Further, we advocate for the maintenance of accessible parking in and around Ashby BART and the Ed Roberts Campus, and cross-disability partnership to ensure the accessibility and usability of the Adeline Corridor reconfiguration.


CIL is a peer-led, cross-disability advocacy and direct services organization founded in Berkeley in 1972, and that served as the model for 400+ independent living centers across the country and around the world. CIL emerged from the Disability Rights and Independent Living movements, and it has its roots in collective action and activism; we carry on this foundational spirit in our advocacy and services today. Our main office is located in the Ed Roberts Campus, a universally-designed transit hub above Ashby BART that also serves as a center of disability culture in the Bay Area and beyond. Due to our location, our history, and our values, we demand development at Ashby BART that is responsive to full access, equity, and justice for diverse disability communities.

CIL strongly supports a transit-oriented development that prioritizes:

  1. 100% Housing Affordability: CIL requests that the City of Berkeley and BART create 100% affordable housing, and that such housing is genuinely accessible to individuals earning 30-60% below the Area Median Income (AMI) and people–including a disproportionate number of people with disabilities–for whom SSI and SSDI are primary forms of income. A commitment to 100% affordable housing supports the City of Berkeley in fulfilling its 2023 Housing Element obligations.
  2. Accessibility and Universal Design: CIL demands the full integration of accessibility and universal design principles, making the area navigable and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities, older adults, cyclists, drivers, and mass transit riders. Disability organizations and advocates must be involved to ensure all needs are considered. Universally-designed housing
    surrounding a universally-designed transit and community hub (the Ed Roberts Campus) would be the first of its kind in the world, and serve as an example of visionary accessibility and inclusion. Universal design must be a core element to the City of Berkeley and BART’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ). In line with universal design principles, we expect housing to include accessible green spaces and community-gathering spaces.
  3. Supportive Housing: CIL supports housing development at Ashby BART that designates units for permanent supportive housing for people with mental health and cognitive disabilities. Permanent supportive housing is a commitment to the safety and dignity of some of the most marginalized in our disability communities. It is also in line with the City of Berkeley’s commitments to providing housing for people with mental health and behavioral disabilities in its models like Shelter Plus Care.
  4. Repair and Right of Return: CIL believes that Ashby BART development must have racial equity at its core, and take leadership from the most impacted in our communities. CIL is in support of the right of return for Black residents of Berkeley who have been displaced from years of gentrification and redlining, and, for housing that prioritizes Black residents and residents of color who are currently living in Berkeley and may be unhoused or housing insecure. Many Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members have share that development at Ashby BART is an opportunity to heal a wound, and repair historic and ongoing harms to Black residents of Berkeley. We support Friends of Adeline’s “Adeline Corridor Planning Process” statement, with emphasis on their demand of a Right of Return/Local Preference, which gives people who are “at risk of displacement, or have been displaced, preference for new, low-income housing built in the neighborhood, at a price they can afford.”
  5. Safety and Usability of Adeline Street and Maintenance of Accessible Parking: CIL asks the City of Berkeley and BART to ensure any redesign of Adeline Street, especially near the Ed Roberts Campus, includes input and partnership from diverse disability communities and results in a safe, accessible, and usable space for all, with a priority on accessible parking throughout the development process and in the final design. It is critical that the inclusion of bike lanes does not disrupt, or make unsafe, the deployment of ramps from Paratransit and accessible vehicles. The Adeline Street Corridor reconfiguration must prioritize accessible wayfinding, such as audible, tactile, and large-print maps and transit schedules and fully accessible crosswalks.

The Ashby BART TOD project presents an opportunity to create a more inclusive, affordable, and thriving community. In order for this project to be successful, it must include partnership from diverse disability communities, organizations at the Ed Roberts Campus, grassroots organizations such as Friends of Adeline and Healthy Black Families, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color who reside in South Berkeley. We call for collaboration that respects the history of South Berkeley, prioritizes the needs of
its diverse residents, and reflects our collective commitment to accessibility, affordability, and inclusivity.

Owen Kent, Interim Executive Director
The Center for Independent Living, Inc.
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 100
Berkeley, CA, 94703

Eric Smith, Executive Director
Ed Roberts Campus
3075 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA, 94703

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