Friday, May 19, 2006

Internet Destroys Life on Telegraph Ave.

Telegraph Ave. intersects the south side of the main Berkeley campus. Businesses on the Ave. feature college gear, novelty t-shirts, souvenirs, ethnic food, ice cream, pizza slices, beer, bongs, new and used books, comics, used and new CDs and albums, and useless hippy crap for the tens of thousands of students, instructors, and tourists strolling around campus. So why is the Ave. ailing? I've seen this in print before: it's the Internet, which as everyone knows, ruthlessly undercuts local , community based beer and pizza joints. Number 2 is something called "problematic street behavior,"Berkeley's appropriately inclusive term for the Ave.'s open air drug market and mental asylum. Which of the two reasons might really explain why shoppers have stayed away? See: BERKELEY / Mayor's plan to revive sagging Telegraph Ave. / Proposal would add police, marketing, help for homeless: "Telegraph has been facing a number of difficult challenges over the past few years, from the increase of Internet shopping to problematic street behavior,' said Roland Peterson, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District. 'I am very optimistic that this package will help us turn the corner on those challenges.' "

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