BERKELEY -- Efforts to revitalize the area around the Ashby BART station received a boost last week when the city was awarded a $750,000 planning grant by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

"The City Council intends to designate South Berkeley, especially the Adeline Corridor, as our top priority for planning and growth in the coming year," Mayor Tom Bates said in a news release.

The MTC grant was awarded May 28 and will put a comprehensive planning effort for the Adeline corridor in motion, the city said.

Bates, who represents Alameda County mayors on the MTC, said the award "means we'll be able to bring our city and community resources together to design the improvements we need for more affordable housing, commercial vitality and mass transit as well as pedestrian-friendly and bicycle-friendly neighborhoods."

The Priority Development Area grant will fund community meetings and outreach to get input from the community, as well as an environmental impact report.

According to the city, project goals include "local jobs, improved safety, historic preservation, cohesive streetscape design, public art and assessing the role that the Ashby BART parking lot could play in achieving community goals while maintaining the Ashby BART flea market."

The city also wants to better connect South Berkeley neighborhoods with Ashby BART and downtown.