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Envisioning El Sobrante

S&E Senior Capstone

Kimberly Hazard

on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of Envisioning El Sobrante

Open Space Transportation
& Walkability Housing Mix Land Use
Compact Building Design Smart Growth Smart growth is a strategy for building urban, suburban and rural communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools. It has been promoted by federal and local agencies as a solution to urban sprawl Envisioning El Sobrante A Framework for Smart Growth in the Bay Area Suburbs Cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are well known for their ability to build sustainable cities
However, if sustainability is to achieved in the Bay Area region, serious attention needs to be paid to today's suburbs
Over 50% of Americans live in suburbs
Today's suburbs are not the stereotypical white enclaves with matching picket fences
One-third of suburbanites across the country are racial or ethnic minorities, up from 19 percent in 1990
Sixty percent of foreign-born immigrants live in the outskirts of U.S. cities Why Sustainable Suburbs? One example of a Bay Area "ethic suburb" is... El Sobrante [You Are Here] El Sobrante is a semi-rural/suburban area nestled between Richmond and Pinole with a population of 12,669 residents. El Sobrante is categorized as a Census Designated Place meaning it is an unincorporated area of Contra Costa County. El Sobrante can be translated into "The Leftovers," stemming from the time of the Spanish colonialists giving a land grant determined by the boundaries of the other land grants around it. With a mean travel time to work of 29 minutes and a home ownership rate of 62%, El Sobrante is a good example of a Bay Area suburb. So... What can be done to build a sustainable community in this suburb? 10 PRINCIPLES OF SMART GROWTH:
1. Mix Land Uses
2. Take Advantage of Compact Building Design
3. Create a Range of Housing Opportunities and Choices
4. Create Walkable Neighborhoods
5. Foster Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place
6. Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty and Critical Environmental Areas
7. Strengthen and Direct Development Towards Existing Communities
8. Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices
9. Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair and Cost Effective
10. Encourage Community and Stakeholder Collaboration in Development Decisions In order to envision El Sobrante as a sustainable suburban community, I will show how the policies for El Sobrante stated in the Contra Costa County General Plan align with Smart Growth Principles Community Identity Participation 3 Mix Use Designations 1. San Pablo Dam Rd.
2. Appian Way
3. Triangle Area Policy 3-161: “El Sobrante’s built environment should be designed and developed at a human-scale incorporating healthy community concepts that make provisions for walking, bicycling, and other non-motorized transportation...”

Policy 3-162: “Complete Streets” - design this segment of San Pablo Dam Road to move motorists, transit vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and ability to safely along and across this roadway.

Policy 3-163: Given San Pablo Dam Road’s designation as the I-80 bicycle route ... add a Class II bicycle lane along the roadway or provide an alternate bicycle path through the corridor

Policy 3-166: “In order to reduce the demand for auto trips through the community, the County will work with AC Transit and other local public transit agencies to improve service to the El Sobrante area. Bus stops and bus routes will be improved, so that residents can efficiently travel directly from El Sobrante to Del Norte BART, Richmond BART/Amtrak, and Orinda BART, as well as to other destinations.” Someone waits for the bus sitting on a rock.
The majority of bus stops have no place to sit and no form of shelter San Pablo Dam Rd has no bike lanes whatsoever Policy 3-168: Minimize the number of streets and driveways intersecting or entering San Pablo Dam Road, Appian Way and Valley View Road

Policy 3-200: The goal of the San Pablo Dam Road Special Concern Area is to ensure the efficient flow of traffic (motorized and non-motorized)... Driveways intersect, interrupting the sidewalk for pedestrians and wheelchair users Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices
& Create Walkable Neighborhoods Strengthen and Direct Development Towards Existing Communities & Foster Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place Smart Growth in El Sobrante Policy 3-161: Change should be harmonized to enhance El Sobrante’s unique semirural/ suburban character and to preserve its scenic environment.

Policy 3-164: Beautification of community: tree planting, landscaping, signage, lighting (Citizens for a Greener El Sobrante)

Policy 3-173: Development of a full service community center

Policy 3-177: Lessen traffic impacts for the existing community, “The County shall work with neighboring jurisdictions to limit the impact of large development on the El Sobrante community”

Policy 3-200: “...create a friendly, attractive, village-like downtown with a town center which includes central open space with surrounding retail services like restaurants, book stores, a movie theater, café, grocery store, weekly farmers market, local art gallery, children services, etc.”

San Pablo Dam Road mixed use designation envisions a "town square or pedestrian plaza for the block along San Pablo Dam Road between Hillcrest Avenue and Pitt Way which contains the Mechanics Bank." Tree planting has been approved by the County along San Pablo Dam Rd between El Portal and Appain Way Proposed site of rain gardens through Citizens for a Greener El Sobrante Possible location for pedestrian plaza between Hillcrest and Pitt Way with connector road. Parking spaces could easily be converted for the plaza View of empty Mechanics Bank parking lot Create a Range of Housing Opportunities and Choices Policy 3-177: To improve the provision of urban services, enhance quality of life of area residents, and decrease environmental impacts, the addition of housing units will be focused in the urban core and sprawl development in the surrounding areas, particularly the hillside areas, should be restricted.
Policy 3-179: This plan calls for residential development to be directed primarily to areas where infilling of previously "passed over" property can occur Triangle Area, Valley View Rd. Empty Lot for sale on Appian Way Deep, underutilized PJ's parking lot on San Pablo Dam Rd. Empty lot on Appian Way Infill Opportunities in Urban Core Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty and Critical Environmental Areas Policy 3-172: The El Sobrante community values healthy living and places great value on local opportunities for outdoor recreation. According to the 2001 El Sobrante Valley Parks Study, the community lacks sufficient park and recreation space to adequately serve area residents

Policy 3-174: To the extent possible, efforts will be made to enhance public view of the creek, particularly San Pablo Creeks as it runs along San Pablo Dam Road.

Policy 3-181: Areas outside the present and committed area of service capability of EBMUD and West Contra Costa Sanitary District are to be retained in the Open Space category

Policy 3-182: Retain ridgelines Possible location for a community park, as proposed by Citizens for a Greener El Sobrante. Currently the parcel contains an old gas station and one house (same owner, willing to sell). A park here would access San Pablo Creek and could house a community/visitor center. Only two bus lines connect El Sobrante's downtown to Richmond BART directly. There are no bus lines running from El Sobrante to Del Norte or Orinda BART stations Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair and Cost Effective &Encourage Community and Stakeholder Collaboration in Development Decisions Policy 3-204: "The community’s desire to develop a creekside boardwalk or linear park along the north side of San Pablo Dam Road is encouraged subject to further community process, review, and study"

Community groups like Citizens for a Greener El Sobrante and El Sobrante Renew are working hard to actively participate in decision making and in shaping El Sobrante's future development Thank You!
The End is Just the Beginning... By: Kimberly Hazard
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