Year: 2019

In memoriam: Pioneering equity planner Norman Krumholz, FAICP

In memoriam: Pioneering equity planner Norman Krumholz, FAICP

Said equity planning was not radical

By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, December 21, 2019

“Former Cleveland city planning director Norman Krumholz, one of the nation’s most respected and progressive city planners, died December 21, 2019, in Rockville, Maryland. He was 92.

Norman Krumholz, FAICP. APA file photo

“Krumholz was part of a generation of urban thinkers who reacted against federally-funded Urban Renewal projects that displaced low income and minority residents.

“As planning director and later as a professor at Cleveland State University, Krumholz became a widely known advocate for equity planning, holding that planners should work to improve life for the city’s poorest residents rather than serve powerful interests in big development projects.

“Krumholz put his philosophy to work as Cleveland’s city planning director from 1969 to 1979, during the administration of Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of a major American city.

“Instead of producing a traditional plan for the physical development of Cleveland, Krumholz led the formulation of the city’s ‘Policy Planning Report’ — which the American Planning Association (APA) later called “a pioneering work that is the first example of equity planning being broadly applied in an American city.” APA designated the report a National Planning Landmark in 2003.

“The report stated that, ‘in a context of limited resources and pervasive inequalities, priority must be given to promoting a wider range of choices for those who have few, if any, choices.’ ” It was no accident, then, that the notion of “equity planning” began appearing in APA publications in the 1970s.

“Krumholz said equity planning was not radical in nature, calling it instead an appropriate way to address the ‘inherently exploitative nature’ of urban development, which sorts people by social class and consigns ‘the poorest and darkest to the central city or first-ring suburbs.’ ”

Norman Krumholz received his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in 1965. He became assistant director of the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, a post he held until moving to Cleveland in 1969. After 10 years as Cleveland’s planning director, and then leading the Cleveland Center for Neighborhood Development (1979-1984), he became a professor in the College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University. He also served on the Cleveland City Planning Commission, 2006-2014.

A longstanding member of APA, Krumholz served as APA president, 1986-1987, was a member of the APA Board, 2002-2005, and was president of AICP, 1999-2001. He received the APA Award for Distinguished Leadership in 1990.

He was the coauthor of several books, including, with John Forester, “Making Equity Planning Work,” 1990. The book is considered a classic, and APA listed it as one of the 100 Essential Books of Planning in the 20th century. The Cleveland Foundation recently funded a follow-up volume, “Advancing Equity Planning Now” (Cornell, 2018). Krumholz edited the volume and wrote the introduction. In 1999, with Dennis Keating, Krumholz co-authored “Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods.”

In 2003, Krumholz was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners, which recognized him as “a developer of equity planning, an educator to thousands, and an author who inspired a nation of planners.”

In an October 2019 article, “Bringing equity to the forefront of urban planning,” Benjamin Schneider wrote, “Since Krumholz’s tenure in Cleveland, many of his efforts were rolled back, and few other planners even attempted the depth of reforms he advocated. ‘Our model, after all, asked city planners to be what few public administrators are: activist, risk-taking in style, and redistributive in objective,’ Krumholz wrote. Today, the word equity appears on nearly every urban planning document.”

You can read the full obituary in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer here.

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

By Anne-Marie Bissada, RFI, December 13, 2019

“Thanks to the vision and expertise of four trailblazing female architects, some of North America’s iconic cities evolved to ensure a balance between modernism and human urbanism.

“The last major push for urban planners to create new city spaces was after World War II, when towns were expanding rapidly to create a new modern era of suburban living, cars, and highways.

“Among those urban planners were four women — all architects. They are the focus of the documentary City Dreamers by Montreal-based director Joseph Hillel.

“Through rare film clips of the women and the work they did throughout the 20th century, he pieces together the legacy they left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.”

Read the article and see a trailer here.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News December 2019-January 2020 Featured

Northern News


A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

December 2019-January 2020

An American planner in Canada

“Logistically, crossing the border to the north and working as a planner couldn’t have been easier. The position of urban planner is one of 25 recognized under the NAFTA (and soon USMCA) trade agreements that allow an accelerated and simplified immigration process into Canada. All I needed was a job offer letter, copies of my résumé and planning degree, and a simple application form submitted at the border.”

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

SB 234 (Skinner), signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2019, makes every licensed large-family child care home a permitted use by right, just like small-family child care homes. Although the new law will go into effect January 1, 2020, some local planning departments are already getting a head start to support their communities. (Article by Julia Frudden and Andrew Mogensen, AICP.)

Meet a local planner – Danielle DeRuiter-Williams

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Danielle DeRuiter-Williams, Co-Founder and Head of Growth and Expansion at The Justice Collective in Oakland, a women-of-color-led social impact consultancy. Ms. DeRuiter-Williams recently spoke at the two-session Chapter President’s panel, “Cultural and Implicit Bias Training for Planners,” at the APA California 2019 conference in Santa Barbara. In this interview, Ms. Kidd asks what The Justice Collective was intended to accomplish, and what challenges Danielle DeRuiter-Williams has faced and is facing.

Getting downtowns moving with convenient and sustainable access

More than 30 local residents, stakeholders, and policymakers attended and participated in a spirited discussion around the opportunities for — and constraints around — accessing busy downtowns through more sustainable modes, the role parking management plays in increasing access and mitigating congestion, and the idea that building affordable housing near job centers is a TDM measure.

A community engagement project: Toward a Vision for the Alum Rock Community of San Jose

“The goal of this graduate student ‘capstone’ project was to assist San Jose’s Alum Rock community in creating a vision for future development in the area, focusing on and incorporating community engagement. To that end, we interviewed area residents, businesses, and community leaders to help understand the assets and issues they prioritized. Our engagement with local residents included two phases: community assessment (data collection and analysis) and a collaborative community engagement event.” Illustrated.

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Northern Section announcements

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

The California Protected Areas Database and the California Conservation Easement Database have just been updated and are available for free download. CPAD and CCED are California’s authoritative parks and open space databases. They cover more than 15,000 parks and other protected areas, held by 1,000 agencies and nonprofits.

Northern Section election result

In a Section-wide election held in November, Michael P. Cass was elected to continue as Northern Section’s Treasurer for a two-year term, commencing January 1, 2020. He had been appointed Treasurer in March 2019 to fill a vacancy.

Libby Tyler, FAICP, is a 2020 Dale Prize Winner

The $5,000 prize recognizes excellence in urban and regional planning. Two prizes will be awarded at Cal Poly Pomona March 5 and 6, 2020.

Last chance to register for the May 2020 AICP EXAM

Our spring workshops are an excellent way to start studying for the May 2020 exam. Those who attend receive hundreds of multiple choice practice test questions, with answers and rationales, plus study materials such as a summary of the classic planning texts and our unique “Tips on the AICP Exam.”

Houston is calling: NPC Member-only registration through January 8

If you plan on going to Houston April 25–28, register now. Through January 8, you will have exclusive access to claim tickets for mobile workshops, orientation tours, and other popular activities.

Who’s where

In this segment, we cover three new appointments to the Northern Section Board and four job changes from the Peninsula to the North Bay: Della Acosta, AICP; Curtis Banks, AICP; Leslie Carmichael, AICP; Zachary Dahl, AICP; Veronica Flores; Gillian Hayes; and Edgar Maravilla. Congratulations all!

Northern Section Holiday Party kicks off the Season

Photos by Northern Section Webmaster Tom Holub. Some 100+ attended the Nov. 22 event at La Peña Cultural Center, a longtime Berkeley institution.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Improving road safety in Oakland with equity

“When we ride out, we ride down the middle of the-street,” one resident told OakDOT. To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity in 2019 to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”

Special Mobile Home zoning OK’d to save affordable housing

“Advocates said they hope to prevent conversions at a time when owners could be tempted to redevelop the properties to capitalize on rising housing and land costs. Such conversions have occurred in high-cost areas elsewhere in California, where mobile home parks are one of the few remaining sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, county officials said.”

San Diego looks to scrap residential density limits, use FAR instead

“San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opening another salvo in his administration’s efforts to address the city’s housing affordability crisis by proposing the ‘Complete Communities Housing Solutions Initiative,’ a scheme that looks beyond simply building new housing to embrace holistic urban development. The proposal [would] refocus the zoning code to incentivize the development of smaller units and allow housing developers to offer community amenities that are decoupled from auto-oriented uses.”

San Diego city council strengthens inclusionary requirements

The new law requires developers to make 10 percent of the homes they build available to low-income renters — those earning 60 percent of Area Median Income — or pay an in lieu fee of $25 per square foot to opt out of the inclusionary requirement.

Worth a look: SF’s most underrated buildings

Curbed San Francisco readers reveal the local unpraised buildings they love most.

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

Northern Section Holiday Party, November 22

Don’t miss out on the annual Northern Section Holiday Party at the festive La Peña Cultural Center, a Berkeley icon since 1975. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere among your friends and colleagues, with delicious food and drinks from Los Cilantros, and live music from the Wasska Project

For tickets, please register here and join us for a fun evening of laughter and good cheer! 

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Northern Section Holiday Party is a great opportunity to spread cheer and raise money for the California Planning Foundation student scholarship fund. Please help by donating items for the raffle, such as gift baskets, gift certificates, artwork, or anything that planners may enjoy. We have also added more options to make donating even easier!

Sponsorship level


Silver ($100+)

  • Recognition in the promotional materials
  • 1 raffle prize created on behalf of your business
  • 1 ticket to the event & 2 raffle tickets

Gold ($200+)

  • Recognition in the promotional materials
  • 2 raffle prizes created on behalf of your business
  • 2 tickets to the event & 4 raffle tickets

Platinum ($300+)

  • Recognition in the promotional materials
  • 3 raffle prizes created on behalf of your business, OR
  • Sponsorship of live music, OR
  • Sponsorship of the hosted bar
  • 2 tickets to the event & 4 raffle tickets

We are happy to accept any contribution large or small. Please commit donations by Friday, November 15 so all sponsors can be recognized on promotional materials. Cash donations (and event ticket purchases) can be made using the event registration page.

Gift donations can be sent to a board member or brought directly to the event. For questions or to volunteer please contact Della Acosta at For auction details and sponsorship opportunities please contact Libby Tyler at

Thanks to our sponsors!

Platinum level

Gold level

Silver level

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

From an article by Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019.

“Rider Levett Bucknall, a construction project management company, [conducts] a semi-annual international Crane Count.

“As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?

“Two things can be true: San Francisco’s crane count is almost half that of Seattle, and its affordability crisis is more severe. The average rent for a Golden Gate one-bedroom reached $3,700 this year, while in Seattle that figure is $2,130. [And] 78 percent of Seattle cranes were building mixed-use and residential projects in January, while in San Francisco, only 35 percent were involved in housing.

“RLB doesn’t factor affordability into their analysis, but most of the luxury housing being sold on the San Francisco market is part of existing housing stock, not new apartments, according to a 2017 analysis by the Urban Institute. At least some of this crane-related activity is easing, not exacerbating, the city’s housing crisis.

“The last count found cranes concentrated in South of Market (SOMA) and Portrero Hill, where multifamily projects have been rising. Construction was also active in Parnassus Heights, where UCSF’s Medical Center was growing.

“When the final count was released in July, North America’s overall crane count had jumped yet again, for the fourth consecutive year. But San Francisco’s count had again decreased, one of only three cities to see slumps. The decrease was probably due to the completion of two major projects, the new Chase Arena and the UCSF medical center.

“Counting tower cranes might not be the best way to track the real momentum of a city’s construction scene: Sorely needed missing-middle housing, like duplexes and fourplexes, don’t require the same construction gear. But for now, it’s the best RLB’s got.”

Read the full article here.



FEATURED ARTICLES: Meet a local planner — Leah Greenblat • Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park? • Reclaiming Downtown for People • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORTHERN SECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law • Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern • State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions • Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office • Who’s where • Sign up for mentoring • CPF wants YOU • Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, six articles excerpted and linked.

Northern News October 2019
Above photo of the San Francisco skyline, looking south from Tiburon, is by George Osner. "Meet a local planner" returns in this issue.

Northern News October 2019

Northern News


A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Northern Section announcements

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.

Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern Section

The term of Treasurer, an elected APA California – Northern Section Board position, will end on December 31, 2019. A Nominations Committee is soliciting and will review applications. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term commencing January 1, 2020.

State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions

14 California cities (four in Northern Section) got a total of $3.15 million in SB 2 planning grants, and CDBG funds totaling $21.7 million were awarded to 18 of California’s smaller cities and counties, including five in Northern Section.

Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office

This was the first election in which the new board position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity was on the ballot.

Who’s where

Diana Benitez is the new Planners4Health Coordinator, Northern Section. Izanie Love, Student Representative to the Northern Section Board from San Jose State University. Amy Lyle, new North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). See their photos and brief bios.


APA California – Northern is recruiting its 2019-2020 Mentorship Class, a career development initiative that offers one-on-one matching between young planners and experienced professionals who serve as mentors. JOIN BY OCTOBER 18, 2019.

The California Planning Foundation wants YOU

CPF is recruiting APA California members to run for elected CPF Board positions. Here’s the Schedule: Nominations Submittal Deadline, October 21, 2019. Slate Approval and Voting by Email Ballot, November 4 through December 2, 2019.

Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, awards companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. Now nominate for “Built Environment,” a category added for the 2020 awards.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

From an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab, with eight large color photos, Sept. 3, 2019. “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.”

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019

“The Bay Area added 5,100 [non-farm payroll] jobs during August. The upswing was led by the region’s three major employment hubs, the South Bay, East Bay, and San Francisco-San Mateo region, the state’s Employment Development Department reported. Mark Vitner, senior economist with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank, said ‘The region continues to be on a roll because the tech sector is the fastest growing part of the economy.’

“The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. Over the one-year period that ended in August, job totals grew by 2.5 percent in the Bay Area [even with job losses of 1,900 in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties. That compares to a 1.4 percent gain nationally and 1.8 percent in California.]

“[This is] the first time, the Bay Area has had more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs. The last time the nine-county region suffered a job loss was in October 2018, EDD statistics show.

“Plus, the types of jobs appearing in the South Bay and San Mateo regions are well-paying tech positions. It appears the tech sector has yet to cool off in the Bay Area, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. ‘The job growth in these areas is fantastically positive in terms of income gains,’ Levy said. ‘They are information jobs, professional, scientific, and technical positions, tech jobs, categories that are higher-paying and faster-growing.’ ”

Read the full article here. 

Reclaiming Downtown for People
Gateway Alternative: A rendering (by Opticos Design, Inc.) of a slower speed, more pedestrian-oriented “gateway” at the existing 5-point Mission and Foothill Boulevard intersection, part of the Plan’s long-term vision. (Page 4, mobility).

Reclaiming Downtown for People

Downtown Hayward Specific Plan, Code, and EIR

By Henry Pontarelli


The City of Hayward is in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its once thriving Downtown has faced the loss of retailers to outlying malls and pressures from big-box stores, online shopping, vacancies, and underutilized properties, and the evolution to an auto-oriented street and neighborhood pattern.


The Downtown also integrated a Bypass Alternative (called the “Loop”) meant to alleviate regional traffic congestion, but which has brought high local traffic volumes and speeds, barriers to pedestrians and cyclists, and detracted from the community’s goals for a safe, beautiful, walkable, bikeable, and family-oriented destination.

Existing Roadway Network: Hayward’s existing Downtown street network. The one-way Alternative Bypass is highlighted in red.

In 2014, the City secured funding for a comprehensive planning effort in a Downtown Specific Plan, Code and EIR (alternately referred to as Plan or Project) — a comprehensive assessment of existing conditions and substantive input from the community and City staff. The Project also featured the collaboration from a team of experts in urban planning, zoning codes, transportation, community design, retail, economics, and environmental compliance led by Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. (LWC). The final Plan was driven by the community’s vision to be a regional destination, celebrated for its distinct history, culture, and diversity; providing shopping, entertainment, employment, and housing options for residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds; and accessible by bike, foot, public transit, and car.

The Plan showcases goals, policies, and programs to address mobility, infrastructure, and design, and identifies potential funding sources, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for implementation. At the urging of the community, the Plan turns one of the Loop’s most dangerous and least pedestrian-friendly intersections into a multi-modal gateway to the city. The Project also included updating the City’s Downtown land development code and fulfilled California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements.

After over two and a half years of hard work and determination, the Hayward City Council approved the Plan unanimously in April 2019 with support from local unions that pledged to work side-by-side with the city to build more housing, more businesses, and make Hayward stronger.


In 2014, the City of Hayward undertook a $1.12 million Downtown Specific Plan, Form-Based Code, and EIR (Plan) with the help of a generous grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). The grant funded the Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR), with the City funding the Code update. The Plan met ACTC’s mission to “deliver a broad range of projects and programs to enhance mobility throughout Alameda County.” Focused on downtown land uses, the City established priorities for revitalizing flagging business conditions, addressing vacancies and underutilized parcels, fixing a transportation pattern best suited for moving cars through downtown at near highway speeds, and preparing the city for the onrushing future.

Through a public bidding process, the City hired San Francisco-based Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc., to write the Specific Plan, update the code, lead the community engagement, and manage a team of top-tier consultants. The team included Nelson\Nygaard and Kittleson & Associates on transportation planning and modeling, Opticos Design Inc. on community design, Sherwood Design Engineers on civil infrastructure and integrating natural features, MJB Consulting on retail strategies, and Placeworks on the EIR.

The City of Hayward lies in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite vacancies, the downtown has established businesses, and it has seen some new business activity. The Downtown’s core offers an attractive, pedestrian-friendly street grid, parks, creek, public gardens, dozens of historic properties, and proximity to one of the busiest non-urban Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations. However, like many East Bay communities, it has been difficult to catch the fire for housing demand and business growth in nearby San Francisco, Oakland, and Silicon Valley. Through a comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted scope of services, the City sought to assess and understand the forces that affect the Downtown, get a solid read on community sentiment, and develop a feasible set of policies and programs that could bring about positive change and better prepare the city for the future. By including a Code Update and EIR as part of the Specific Plan, the City assured the Plan’s implementation.

The Plan is built on a foundation of urban planning in Hayward, including:

  • Downtown Design Plan and Core Area Plan (1992)
  • City of Hayward Design Guidelines (1993)
  • Retail Site Assessment (2009)
  • Envision Downtown Hayward (2012)
  • 2040 General Plan (2014) and
  • Economic Development Strategic Plan (2014-2018).


From the outset, the City emphasized substantive outreach, and reliance on the community for an insider’s perspective that led to the Vision Statement, which in turn set the course for the Project and the foundation for policies and programs. The community’s high-profile role generated a sense of ownership and support for the Plan. Engagement events were noticed via the City website, Facebook, Twitter, local newspapers, flyers, email invitations to a list of interested parties and individuals established early in the Project, and word of mouth as City staff canvased Downtown businesses to spread the word. Those efforts included:

  • Personal interviews with City Staff, civic leaders, elected officials, special interest groups
  • 2 Planning Commission and City Council Work Sessions
  • 2 Council Infrastructure Committee Meetings
  • 3 Public workshops
  • 5-day Charette with all consultants that attracted 100 people
  • 6 Hayward Downtown Specific Plan Task Force Meetings
  • 4 Public Hearings
  • Online survey, and
  • Project webpage.
Charette: The team presents findings on potential alternatives at the end of day two of a four-day design charette that attracted nearly 100 attendees.

Vision Statement: Downtown Hayward is a regional destination, celebrated for its distinct history, culture, and diversity; providing shopping, entertainment, employment, and housing options for residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds; that is accessible by bike, foot, public transit, and car.

Opening Workshop: The first of six Specific Plan Task Force workshops, all open to the public.

Challenges in Downtown Hayward are not unique: a street grid that has evolved to better accommodate cars than pedestrians and cyclists; rushing people through the area. The downtown is also challenged by the rise of online shopping: Over the years it has seen the loss of retailers, drawn away to malls, as well as the loss of key anchors like Mervyn’s headquarters. Many of these shifts have left vacant properties, invited squatting and graffiti-based vandalism, and left negative impacts on Downtown Hayward’s image.

One of the unique features of Downtown Hayward is the “Loop” — a Bypass Alternative routed directly through Downtown Hayward to ease congestion on State Route 238. The “Loop” comprises five- to seven-lane one-way streets that direct commuters north and south precisely through the middle of Downtown Hayward. It was completed in 2013 after decades of planning and negotiations. What was seen as a possible solution to regional traffic problems has led to a “local” disruption of traffic patterns, and has become a major pedestrian barrier and a source of high speeds where the community envisions a destination for all ages.

With a history of sound urban planning and community development, Hayward has been effective at addressing issues head on. Examples are a Mural Art Program that engages artists, schools, property owners, and police to increase public art and significantly reduce graffiti-based vandalism to approving catalytic redevelopment; housing and mixed-use projects; and attracting investment for anchor projects like Hayward’s 21st Century Library and Heritage Plaza.

The Downtown Specific Plan, Code, and EIR represent a major investment and a strategic step for the City. The Project is meant to enable and solidify recent advances and set a path for a more resilient city.

Downtown Specific Plan: The Plan and is presented in three chapters: Community Design; Mobility; and Infrastructure and Services. With an eye on implementation and coordination of funding, the Implementation Program includes goals, policies, and programs for each major topic, which are sorted by short term (up to five years), medium (five to 10 years) and long-term (11 to 15 years) timeframe for completion.


The policies and programs aim at implementing the community vision of a downtown that offers a beautiful and safe pedestrian-oriented environment for all ages to enjoy day or night, with sufficient and attractive lighting, sidewalk amenities, landscaping, and inviting ground floor frontages. The implementation program goes further to identify a wide variety of housing types to meet the economic and physical needs of a diverse population and capitalize on its location and existing amenities to capture more retail sales tax revenue and become a national model for the revitalization of mid-size cities. Community design strategies stress context-appropriate design standards, enhancement and integration of natural features into new and existing development, preservation of arts and history, leveraging public spaces and public transit, and improving connectivity through better signage and integrated design.


The policies, programs, and performance criteria in the Plan are aimed at street modifications and enhancements to make the Downtown more of a destination by better integration with public transit (local and regional bus service and BART), protected bike lanes, bulb outs and median refuges, reduced crossing widths, integration of green infrastructure (tree wells, planting strips), and smarter, “unbundled” strategies for parking. The implementation program also features transitioning the “Loop” into two-way, slower speed, more pedestrian-oriented roadways with significant improvements at Mission and Foothill Boulevards, converting the 5-point intersection into a gateway to the city.

Gateway Alternative: A rendering (by Opticos Design, Inc.) of a slower speed, more pedestrian-oriented “gateway” at the existing 5-point Mission and Foothill Boulevard intersection, part of the Plan’s long-term vision.


These policies, programs and performance criteria aim to assure the City has access to sufficient potable water, sewage transmission and treatment capacity, stormwater drainage, and power to meet the demands of the buildout established in the Plan, as well as encouraging on-site water retention, filtration, and recycling. The infrastructure and services section also addresses schools, and approaches to meet the City’s standards for access to parks and open space. This section also looks at current capacity of, and ongoing needs for, fire, police, hospital, emergency, homeless services, and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) — more eyes on the street, better lighting, and landscaping that deters untoward activity.


What makes a Specific Plan a particularly effective tool is the requirement to include implementation and financing measures to carry out policies and programs. The Hayward Downtown Specific Plan sets seven goals, proposes 48 policies, and recommends 129 programs. Each Implementation Program identifies the responsible party, time frame, and potential funding source for each program. Each program is assigned a responsible party to help ensure continued commitment by City staff, elected officials, and other partners. In addition, to help establish priorities, the Plan includes anticipated timeframes for implementation. Short-term programs are anticipated to be implemented within the first four years of Plan adoption, mid-term programs would be accomplished within five to 10 years, and long-term programs in 11 years or more.

The Implementation section also lists existing and potential funding sources. The Plan acknowledges that fund availability and sources will change over time, and that achieving the Plan’s vision relies heavily on those funds for proposed programs.


This Code is a regulatory tool for implementing the goals, policies, and programs of the Plan, while maintaining consistency with existing ordinances and applicable laws. The Zoning Code focuses on and establishes zones, land use regulations, development standards for building height, setbacks, lot coverage, building and frontage types, as well as general development standards for fencing, civic space, and parking, and new administrative and permit procedures to give administrators some flexibility. The updated code assures that the goals for development are “legal” and where possible, incentivized. The Code was updated concurrently with the Specific Plan — and focused on empowering the community Vision — to reclaim Downtown for people through more attractive and contextually appropriate frontages and a more inclusive human-scale public realm.


After two and a half years of hard work by the City, the community, and the Consultant Team, the Specific Plan, Code and EIR were approved unanimously by the City Council in April 2019. The City’s commitment to transparency and investment in community engagement was evident in the final hearing: Council members and the public, including the Carpenter’s Union Local 713 and local Sheet Metal Worker’s Local 104, spoke in support of the Plan. The unions pledged to work side-by-side with the City to build more housing, more businesses, and a stronger, more attractive city.

You can view or download the 350-page Hayward Downtown Specific Plan and Code here.

Henry Pontarelli is vice president and co-founder of Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. In the past 13 years, the firm has grown to 18 staff, with offices in San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  Henry’s role at LWC  focuses on marketing, communications, HR, contracts, and risk management, as well as picking up the tab at staff happy hours.


Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019

Some “53 percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber. Uber tried to railroad its way into Vancouver in 2012, but British Columbia regulators notified the company that the province’s official minimum rate for limousines was $75 per trip.

“Ever since, Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies (TNCs) have been snowed out of the region. Vancouver appears to be the last major city in North America with an effective ban on the app-based services.

“But those days are numbered. Applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and a requisite insurance package became available on September 16. Uber and Lyft have officially applied.

“In contrast with U.S. cities that have rushed to be first to the table with new mobility offerings — be they autonomous cars, hyperloops, or drones — Vancouver may prove that it pays to be last.

“Over the years, Vancouver has watched as its peers have dealt with the darker sides of Uber and Lyft: muddy passenger safety records, negative impacts on congestion and emissions, flouting of local regulations, and widely criticized labor practices.

“Now B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic that being a last-adopter will prove to be a virtue. They hope that strict data-sharing requirements, a stringent licensing scheme for drivers, and a long-term vision to mitigate added traffic with fees on curbside access and downtown streets at rush hour will help make ride-hailing more sustainable here.”

Read the full article here.