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East Palo Alto General Plan Update & Westside Area Plan

East Palo Alto, California
Firm Role
Street design, bicycle, pedestrian & transit planning, parking and transportation demand management policy, transportation impact analyses
2014-2016; adopted October 2016
29,000 residents, 2.64 square miles
Honors & Awards
  • 2017 Award of Merit for a Comprehensive Plan from the APA Northern California Section

The City of East Palo Alto engaged a team led by Raimi + Associates to comprehensively update its General Plan. As part of the effort, the team also created a plan for the city’s Westside, which provides a significant share of the San Francisco Peninsula’s affordable housing stock. While a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard, Patrick Siegman led the transportation aspects of the plan.

To reach people throughout this ethnically diverse city, the team led an engagement process that included two advisory committees, a dozen workshops, pop-up events, and focus groups. This multilingual outreach led to a broadly-supported vision.

The updated General Plan introduces a new focus on housing affordability, public health, infrastructure deficiencies, limited access to jobs, and sustainability. The plan’s transportation policies are designed to help address these needs.

Key transportation strategies include a Vision Zero policy, which places safety first and foremost; supportive policies and plans for traffic calming, bicycle, and pedestrian networks; transit-priority streets; new bicycle and pedestrian-friendly street types; and performance measures that prioritize safety over roadway widening. The plan replaces a proposed high-speed bayfront expressway with a bicycle and pedestrian trail that reconnects the city to its waterfront. It also includes curb parking management strategies to alleviate shortages, without the need for excessive minimum parking requirements.

The plan was unanimously adopted by the City Council in 2016 and won the 2017 Comprehensive Planning Award of Merit from the Northern California Section of the American Planning Association.

Images courtesy of Raimi + Associates