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Meriam Park Traditional Neighborhood Development Plan

Chico, California
Firm Role
Street design, traffic analysis, parking and transportation demand management plan, coding
2003-2006, adopted March 2007
270-acre site with 3,200 residences, up to 1,187,000 square feet of retail, commercial and civic space, and 68 acres of open space
Honors & Awards
  • 2010 Catalyst Project for California Sustainable Strategies, Silver Award, from the California Department of Housing & Community Development

In 2003, New Urban Builders set out to build new neighborhoods, modeled on Chico’s rich tradition of compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. To accomplish this, New Urban Builders assembled a design team led by architect Leon Krier to plan a 270-acre infill site in this northern California college town. The team crafted the plan in a seven-day public design charrette, working closely with City staff and neighbors to arrive at a vision with broad support.

The Meriam Park plan creates two distinct neighborhoods. Each has a wide range of destinations within a five-minute walk. Shops, restaurants, offices, and civic buildings frame a new main street and central plaza. A new courthouse, schools, houses of worship, parks and greenways, and a site for a 5,000-seat baseball park round out the mix.

Patrick Siegman led the team’s transportation planning efforts while a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting. This included preparing conceptual designs for the neighborhood’s slender streets and redesigning the high-speed roads ringing the site as tree-lined multiway boulevards. The work also included preparing a parking management plan to ensure efficient sharing, a transportation demand management plan to minimize traffic, and a trip generation analysis that takes into account the traffic-reducing benefits of mixed-use neighborhoods.

The City Council enthusiastically approved the plan’s Traditional Neighborhood Development Code in 2007, adopting it as an optional citywide code to encourage its emulation by other developers. In 2010, Meriam Park was honored by the State of California as one of 13 Catalyst Projects for Sustainable Strategies, for serving as a model of how to build sustainable and economically vibrant communities.

Images courtesy of New Urban Builders and Seth Harry