The Corridor Plan offers a new vision for the heart of El Sobrante. 1950s-era zoning had left the corridor lined with aging strip malls and gas stations. High-speed traffic and narrow (or absent) sidewalks made biking and walking uncomfortable. These conditions had contributed to disinvestment and decline. The new plan replaces this dysfunctional zoning with land use rules and street designs that incentivize the creation of a compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood.
Contra Costa County engaged a team led by LCA Architects and Planners to prepare the plan. Patrick Siegman led the transportation planning aspects of the project, while a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard. The team crafted the draft plan in an intensive four-day design charrette, working with business and property owners, residents, and County staff to create a broadly-supported vision.
The plan proposes a new public square in the historic downtown core. A greenway and boardwalk along San Pablo Creek will provide respite from busy roadways. Taller buildings are incentivized in the historic core, with a more rural, small-town character elsewhere. Excessive minimum parking mandates, which had hampered reinvestment, are replaced by efficiently-shared public lots and requirements more appropriate to a mixed-use district. New bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian-scale lighting, frequent safe crossings, and a landscaped median will invite people to stop, stroll, shop, and dine.
In 2011, after lengthy environmental reviews, the Board of Supervisors approved a General Plan Amendment that implements the Corridor Plan, setting the stage for its transformation into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly district.
Images courtesy of LCA and Seth Harry