Outstanding local government planning and development and environmental projects were celebrated during the fourth annual presentation of the Growing Smarter Together Awards at the Association of Bay Area Governments’ Spring General Assembly on April 22, 2010. Through six award categories, the following award winners were recognized: the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Contra Costa, the City of Livermore, the City of Richmond, the City of Albany, and Beverly Lane, Vice President of the East Bay Park District Board of Directors. These award winners have made a significant contribution to strengthen and support existing communities and to create healthy communities with a diversity of housing, jobs, services, transit efficiency, and conservation efforts.
Sharing the Benefits Award Category
The City and County of San Francisco Embedding Equity into Smart Growth: Eastern Neighborhoods Program received the Sharing the Benefits award for using innovation and best practices to avoid displacement or other adverse impacts, while promoting community revitalization and small business retention. The program has resulted in over 2,500 affordable housing units, thousands of working-wage jobs, 1,000 new child care spaces, and up to four acres of new parks. In addition, new transit infrastructure, including the 16th Street transit link between BART and the Third Street Light Rail, and up to 10 miles of improved pedestrian ways, bike lanes, and green streets have been put in place through this program.
On the Ground – FOCUSed Growth Award Category
This On the Ground award recognizes the Contra Costa Centre Transit Village, a major transit-oriented, mixed-use community of residential, employment and retail uses in a compact setting around BART’s Pleasant Hill Station. The Transit Village is a 140-acre master-planned transit community located where BART, I-680, the Iron Horse Trail, and a future light-rail corridor converge. At completion, the Contra Costa Centre Transit Village will consist of 2.8 million square feet of commercial development, 2,800 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail, 3,500 square feet of civic use, and over eight acres of green space. Conceived during a County Specific Plan initiative in 1983, the Transit Village has leveraged the regional accessibility of the area around the Pleasant Hill BART Station and used public and private investments that began in the early 1980s.
Building a Better Bay Area – Urban Design Award Category
This Urban Design award was presented to the City of Livermore—Implementation of Downtown Specific Plan which relocated a former state highway and an aging commercial area into a mixed-use district that supports affordable moderate to high density housing, streetscape and pedestrian enhancements, employment and retail, and improved access to transit. The Livermore Specific Plan covers a 272 acre redevelopment area. This plan and project have resulted in an impressive transformation with new housing, new streetscapes and catalyst commercial projects, promoting downtown community use and access.
The City of Richmond Civic Center Revitalization Project was the second Urban Design award winner. Richmond was recognized for revitalizing its 1950s-era Civic Center. The City of Richmond surpassed the planned Silver LEED standards by reducing water use and runoff control, and installing solar panels and state of the art window glazing systems. The project resulted in a restored Timothy Phfulger designed Civic Center, new office space, and Gold LEED certification, while maintaining the building’s complex historical significance. A public art project included historical renderings and work from recognized local artists, numerous paintings, elevator etchings, and a plaza sculpture and water feature.
Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award Category
The Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award was presented to City of Albany Codornices Creek Restoration Project, a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency project involving the City of Albany, the City of Berkeley, and the University of Berkeley. The project restored habitat to native Steelhead Trout and improved water conveyance. The restoration also constructed a bicycle/pedestrian spur trail connection between BART, urban areas and the Bay Trail. The project is next to low income University student housing and provided recreational and educational resources in conjunction with non-profit organizations. Codornices Creek Restoration now provides a native riparian “environmental oasis” in the midst of a very urban and densely populated area.
Distinguished Leadership Award Category
Beverly Lane, Vice President of the East Bay Park District Board of Directors, was recognized for leadership and visionary efforts in creating and expanding the Iron Horse Trail. Lane’s inspiration and commitment have been instrumental in creation and expansion of the Iron Horse Trail, a paved 30 mile, multi-use trail, which stretches from Marsh Drive in Concord to the BART Station in Dublin. The Trail Intersects with the Contra Costa Canal Trail in Walnut Creek and is a real-world example of a successful urban multi-use trail, a regional resource and model for future trail and park planners. Lane’s formal connection and leadership efforts began over 25 years ago when she served on the first Town of Danville Council. She was a founding Member of the Right of Way Trail Advocates, a grass roots organization founded in 1984 to promote establishment of a multi-use trail along the San Ramon Valley, a portion of the Southern Pacific Railroad right of way. Beverly Lane’s dedication and perseverance helped push the trail expansion much further north than originally planned to the City of Martinez and more recently south to Pleasanton. Lane has served on the Park District Board of Directors since 1994.
View 2010 Growing Smarter Together Award winning project video at http://www.abag.ca.gov/smarter.html.