Homesless

Transients and panhandlers are not what’s keeping Downtown Stockton down

Since I’ve returned to Stockton for work after several years on the East Coast, I’ve noticed something quite puzzling in how most Stocktonians view the revitalization of downtown. Many believe ...

scl courthouse old

Will the county leave old courthouse standing in Downtown Stockton?

Is San Joaquin County pulling a fast one on the City of Stockton? The Record’s Mike Fitzgerald reported a few weeks ago that San Joaquin County officials appear to be ...

SJCOG approves “ambitious” transportation plan to reduce pollution and curb sprawl

On Thursday, the board charged with setting priorities for San Joaquin County’s transportation system took a modest step toward a more sustainable future by adopting a regional transportation plan that ...

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Rendering of the Cal Weber 40 project on the corner of Weber and California Streets in Downtown Stockton (c/o ArtifexWest)

Council approves $2.5 million to move Downtown Stockton housing project forward

Construction could begin as early as next March on a forty-unit mixed-use ...
The Hotel Terry was recently purchased by a developer from Oakland who plans to turn the historic building into a first floor farmer's market and market-rate apartments

Will the Hotel Terry be Stockton’s first downtown market-rate residential project?

Not too long ago, the Hotel Terry had a date with a ...
2013 may be the last year that the Asparagus Festival is held downtown as officials are considering a move to the county fairgrounds

Asparagus Festival loss another setback for downtown revitaliztion

After 29 years, a piece of Stockton’s identity is gone. And with ...

our recent work...

A new report by the Council of Infill Builders lays out strategies for revitalizing Central Valley downtowns

Stockton City Council authorizes update of General Plan, creation of Downtown plan

For several years, Stockton’s economic growth has been measured by how much can be built on the periphery of the city. On Tuesday, the city took its first step towards changing the status quo of unmitigated outward expansion of homes and businesses in favor of a comprehensive plan focusing on existing neighborhoods. By a unanimous […]

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Iron Canyon Circle features the city's worst traffic calming attempt

The five worst streets in Stockton

Stockton has a lot of roads. At nearly 62 square miles in size (not counting unincorporated areas), a lot of asphalt is needed to stitch together all the corners of the city. But our roads vary greatly, with some much nicer than others. Many of our streets lack sidewalks and bike lanes, creating unpleasant experiences […]

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Homesless

Stockton’s homeless dilemma goes deeper than mayor’s night on the street

On Thursday, May 15, Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva spent the night in a cardboard box. Silva’s outing at Harrison and Church streets was largely a made-for-media moment — a chance, he said, to draw attention to the plight of the city’s homeless. He also put forward an idea that he hopes can help more people […]

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A new report by the Council of Infill Builders lays out strategies for revitalizing Central Valley downtowns

Area developers and leaders meet to discuss downtown revitalization strategies

“What’s the future going to be like?” asked San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua on a recent evening at the University of the Pacific. “What’s San Joaquin County going to look like?”

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1947973_724947714193923_1333262215_n

Stockton and Central Valley celebrate Bike to Work Week

It’s May. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and, in San Joaquin County, wheels are spinning. Today marks the first official day of the county’s Bike to Work Week, part of the larger national Bike Month celebrated by cities throughout the country which – perhaps surprisingly – Stockton has been participating in for […]

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Stockton, California. Population: 300,899

Stockton officially breaks the 300,000 population mark

After teetering on the edge for a few years, Stockton has officially cracked the 300,000 population mark. According to newly-released California Department of Finance population estimates for 2014, Stockton’s population now stands at 300,899. This represents a 1.1% increase over last year’s population estimate (297,757). Here’s a look at the numbers: -          Stockton remains the 13th […]

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solar-panels-ontario

SCL’s complete guide to home retrofitting incentive programs

Reusing an old building generally has less of an impact on the environment than tearing it down, removing the debris, clearing the site, crafting new materials and building a new structure. This makes basic sense, even without evaluating the numbers. But aren’t new buildings more energy-efficient than their older counterparts? 

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SCL Uber blog pic

Uber service debuts in Stockton

Anyone who has spent time in larger cities such as New York or Washington, D.C., knows how easy it is to get around. Either through public transportation, a cab, or a bikeshare, residents of larger cities usually have a good number of options when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B. In […]

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Health groups are in favor of reducing air pollution, which can be accomplished through strong urban planning

Public health groups enter urban planning fray

At last Thursday’s San Joaquin Council of Government’s Meeting, a few new faces graced the speaker’s podium to comment on the region’s draft Sustainable Community Strategy. Unlike the usual meeting attendees, these speakers were not planners. They were Bill Mitchell, the Public Heath Director of San Joaquin County and Will Barrett, policy manager for the […]

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A new report by the Council of Infill Builders lays out strategies for revitalizing Central Valley downtowns

Report provides path for Downtown Stockton revitalization

A new report from the Council of Infill Builders should be required reading for anyone who hopes to create a vibrant, thriving Downtown Stockton. The document, “Bringing Downtown Back: Ways to Boost Infill Development in the San Joaquin Valley,” is a blueprint for restoring the region’s derelict urban cores. Though it focuses on Kern and Fresno counties […]

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Student's at Venture Academy present their ideal community.

When asked, Stockton youth choose walkability over car dependency

Last week, my colleague from The Cort Group and I had the pleasure of visiting two groups of Stockton-area students at Venture Academy and The First Fifty to discuss cities and urbanism. Our plan was to teach these students about the fundamental characteristics of great neighborhoods and cities. I anticipated that much of our time […]

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There is only one entrance to Oak Grove Park.

The tragedy of Oak Grove Regional Park

Stockton benefits from a handful of good parks. Weber Point, American Legion, and Oak Park are some that come to mind. But the best park in my opinion is also be the city’s most isolated. With roughly 180 acres of bucolic scenery, meandering trails, hundred-year-old oaks, and abundant wildlife, Oak Grove Regional Park is one […]

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An artist’s rendering shows the future 10-acre San Joaquin Regional Transit District's Rapid Transit Center off Filbert Street. (c/o SJRTD)

SJRTD breaks ground on Regional Transit Center

San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD) officials celebrated the start of work on a $51.1 million storage, maintenance and office hub on March 21, saying it will improve the efficiency and reliability of public transportation in San Joaquin County.

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There is already enough single-family housing to meet demand through 2050, according to recent market research

Stockton less sprawling than Portland or Washington DC? Not so fast

Any research claiming that Stockton is more walkable and compact than Portland, Washington, DC or Denver is seriously flawed. But that’s exactly what a smart growth advocacy organization determined last week when it published a report ranking US metro areas by sprawl.

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speed cushion

Speed bumps coming to 14 Stockton neighborhoods

Last night the city authorized a few hundred thousand dollars to construct traffic calming measures in several Stockton neighborhoods. It turns out many of the city’s residential streets are dangerous because cars are going too fast. But we aren’t talking about rural communities or streets in high-crime areas: The majority of roads identified as dangerous […]

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bike-route-sign (1)

Could Bicycle Boulevards encourage more cycling in Stockton?

Stockton, like many other American cities, is taking notice of the changing pace of development, particularly surrounding transportation. What has been an automobile-centric status quo is quickly falling out of vogue, particularly among younger demographics. As car use declines, alternative transportation methods are steadily gaining favor, including expanded use of bicycles. While the cost of adding […]

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There is already enough single-family housing to meet demand through 2050, according to recent market research

Is Stockton’s sprawl making the drought worse?

Stockton in many ways can be considered a model city for what smart growth advocates consider sprawl —single-family residential development extending far from the city core, replacing agricultural land and open space with rooftops and pavement. It’s the type of development that can stretch municipal resources, foster reliance on automobiles and increase vehicle emissions. But […]

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Data shows that fewer Ame

Report: States should repair roads rather than build new ones

America is driving its transportation money straight into the ground. According to a new joint report published by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, states are continuing a dangerous trend of focusing the majority of their transportation funding on the expansion of new roadways and too little on the maintenance and repair of […]

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Is widening I-5 worth the cost?

Stockton officials head to DC to ask for highway money

Next month, city leaders will join other San Joaquin County officials in Washington, DC on their annual lobbying trip, known as One Voice, in hopes of securing federal funding for various projects in Stockton and throughout the county. The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) claims that over $100 million has been appropriated from these […]

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Source: 2008-2009 Waterfront and Fremont Park Neighborhood Master Plan

Public-private partnerships key to Stockton’s Climate Action Plan

The recent release of Stockton’s draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) has garnered much discussion over the past few weeks. In February, the plan was introduced for the first time at a city council meeting. And while reaction from council members was tempered, speakers at the podium weren’t hesitant to convey their own emotions regarding the […]

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Source, US Census Flows Mapper

Census: more young and educated individuals are moving to Stockton

With all of the negative headlines, no one would be surprised to see people leaving Stockton in droves. But somewhat surprisingly, that’s not the case. According to data recently made available by the US Census Bureau, not only are more people moving to the Stockton area than are leaving, but many of these new residents […]

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SJCOG has released it's final draft of the RTP/SCS for public comment. Residents may view the plan and provide feeback at SJCOG.org

New smart growth plan draws praise from most, but skeptics remain

With the release of a new transportation plan last week, the Stockton region is now poised to move to a more infill-focused and less highway-dependent growth pattern, but not without opposition. Last Thursday, the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) released for public comment the long-awaited draft Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)/Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) which […]

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The current site of the proposed Bear Creek East development

Developers backtrack on Bear Creek East

The Stockton City Council avoided a controversial decision regarding future residential growth Tuesday, Feb. 25. Without fanfare, the council allowed developers to drop an appeal of a Dec. 12 Stockton Planning Commission decision to halt a residential project in northern Stockton known as Bear Creek East, a sign that sentiment might be shifting away from […]

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Artist rendering of Google Barge docked in San Francisco (By and Large, LLC)

UPDATED: Google Barge officially headed to Stockton

***UPDATE: CNET is reporting that Google Barge will officially move to Stockton in the next week or so, though there has been no official comment from officials with the city or Port of Stockton. You can read the story here. Just two weeks ago, officials from the tech giant Google came to Stockton to hold […]

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Bear Creek East land use plan (available on the stocktongtov.com)

Why the city council should reject Bear Creek East proposal

***UPDATE: Bear Creek East’s developers have withdrawn their planning commission denial appeal before going Tuesday’s council meeting. The project will be shelving for 18-24 months, per documents provided by the city. SCL will have a full story on the project’s status tomorrow Tonight, the city council will consider the approval of Stockton’s first major residential […]

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The intersection at El Dorado and Flora Streets have on crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to choose between crossing the street illegally or venture several blocks in either direction to find a crosswalk.

Debunking the Myth of the Dangerous Crosswalk

As I drove up El Dorado Street from Downtown Stockton during a recent evening, I noticed a man in a wheelchair waiting to cross the street under the glare of my headlights as I drove past, unimpeded by any stop signs or traffic lights.  I looked around wondering, where would he cross as there were […]

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Stockton's 2035 General Plan land use map approved in 2007

General Plan discussion elicits strong response at council meeting

During a nearly three-hour special study session Tuesday evening, Stockton City Council members were urged to adopt a “new version of normal” in regards to planning for future growth. The session was called for by the newly appointed city-manager Kurt Wilson and featured presentations from the city’s Economic Development Department, the regional San Joaquin Council […]

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Figure 3: Inset from H.M. Gousha Company. “Road Map of California”. Chicago: H.M. Gousha, 1941.
Note: State Route 50 and State Route 99 identified in red.

GUEST POST- A City With No Center: Freeways and the Framing of Stockton

SCL is proud to feature the work of Placeholder Magazine, Stockton’s new arts, literature and culture publication. In the inaugural issue released last month, Placeholder featured two very well-researched and thoughtful essays on the state of Stockton’s physical form. Today we highlight “A City With No Center: Freeways and the Framing of Stockton,” written by Lange […]

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Stockton's Fremont Square has gone from gang hangout to school play area

Two groups aim to transform Fremont Square

Downtown Stockton’s Fremont Square may finally be living up to the characteristics of the visionary explorer it was named after. Long known as a haven for localized drug use and criminal activity, a wave of community interest has flooded the neglected public park, making it a possible starting point in the quest to restore downtown. […]

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If demand is low for parking-- as shown here just south of the waterfront-- should the city be charging for it?

The problem with free downtown street parking

As talk of downtown development grows, the calls to change the neighborhood’s parking policies have also increased. Specifically, many have lobbied the city to eliminate parking meters to spur more visits to the area.  On the surface, eliminating parking meters seems like the panacea for slumping downtown businesses. Why would you pay to park downtown […]

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The Stockton Arena garage

Consultants signal ‘paradigm shift’ for Downtown Stockton parking

The days of searching through pockets and checking under the seat for quarters, dimes and nickels to feed the meter may soon be over in Downtown Stockton. At a public meeting Tuesday evening hosted by the City of Stockton’s Economic Development Department, representatives from two design consulting firms presented their initial ideas for what will […]

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New UOP athletic facility site plan (c/o University of the Pacific)

UPDATED: UOP stadium to be razed, replaced with tennis, soccer and field hockey venues

UPDATED: University officials have provided SCL with an expanded site plan, featuring other facilities such as sand volleyball courts, golf practice greens, and clubhouses. But the most significant upgrade appears to be an expansion of the Spanos Center. There is no timetable for the upgrades. You can see the entire site plan below.  Amos Alonzo […]

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bike

GUEST POST: The Path to a Better Stockton

SCL is proud to feature the work of Placeholder Magazine, Stockton’s new arts, literature and culture publication. In the inaugural issue released last month, Placeholder featured two very well-researched and thoughtful essays on the state of Stockton’s physical form. Today we highlight “The Path to a Better Stockton,” written by Jose Javier Padilla Reyes The fresh breeze of […]

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800px-Downtown_Stockton_California

Welcome to the new Stockton City Limits!

Hello SCL readers. I am proud to announce the launch of a new and expanded Stockton City Limits! In addition to a new, sleeker website, SCL is also expanding its coverage of Stockton and Central Valley-related issues by adding two new staff writers.

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Could the Thunder ever host a game outside at Banner Island Ballpark?

Why don’t the Thunder host a game at Banner Island Ballpark?

Last weekend, the Los Angeles Kings hosted the Anaheim Ducks in a battle of two of the NHL’s top teams. The game itself was not any different than any other regular season hockey match up, except for one detail: the game took place outdoors, at Dodger Stadium, in 70 degree weather. While watching these two […]

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Scenario C

Stockton region moves closer to smart growth plan

Over the past six months, the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) has been assessing various growth scenarios and collaborating with community stakeholders to develop a transportation plan that will greatly affect Stockton-area development patterns for years to come. As a result of this extensive information gathering process, SJCOG has determined that the community prefers […]

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There is already enough single-family housing to meet demand through 2050, according to recent market research

Stockton’s highest-polluting zip codes show need to curb sprawl, promote infill

Last month, I wrote about the well-intentioned but short-sighted green building ordinance under consideration by the city that would have required costly upgrades for energy efficiency in the renovation of older homes. In the article, I wrote that while older homes indeed use more energy, these emissions pale in comparison to automobile emissions from newer […]

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Will Barack Obama's administration be sending help to Stockton?

Friday notes: New Obama, Brown proposals could affect development in Stockton

Happy Friday, everyone. Yesterday was a busy day for sustainable development advocates as a flurry of initiatives and budget proposals were released that could have a significant impact, especially in Stockton. At the federal level, a new initiative to help struggling cities was announced, while new proposals in California spell out how funding may be […]

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Sperry Flour Company mill

The top 5 buildings in Stockton that should NOT have been demolished

In 2012, I wrote a story entitled “The top five buildings in Stockton that deserve to be demolished” about what I thought to be the city’s ugliest buildings. The post quickly became one of SCL’s most read, and is still in the top five to this day. And while it’s easy to pick out buildings […]

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Stockton wastes valuable farm land for parking lots that sit empty most of the time.

Why are Stockton’s parking lots so big and empty?

“We need these extra parking spaces for holiday shoppers.” This is the standard response from city planners or big box retailers when asked to explain why there is so much empty parking at newer shopping centers. While these parking lots sit empty nearly the entire year, apologists will invoke the holiday rush between Thanksgiving and […]

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Will Stockton's new city hall space be at 400 E. Main Street?

Stockton to lease space at 400 East Main for new city hall

Back in 2007, city leaders purchased the building at 400 East Main Street to serve as Stockton’s new city hall. Nearly seven years later, the city will finally move into the building, but under remarkably different circumstances. As part of Stockton’s plan of adjustment for exiting bankruptcy, Stockton city hall offices will lease 65,000 square […]

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The current site of the proposed Bear Creek East development

Bear Creek East development proposed in north Stockton

Yesterday The Record’s Scott Smith reported on a proposed new development dubbed Bear Creek East on the northern edge of the city that will include around 1,500 to 2,000 new homes. The project is being put forward by a group known as MCD North Stockton—a joint venture between the investment group HG Capital and developer […]

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Notices went up last week around Hunter Square (c/o Floyd Perry via Alice van Ommeren)

New San Joaquin County Courthouse construction to begin

Last week, the first notices went up around Hunter Square, signaling the start of construction on San Joaquin County’s new $272 million, 13 story courthouse. If everything goes according to plan, the courthouse should be open for business in mid-2016. The new building will replace the existing county courthouse directly to the east, which is presently […]

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Want to renovate this house in the Magnolia District? A new city ordinance may require homeowners and developers to pay thousands more in energy efficiency costs which may dissuade people from investing in older homes such as this one as they generally require more extensive renovations.

Stockton’s green building ordinance probably won’t make Stockton greener

It’s not often that John Beckman and I kind of agree on something, but it turns out we both have some issues (albeit from different perspectives) with Stockton’s proposed green renovation ordinance. On Sunday, The Record reported that, as required by Stockton’s 2008 lawsuit settlement with the Sierra Club, the city will soon consider an […]

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