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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

New on SCL

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, ...
speed cushion

Speed bumps coming to 14 Stockton neighborhoods

Last night the city authorized a few hundred thousand dollars to construct ...
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 ...

our recent work...

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

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

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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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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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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Stockton's Walk Score map, with green indicating more walkable communities

Stockton’s Walkscores show potential for older neighborhoods

Walkscore—the popular website that calculates the walkability of an area based on access to amenities—recently released its 2014 data on walkable cities, and Stockton came out with mixed results. The bad news? Stockton is not very walkable overall, and according to the site has actually become less walkable since last year. But on the bright […]

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SCL event center parcel

What should this empty lot on Stockton’s waterfront be?

Several times a year, thousands of Stocktonians flock to the north side of the downtown waterfront to take in baseball games, hockey matches, concerts, graduations and other events. And while the ballpark, arena and hotel are generally lively, about a fifth of the original Stockton Event Center project remains empty and undeveloped. Just south of […]

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Why doesn’t Stockton annex Lincoln Center?

Today, Stockton voters head to the polls to vote on a sales tax increase to fund more police officers and pay creditors. Certainly, a city struggling through bankruptcy needs to think creatively about increasing revenue. So, as Stocktonians decide the fate of Measures A and B, here is another idea to boost sales tax revenue: […]

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Leandro Vicuña is the new CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance

Meet Leandro Vicuña, the new CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance

When you ask Leandro Vicuña about his vision for downtown, be prepared to stay a while, because the new CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance (DSA) has no shortage of ideas, big and small. From cultivating tech start up space to waterfront taxis to painting utility boxes, no idea is too small or too ambitious. […]

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scl courthouse old

Could we convert the county courthouse into jail space?

In an article last summer, I identified Stockton’s five-ugliest buildings. Among those buildings was the San Joaquin County Courthouse, which has been much maligned both for its lack of functionality as well as its uninspiring aesthetics. Next year, the county will begin construction of a new, 12-story courthouse located on the current site of Hunter […]

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

Sprawl is not a product of the free market

A common retort you will hear from sprawl defenders is that our built environment is shaped by the free market. They believe that the single-family tract home developments we are accustomed to today are the result of consumer preference, and if people wanted more apartments or townhomes, they would already exist. Therefore, smart growth must […]

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Bankrupt Detroit gets federal “bailout” while bankrupt Stockton gets nothing

Today, the Obama administration triumphantly announced $320 million dollars in federal and private funds to support the newly-bankrupt city of Detroit. The administration felt compelled to intervene in Detroit, fast tracking federal grant money to Mo Town, proclaiming that “We’re going to continue to support the efforts under way in Detroit and ensure the federal […]

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Office parks are not the economic powerhouses they once were (photo c/o Wes Janz

Tracy pins economic hopes on 1980′s-style office park

I don’t usually discuss the goings on in other cities, but a recent story from Tracy caught my eye. Last week, city officials triumphantly announced the approval of a project on the city’s western edge. This 1,796 acre project, situated off of a highly visible stretch of I-205, could bring “tens of thousands of jobs” […]

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Bankruptcy? So what? Stockton’s economic output grows in 2012

Contrary to popular belief, the Stockton economy is growing, albeit at a slower pace than the national average. On Tuesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis—a subset of the US Department of Commerce—released GDP information for all of the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas. Despite high crime rates and bankruptcy looming over the city, Stockton’s 2012 Gross […]

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Stockton should revise planning policies to reflect new demand for apartments, townhomes and condos in walkable neighborhoods.

Steve Chase has big vision for Downtown Stockton

Steve Chase likes to emphasize that he did not come to Stockton to push papers. As Stockton’s latest Community Development Director, Chase plays an integral role in shaping the city’s growth as it emerges from economic tribulation. According to Chase, who’s been on the job for just over one year, Stockton has all of the […]

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