Council approves first step of major Downtown Stockton project

Some Stocktonians have waited through decades of fights, busts and disappointment hoping to see the city’s downtown injected with new life. So it was fitting that an ambitious proposal won ...

Ten Space's Open Window Project proposes to transform a 15 block area of Downtown Stockton

The future of Downtown Stockton starts today

I first started SCL three years ago with a goal: to get people talking about the revitalization of Stockton, downtown in particular. My topics ranged from walkability, historic preservation and ...


Tragic shooting sheds light on need for comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans

Everyone loves to bash Stockton these days. The thing is, those of us that live here, love the city.  We know there are good parts, and parts that are struggling– ...

New on SCL


Biennial homeless census reveals deep need for affordable housing in San Joaquin County

According to a report released Tuesday, March 17, there are more homeless ...

SCL turns three years old as Stocktonians search for a more urban city

This past weekend, Stockton City Limts officially turned three years old. Started ...
A new report by the Council of Infill Builders lays out strategies for revitalizing Central Valley downtowns

Downtown Stockton sees 21% decrease in crime

Downtown Stockton is maligned by many as being unsafe, a notion often ...

our recent work...

Spanos is focusing on more sustainable development, but until that development occurs within city limits, it should still be dubbed as sprawl

With recession lifting, will sprawl resume?

As Stockton shakes off the storm clouds of bankruptcy and looks to a brighter future, it’s fair to wonder if smart growth will be a forgotten priority. Though the City Council and city planners embraced the imperative for a more sustainable, less sprawl-filled future during the city’s time in bankruptcy, there seems to be little […]

Continue Reading
While not quite as offensive as the Arena Garage, the Ed Coy Garage is still a poor example of parking garage design.

Downtown Stockton needs to raise the bar on parking garages

Parking is always a hot-button issue in any urban core, and Stockton is no exception. This debate is usually centered on the availability of parking, i.e. whether or not there is enough parking, if parking is priced correctly, etc. In Downtown Stockton, there’s no shortage of these conversations. Some believe that parking should be free […]

Continue Reading
Thornton Road scores high for a lack of sidewalks

The top infill sites in Stockton that are NOT downtown

When talking infill development in Stockton, Downtown garners the lion’s share of attention, and rightfully so. Downtown Stockton has a perfect street grid structure, strong transit hubs, a plethora of architecturally significant buildings and lots of open lots. These characteristics make the neighborhood the premier spot for infill in Stockton. But the conversation about infill […]

Continue Reading
City staff released the first draft of the General Plan Neighborhood map a few weeks ago.

Sprawl looms large over General Plan meeting

Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting on the General Plan update was intended to discuss neighborhood centers, but the topic of sprawl was clearly looming large over the near-capacity crowd. “There’s a debate out there about how the city should be approaching the lands to the north of Eight Mile Road. It’s an old debate, and it’s […]

Continue Reading
HOV lanes are declining in popularity nationally and aren't proven to increase carpooling.

Why HOV lanes won’t help I-5

With all of the construction taking place on Interstate 5, one would think that Stockton was awash in traffic jams. But that’s not the case. On most mornings, I commute south on I-5 to get to work in Downtown Stockton. During this drive, traffic is always free flowing. I only spend about eight minutes total […]

Continue Reading
The current site of the proposed Bear Creek East development

Stockton’s 2014 growth, development, and urbanism year in review

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the most important stories in Stockton over the past year with regards to growth, development and urbanism. In all, the city took some big steps forward, winning money to enhance pedestrian and cycling projects, approving downtown housing, and adopting a couple of important […]

Continue Reading
"Plan Bay Area" was met with fierce opposition earlier this year. This billboard still stands on I-580

Why has anti-smart growth sentiment bypassed Stockton?

When I moved back to work in Stockton earlier this year, I expected some resistance to the smart growth policies I advocated for. In most other California cities, there has been some serious push back against sensible planning and walkability. So, I came back to Stockton fully prepared to defend these ideas at planning meetings […]

Continue Reading
Grand View Village is a proposed mixed-use affordable housing project along Miner Avenue in Downtown Stockton

City council approves Grand View Village housing development for Downtown Stockton

A Stockton City Council vote will help two Stockton-based developers take the next step in redeveloping downtown and proving that the city’s revitalization movement can be homegrown.

Continue Reading
In the latest General Plan Neighborhood map, it appears as if the city is accommodating growth north of Eight Mile Road

Latest General Plan maps show city preparing for more sprawl

A disappointing Planning Commission staff report made its way to my email inbox the other day. Despite months of public meetings where Stockton residents expressed consistent and overwhelming support for focusing efforts on improving existing neighborhoods within the city, a recently released Planning Commission agenda outlines potential neighborhood centers in parts of the city that […]

Continue Reading
Converting El Dorado Street into a two-way street could give surrounding businesses a boost

Stocktonians demand walkability, more transportation options at General Plan meeting

Stocktonians want pedestrian friendly streets, more biking options and less investment in road widening. That’s the takeaway from data released by the city showing the results of a General Plan workshop survey conducted in August where citizens were asked to vote for their transportation priorities for the city. Way back in August, the city held […]

Continue Reading
The 482 page Climate Action Plan aims to cull Stockton emissions by the year 2020

Stockton approves “historic” Climate Action Plan

After eight painstaking years, Stockton finally has a Climate Action Plan. Tuesday night, the city council unanimously passed the landmark plan with ambitious but achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Stockton.

Continue Reading

Meet Cindi Fargo, the new CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance

Cindi Fargo has only been CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance for less than two weeks, but she’s already jumping into the job of revitalizing Downtown Stockton with both feet. “I see nothing but opportunity here,” Fargo said during a Nov. 21 interview with Stockton City Limits. “Of course we have our challenges — this […]

Continue Reading
Alive and kicking: Stockton is not a "dying city"

Affordable housing summit hosted in Stockton

Developers, state policy representatives and housing advocates from up and down the Central Valley convened in Stockton last Thursday at the annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit to discuss one of the biggest issues to face the region in the coming years: affordable housing.

Continue Reading
Will Weston Ranch leave Stockton?

Weston Ranch disincorporation talk reveals rift in Stockton

As you’ve probably heard by now, a handful of individuals are making a push for the Weston Ranch neighborhood to formally leave the city of Stockton. As reported by The Record and other local media outlets, some citizens of this South Stockton neighborhood are unhappy with what they are perceiving as  a lack of attention […]

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

What “affordable housing” means for Downtown Stockton

What is affordable housing? With the Cal-Weber 40 project approved for tax credits in late September, there have been some reservations expressed about whether building affordable communities will really bring anything to the table in terms of downtown revitalization. The quick answer is, yes, they will, but some clarification is needed on what affordable housing […]

Continue Reading

New SUSD curriculum aims to boost Stockton’s civic IQ

It’s an old cliché that people get the government they deserve. If that’s the case, for many years Stockton’s residents earned a failing grade for their civic literacy and involvement, rewarded with leadership that oversaw sprawling expansion and a slide toward municipal bankruptcy. But a new effort is trying to give the next generation of […]

Continue Reading

SCL City Council election profiles: Gene Acevedo and Susan Lofthus

This week, SCL is profiling candidates for Stockton City Council. We asked questions about the growth of Stockton and let the candidates respond. Today, we profile the race for Stockton’s 3rd District which includes Quail Lakes, Lincoln Village and Delta College. The candidates running for this open seat are Gene Acevedo and Susan Lofthus. Gene Acevedo Stockton […]

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

SCL City Council election profiles: Dyane Burgos Medina and Christina Fugazi

This week, SCL is profiling candidates for Stockton City Council. We asked questions about the growth of Stockton and let the candidates respond. Today, we profile the race for Stockton’s 5th District, which includes the Magnolia Historic District, Downtown Stockton and parts of South Stockton. The candidates running to represent this district are the incumbent Dyane Burgos […]

Continue Reading
Does Downtown Stockton need a grocery store?

Can we please stop the “Downtown needs a grocery store before anyone will move there” nonsense?

I often have conversations with others about what it’s going to take to get people to live downtown. The discussion can range from housing to safety to transportation to affordability. But one of the more puzzling opinions I encounter is that people won’t live downtown unless there is a grocery store. Without this amenity, residential […]

Continue Reading
City staff released the first draft of the General Plan Neighborhood map a few weeks ago.

Stockton’s draft General Plan neighborhood map: A return to business as usual?

Stockton’s planning department recently released a draft General Plan neighborhood map, supposedly created with feedback from the department’s July General Plan workshop where city residents provided personalized input on where they thought neighborhood boundaries should fall (You can view the staff report here and accompanying map here). Interestingly enough, the new draft General Plan map […]

Continue Reading
Converting El Dorado Street into a two-way street could give surrounding businesses a boost

Central Valley cities ignored in new California infill development program

Last week, the state released draft guidelines for the much anticipated Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program. With California now collecting revenue from the new Cap and Trade program, there is now dedicated funding for infill projects that demonstrate the ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create sustainable and equitable communities. Unfortunately, the […]

Continue Reading

San Joaquin Bike Fest highlights changing bike culture in Stockton

It’s been a good couple months for increasing biking potential in Stockton. The state’s Active Transportation Program recently awarded funds to the city to update the Bicycle Master Plan, to create a Safe Routes to School plan and to rehabilitate the San Joaquin Trail – a bike and pedestrian path – in South Stockton.

Continue Reading
North Center Street cuts off Downtown from Weber Point

It’s time to turn Center and El Dorado back into two-way streets

Have you ever tried to cross Center Street by foot to get to Weber Point? How about trying to get from City Hall from the east side of El Dorado Street? It’s definitely not easy, with cars bearing down at speeds approaching 40mph. And with so few protected crosswalks, you’re sometimes forced to play Frogger, […]

Continue Reading
Stockton won grant funds to revamp an outdated Bike Master Plan

Stockton wins money for biking and pedestrian projects

Walkers and cyclists in Stockton received some great news last week as the state announced grants for several active transportation projects in the city. Last Wednesday, the California Transportation Commission announced the winning bids for the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP) which provides funding to projects that promote walking, biking and other forms of active […]

Continue Reading
The Stockton Arena garage, in all its hulking-glory

Downtown Stockton parking in need of serious overhaul

Parking management in Downtown Stockton is overdue for much needed upgrades according to a recent review by city-hired parking consultant Kimley Horn and Associates (KHA). The report, “Parking Program Operations and Organizational Assessment,” catalogs many of the challenges the current Central Parking District faces in the wake of Stockton’s bankruptcy and limited revenue and staffing […]

Continue Reading
Everyone imagines that Stockton's urban renewal will happen the core of Downtown Stockton. What about the waterfront?

Could Stockton’s urban renewal start on the water?

A bit more lawlessness might be just the thing Downtown Stockton needs to kick its rebirth into high gear. It might seem counterintuitive, but those familiar with urban renewal suggest a bit of rule-bending sometimes helps communities take root in historic urban cores. They’re not suggesting the lawlessness of assaults, vandalism or petty theft, but […]

Continue Reading
Attendees at last week's Planning Commission meeting participated in an exercise to identify various Stockton neighborhoods (c/o City of Stockton)

Who are we planning for? First Stockton General Plan workshop sees high turnout, few south Stockton residents or youth

If last week’s standing-room only turnout for the city’s regular Planning Commission meeting is any indication, the people of Stockton (albeit a specific set of people, more on that later) want a say in how their city grows. The regularly scheduled meeting was the venue for the first of several general plan amendment workshops where […]

Continue Reading

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 that the key to revitalization is getting panhandlers and mentally ill individuals off the streets. Once we do that, people will feel safe enough to […]

Continue Reading
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 back peddling on a promise to tear down the current courthouse and replace it with a public plaza with underground parking. If true, the move […]

Continue Reading

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 includes the county’s first Sustainable Community Strategy.

Continue Reading
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 affordable housing project – Cal Weber 40 – in Downtown Stockton after the City Council unanimously approved a $2.5 million loan as well as the sale of a city-owned lot to DFA Development Tuesday evening.* The money covers only part of the estimated […]

Continue Reading
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 wrecking ball. Now, the historic Downtown Stockton building may have a new lease on life. According to Mahala Burns of Cort Companies, which specializes in redeveloping older buildings downtown, the recent buyer of the hotel on the northwest corner of Main and American streets […]

Continue Reading
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 it, a valuable piece of the effort to revitalize the city’s historic downtown district. On Tuesday, the Asparagus Festival’s 12-member board announced that the annual celebration of the Delta region’s famous vegetable would not return for a 30th anniversary. The board cited two […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading
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?”

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading

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? 

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
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.

Continue Reading

Lathrop’s River Islands seeks foothold in ACE Rail expansion plan

The first houses of a massive development are hitting the open market and the project’s developers hope the growth eventually shifts the orbit of rail transit in southern San Joaquin County. But the ambitious idea could end up running off the tracks before it gathers significant steam. According to Susan Dell’Osso, Project Director of the […]

Continue Reading

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 154 other followers