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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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New SUSD curriculum aims to boost Stockton’s civic IQ

It’s an old cliché that people get the government they deserve. If ...
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SCL City Council election profiles: Gene Acevedo and Susan Lofthus

This week, SCL is profiling candidates for Stockton City Council. We asked ...
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 ...

our recent work...

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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, […]

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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 […]

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The Stockton Arena garage

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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