Strong support for a sustainable Concord

In October, the City of Concord unveiled initial strategies for revitalizing its downtown at the second in a series of community workshops on the forthcoming Downtown Specific Plan.

Greenbelt Alliance and our Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord partners were there to ensure the plan creates a thriving neighborhood near transit, bringing new life to Concord’s economy and making downtown more livable. Read our community platform (PDF).

We were excited to see a great deal of public support for a plan that brings new homes affordable to a range of incomes to the area. In particular, many attendees noted that homes near the BART station on publicly owned land—particularly BART parking lots—could have a strong catalytic effect in Concord. Fortunately, the City’s current proposal includes a “housing-focused” land-use strategy utilizes publicly owned sites for residential and mixed-use development.

We encouraged the City to continue building strong inclusive policies for bringing homes to downtown and to prioritize the development of affordable homes on catalyst sites to make sure all Concord residents will benefit from new economic activity downtown.

Traffic safety in Concord is also a serious concern as many streets and intersections are unsafe for walking and biking. The community voiced strong support for enhancing Concord’s strategies for calming traffic and improving safety throughout the downtown area. In particular, many attendees urged the City to focus on the large arterial boulevards that cut through downtown and to widen sidewalks in the plan’s current design for key pedestrian and retail streets such as Grant Street.

We urged the City to continue the pursuit of robust strategies for creating safe conditions for walking and biking throughout downtown and greater Concord, especially on the most dangerous streets. We’re pleased that the Concord is increasingly recognizing the need to address these challenges and urge them to continue the pursuit of strategies for creating a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

There was also strong support for proposed strategies to create more flexibility in parking requirements for new downtown developments. Putting people before cars will make it easier for Concord to make downtown more vibrant and safer.

The City will now spend several months working on an environmental impact report and will return early in 2014 with a draft Downtown Specific Plan. We look forward to working with Concord’s elected officials, staff, and residents to ensure the city adopts a great plan that enhances the community and improves the well-being of all Concord residents.

For more information about the Downtown Concord Specific Plan, please contact Joel Devalcourt at jdevalcourt@greenbelt.org.

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