County Publishes Boulevard Way / Saranap
Planning Process Workshop Results
The county Department of Conservation and Development has posted the preliminary results of a workshop held in December and a companion survey focusing on the future of development in the commercial area along Boulevard Way and Saranap Avenue. The results may surprise some people. More people expressed an interest in improvements and amenities along Boulevard Way – sidewalks, landscaping, parks, open spaces – than on the size and scale of future construction projects in the area.
About 50 community members attended the December 4 workshop organized by Second District Supervisor Candace Andersen on what’s called the Saranap Avenue / Boulevard Way Planning Process, and 219 completed a survey that addressed the same questions discussed at the workshop. The SCA and Saranap Homeowners Organization are collaborating with Supervisor Andersen in the planning process.
The workshop and survey were designed gather community input on the types of development that residents feel should be allowed in this area, improvements they’d like to see, and their thoughts on the planning process itself.
Initial boundaries of the area under discussion are Saranap Avenue from where it becomes Old Tunnel Road (by Price Storage and Hull’s Funeral Home) down to Boulevard Way, and along both sides of Boulevard Way from the Saranap intersection east to Palana Court, near Valley Glass. These boundaries may change, based on community input in the planning process.
Most respondents said they either “like [the area] the way it is but would like to see some change to provide more community amenities” (41%) or “would like to see it grow, evolve, and become more of a ‘downtown,’ with more people, businesses, and community amenities” (32%).
Ranking Goals of the Plan
Interestingly, when asked to rank goals of the plan in order of importance, the top vote getter (nearly 60) was “Facilitate provision of additional community amenities such as parks, bike facilities, landscaping, etc.” (The county report doesn’t include numbers in the bar graph summarizing responses to this question.) “Identify a community vision” was second (about 50), followed by “Provide more assurances to the community regarding the size, scale, and impacts of any future projects” (almost 40).
Asked what type of land use they feel should be encouraged in the study area, 104 indicated “mixed use” (a combination of residential, retail, and commercial) and 69 checked “parks / recreation.” Forty said they’d prefer to leave the area “mostly as is, with more community amenities, such as neighborhood business, commons, parks,” while 20 said they like it the way it is, with any changes focusing on improvements to sidewalks, lighting, and traffic calming.
Given a chance to prioritize the amenities they’d like to see along Boulevard Way, about 75 said they’d like to see a lawn and trees. Nearly 50 mentioned a playground, and about half that many a community garden.
The desire for various street improvements along Boulevard Way was a common theme at the workshop and in the survey. The top priority for the greatest number of people (about 115) was “sidewalk amenities,” such as landscaping, plantings, and benches. About 55 said adding bike lanes or sharrows was their top priority, and about half that number said adding crosswalks. Others mentioned traffic-diversion or -calming measures and lighting.
What do residents like about the Saranap? Mentioned most often were the quiet, “semi-rural” feel, that it’s close to Walnut Creek and Lafayette, “good neighbors” and “family friendly,” that it has only small businesses, and the views it affords of Mt. Diablo.
Defining the Plan Area
Fifty-five respondents said they thought the boundaries of the study area are “fine as is,” though 35 said it should extend all the way to Mt. Diablo Boulevard and 20 said it should extend to Olympic Boulevard.
Survey respondents and workshop participants were asked their views on the planning process itself. Twenty said more workshop like the one in December are an important part of the process; 13 said they favor a combination of workshops and smaller working groups, and the same number felt more surveys are important. Workshop participants stressed the importance of communicating with the community about the process through mailings, email, signage, and social media.
The county report is available at www.contracosta.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/49704.