Background: In our hometown of Livermore, CA, our downtown redevelopment project is entering its second phase (after a very successful first phase 15 years ago). In short, a plot of land, owned by the city, is to be developed to improve the downtown experience. The City Plan is currently the main plan, but a group of citizens have made a second plan that will be voted on in 2020.

A few years ago, an outreach effort was done by the city, and it resulted in a list of priorities for the downtown redevelopment. Initially the steering committee determined a list of 10 items and during the outreach process asked the citizens to prioritize them as items that are important for the downtown. The citizens were not asked to propose the items. Here is the list of people on the steering committee:

Here is the prioritization table in the report. In this case it is important to point out that a smaller bar means more people wanted the item ranked closer to the top of the list.

To be clear – Parking was listed as the highest priority, and housing was the lowest.

Listed another way, the outreach participants told the city to prioritize the following items, in order from 1 through 10, when working on the Downtown Plan:

  1. Parking
  2. Community Character and Design
  3. Open Space
  4. Traffic and Circulation
  5. Hotel
  6. Retail
  7. Hotel Location
  8. Cultural Facilities
  9. Public Finance
  10. Housing

While Livermore did not win the Award of Excellence for its public outreach effort (this award went to the city Santa Cruz), the city was recognized for the $500K outreach program with the runner-up Award of Merit by the Northern California Chapter of the American Planning Association along with a similar award for a CalTrans Grading project. Read about it here.

The outreach priorities were well-aligned with findings of the 2014 Parking Study which found:

1)Downtown Livermore has a parking problem today, as it is very difficult to
find available parking on the street and in public lots in the highest-demand
areas of downtown during peak hours.

2)Private off-street lots in downtown are abundant but underutilized.

3)The public parking garage is underutilized, especially on the top floor.

4)Peak demand patterns are different on Thursday and Saturday.

5)Parking turnover rates are high at on-street spaces in the study area.

6)Some people parked for longer than the posted time limits.

7)On-street parking and private off-street parking is relatively evenly
distributed across the study area, but public off-street parking is more
concentrated.

Causes were identified as:

1)Lack of enforcement of time limits.

2)Some visitors to downtown may not be aware of parking available in nearby
streets or off-street facilities.

3)There is a large variety of time restrictions for the on-street spaces, which
may be confusing to motorists.

4)The availability of parking free of charge and limited alternatives for
reaching downtown Livermore increase demand for parking.