City of Walnut Creek to vote on 30-year plan to transform downtown

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Walnut Creek is poised Tuesday to approve a 30-year plan-- a vision of what the downtown will be like in 30 years.

The biggest change may be reimagining sprawling suburban car dealerships. City leaders say they don't want to encroach on open space but instead want to reconfigure this prime real estate in the heart of the city and build vertically.

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The area north of Civic Drive has limited land to develop-- so the city intends to condense car dealerships into an "auto row" and create art and artisan districts.

Specifically, the 30-year plan involves 191 acres north of Civic Drive and south of Parkside bordered by interstate 680 to the west and the iron horse Trail to the east.

Walnut Creek's Mayor Cindy Silva said, "What we're talking about is consolidating our auto sales and service areas into a more vertical environment where they have two-story showrooms and multi-story garages for the parking of cars instead of flat surface parking which is not a great use of land."

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The city hopes the land now occupied by a Honda dealership at the corner of North Main and civic would be converted into a vibrant pedestrian space with an outdoor area that could host live music events and the farmers market.

Part of the plan is 619 new housing that would be incorporated in high-density housing, with restaurants and retail on the bottom floor. New urban trails would be paved to provide more direct access to BART than the current streets allow.

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