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Grand Boulevard Initiative - Economic and Housing Opportunities (ECHO) Assessment (Phase I)

Client: Strategic Economics and Grand Boulevard Initiative

The cities and agencies of the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) are working together to revitalize the 47 mile long El Camino Real Corridor from Daly City to San Jose. In parallel with GBI’s transportation planning efforts, the ECHO Phase I project analyzes the potentials for reinvestment and redevelopment as the corridor evolves from the commercial “strip” paradigm to higher value and more mixed-use, livable and sustainable scenarios of corridor working, living, shopping and recreation on the Peninsula.  FTS collaborated with team lead Strategic Economics to prepare a report of economic analysis and potential benefits of corridor transformation for El Camino Real communities.  Since arterial street corridors in their accustomed "commercial strip" formats have seldom been thought of as appealing or livable, FTS also prepared images of transformed corridor places with residential uses mixed in to help in visualizing the potential for change.

An example of a potential corridor transformation: a “strip retail” site (inset) is infilled with horizontal mixed use.


Existing examples of “unconvincing” housing types typically seen on Bay Area corridors.

Corridor cities’ El Camino Real planning efforts were not well coordinated before GBI.

The GBI Multimodal Transportation Corridor Plan (2010) showed how transit, land use and streetscape could improve corridor livability.

That study found land use intensification and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) could enable sustainable growth, but more economic and urban development analysis was needed.


  • Describe the transformational potentials for capturing growth potentials on the corridor.
  • Summarize growth scenarios studied for the Corridor to date.
  • Assess the economic and physical benefits and constraints of transformation;
  • Prepare images of corridor place transformation to help visualize potential for change.


Completed on time and on budget
  • The team collaborated on economic and urban analyses of the Peninsula’s unique conditions
  • Presentations to the GBI Task Force and member cities were conducted through 2010
  • Final Report published December 2010

In collaboration with:

Strategic Economics (economics), The Urban Explorer (GIS)