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Oakland - Urban Design Study for the Eastlake District Streetscape & Pedestrian Enhancement Program

Client: City of Oakland and East Bay Asian Local Development Commission (EBALDC)

This urban design study addressed 11 blocks of two parallel commercial corridor segments in Oakland’s Eastlake District, an area populated by Southeast Asian and Hispanic businesses.  Improvement concepts featured new street trees, pedestrian-scale streetlights, crosswalk enhancements, transit stops, and street furniture.  Alternatives were explored through two public workshops, resulting in a preferred plan used as the basis for a successful MTC/TLC grant application.

View south on East 12th Street after construction of project improvements including mature palm trees set within parking lanes.


Typical conditions on East 12th Street before the project.

  • Within the Eastlake District, the East 12th Street and International Boulevard corridors were wide urban arterials with fast traffic. 
  • Many customers of small shops and restaurants arrived on foot but streets were hard to cross and sidewalks were narrow.
  • Area businesses gained no identity or amenity benefit from the utilitarian streets other than access.


  • Conduct community workshops to obtain input and direction on project design.
  • Develop streetscape and gateway landmark concepts to enhance pedestrian comfort and safety, improve district identity, and strengthen the local business environment. 
  • Introduce themes to appeal to Southeast Asian and Hispanic participants.
  • Ensure that concepts could be readily implemented with a high impact.
  • Assist in the preparation of funding applications.


  • Workshop input shaped the preferred design with tall palm trees for high visual impact, new pedestrian lighting, improved bus stops with shelters, and corner bulb-outs to shorten crossing distances.
  • The project description and analysis were central to the grant application submitted by EBALDC and the City of Oakland.
  • The grant application was successful and and the constructed project (by others) has achieved a substantial placemaking impact.

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