San Rafael Downtown Station Area Plan

San Rafael, California

City of San Rafael

Lead Consultant

2009 - 2012

Plan Adopted June 2012

CD+A led a multidisciplinary team to develop a station area plan around the planned SMART commuter rail in downtown San Rafael. The team developed alternative scenarios designed to leverage the planned rail service and re-envision this area of the downtown, which neighbors an elevated highway and includes many underutilized properties. The plan elements aim to extend the success of the pedestrian-oriented 4th Street to the new rail station and encourage proposed development that will create a new community anchor and gateway on the east side of downtown.

An extensive community outreach process guided the plan, which includes the redesign of streets and multi-modal circulation to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in the station area, improvements to bus movement to and from the transit center, and concepts for redevelopment that feature more community-oriented, mixed-use buildings and higher densities.

The CD+A team collaborated with a multi-agency steering committee and other stakeholders to develop a coordinated set of multi-mobility and development scenarios. Options for improving bus capacity and operations at the transit center range from minor modifications of curbs and platforms, to partial reconstruction of the transit center, to a long-term relocation strategy that would create a consolidated bus and SMART station.

To complement each mobility strategy, CD+A worked with City staff and advisory committees to create development and parking scenarios for identified opportunity sites. Development scenarios ranged from incremental infill on small sites to the redevelopment of entire blocks as mixed-use developments and public parking garages. For each mobility and development scenario, pedestrian and bicycle movements were examined qualitatively, and bus routing and scheduling, and traffic and signal operations were modeled using a variety of software tools such as a visual microsimulation model.

The Downtown San Rafael Station Area Plan was unanimously adopted by the City Council in June, 2012, and rail service is scheduled to begin in 2016.