13th Street Commons

Oakland, California

Client: Carmel Partners / Uptown & Downtown Oakland Community Benefit Districts

Role: Lead Consultant

Project Duration: 2016 – 2020

Key Features

  • Road diet and reorganization of commercial and passenger loading areas expand pedestrian areas and calm traffic
  • Quick build elements of planters, bollards, and pavement graphics create significant pedestrian space
  • Implementation of the city of Oakland’s first Pavement-to-Plaza project


The first of many to come pavement-to-plaza projects in the city of Oakland, 13th Street Commons is a vibrant community gathering space that plays host to small business incubators, family-friendly activations, and Oakland-inspired programming and events. Reimagining the former car-centered street and claiming space for community connection and increase pedestrian activity, CD+A led a multidisciplinary team to support local artists, merchants, visitors, residents, and the Uptown & Downtown Oakland Community Benefit Districts (CBD) to develop a pavement-to-plaza quick build space for 13th Street Commons as a three-year pilot project.

During Phase I of the project, CD+A researched similar projects and developed conceptual designs and preliminary cost estimates to grow community excitement and attract funding for the project. Phase 2 saw the development of final design and the installation of the project, during which CD+A created the final design plans and worked with the CBD to perform administrative, permitting, selection, furnishing, costing, and installation tasks. The final design features colorful painted roadway pavement treatments, planters, bollards, movable café tables and seating, temporary ADA ramps, and painted corner bulbouts (to reduce pedestrian crossing distances). These elements enable significant physical and visual changes at a relatively low cost and represent changes that can be implemented in a short time. The CBD and adjacent restaurants and cafes are working together to plan programming of the space as COVID restrictions are reduced, including full closure of the street for larger events.