Redwood City Conversations Community Engagement Process: Main Themes and Updates
Building on a long history of collaboration, Redwood City community leaders developed Redwood City Conversations to foster discussions around the future of our community. Community members were encouraged to attend and share their likes, hopes and concerns about the City’s future. A big thank you to community leader Warren Dale for leading this community -driven process!
Nearly 300 residents and business owners took part in one of eight Redwood City Conversations events, from facilitated discussions to drop-in post-it parties. Some of the main themes raised were affordable housing, congestion and mobility, open communication on major City initiatives, Downtown Precise Plan update, Downtown retail opportunities, and preserving the City’s small town feel through neighborhood engagement. This blog shares updates on some of these major issues facing the City.
Investing in Affordable Housing
Originally adopted in 2009, Redwood City’s Strategic Plan provides enduring statements of the critical and ongoing work of the City to accomplish the mission of “Building a Great Community Together”. Under Council direction, the Strategic Plan added housing as a strategic initiative in 2016.
Some recent accomplishments related to the development and preservation of affordable housing in the community include:
- Reserved 375 units allowed under the Downtown Precise Plan for affordable housing
- Expanded affordable housing programs and approved over 200 units of affordable housing to be developed in the community
- Allocated $1.1M of affordable housing funds to MidPen Housing to acquire and rehabilitate 55 units of existing housing to prevent the displacement of low income tenants and convert units to permanent affordable housing
To learn more about Redwood City’s affordable housing efforts go here.
Addressing Congestion and Mobility
Another important area that City is committing significant resources to is the expansion of traffic improvement programs and multi-modal transportation options.
Here are a few updates:
- Citywide Transportation Plan — The City recently began the process to develop a Citywide Transportation Plan. The Plan will be informed by the results of a recent community survey where community members identified both problem areas and areas that are doing well. Over 800 participants provided survey responses. Initial survey findings will be available here later this month. The feedback received will be incorporated into the draft Citywide Transportation Plan and the Plan will help inform the City Council’s decisions on how to address congestion and mobility needs in the community.
- Hudson Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements project — This project includes new bulb-outs and curb ramps on Hudson Street, between Harrison Avenue and Palm Avenue, raised crosswalks at Harrison Avenue and Palm Avenue, upgraded traffic signals at Jefferson and Hudson, Woodside and Hudson, and Woodside and Hess, and pavement markings and signage at other intersections on Hudson. For more details about this project, go here.
- Hopkins Avenue Traffic Safety Project — This project was developed in response to concerns raised by residents about the speed and volume of traffic on Hopkins Avenue. As part of the project, the City used a community engagement process to define the preferred design. Recently a community survey was completed to identify areas of community concern along Hopkins Avenue. Community meetings and other community engagement activities are still underway. To learn more about this project, go here.
To learn more about the City’s transportation projects and initiatives go here.
Open Communication on Major City Initiatives
The City offers a number of ways to engage community members around City initiatives. Online surveys, newsletters, social media, and the City’s website and microsites (Downtown and Historic) are used to share information and gain feedback all in an effort to inform the City Council as it considers different policy issues.
Here are a few ways you can join the conversation today:
· Follow us on social media to see and respond to posts about issues coming to Council, neighborhood features, City opportunities, events, programs, and more.
· Sign-up to receive our newsletters for information on economic development, community development, City happenings, and more.
· Take a survey about potential cannabis regulations.
· Visit the City’s newsroom to catch up on the latest City news and information.
Downtown Precise Plan Update
This past spring, City Council held a Study Session on the Downtown Precise Plan (DTPP) and provided guidance on next steps. Council directed staff to bring back several items for Council consideration, including investigating the feasibility of a new park in the downtown, prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle improvements, revising architectural guidelines, developing criteria for consideration to exceed the development caps, and creating a community taskforce for future changes to the DTPP. To learn more on this Council discussion, go here. To learn more about the DTPP go here.
Downtown Retail Options
At the August 28 City Council meeting, Council will hold a study session regarding downtown hotel and retail prospects. To watch the City Council meeting, view agendas, and staff reports, go here. You can also follow us on Twitter for live Council meeting tweets and Facebook for a round-up of actions taken on key items.
Preserving the City’s Small Town Feel through Neighborhood Engagement
Many community members expressed a desire to keep Redwood City’s “neighborhood feeling” alive. The City is working with our neighborhood associations to enhance their participation in community building opportunities. This work has started by a recent update to the City’s Neighborhood Association map and the addition of six new neighborhood associations to Redwood City! This new map and corresponding new neighborhood association webpages can be viewed here.
Here are some updates on how we are engaging our neighborhood associations:
· City staff partnered with neighborhood association leaders to increase neighborhood participation in this year’s National Night Out on August 1, resulting in six neighborhoods hosting community events! National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes public safety-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
· The City also provides a Community Improvement Grant Program to help jump-start neighborhood and community improvement projects and events.
· Producing Neighborhood Road Trip videos to celebrate Redwood City neighborhoods. At the end of June, we kicked off a new social media campaign to showcase Redwood City neighborhoods in concert with the Sesquicentennial Committee’s mission statement “Bringing our community together to discover our history, honor our diversity and explore our neighborhoods.” Each month we are going on a neighborhood road trip to feature places of interest, popular eateries, parks, shops, and more through video and photography. This is an effort to feature businesses and neighborhood amenities that make our neighborhoods such a great place to live and play. We’ve received a tremendous amount of positive feedback so far for this new initiative. Feel free to suggest places we should feature as we continue touring Redwood City neighborhoods. To view the videos, go here.
Other Resources To Stay Informed and Up-to-Date
Please visit the Redwood City Conversations webpage that provides more detail on the Redwood City Conversations process and outlines participating community members’ likes, concerns, and hopes for Redwood City. To learn more go here. To learn about more ways to join the conversation go here.
Interested in staying informed on proposed developments? Check out our Current Projects webpage where you can gain details about specific development projects at different stages of review and approval. A new web-based program called Building Eye provides opportunities to view the status of building and planning permit applications, and you can sign up to receive alerts for any new activity submitted for a specific property, radius or neighborhood. For this web-based resource, go here. Community members can also view the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) to do a property research, check zoning, view major development projects, and other items. Go here for more details.