Photo credit: andykaufman, Flickr
Fruitvale is a low-income, predominantly minority community in Oakland, California . In 1991, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) unveiled its plan to construct a large parking structure that would separate the Fruitvale BART station from the surrounding community. Upon hearing this news, the Unity Council (a community development corporation within Oakland created to provide space for working on issues impacting the Latino community within Fruitvale) organized community opposition to BART's plan. The Council and residents of Fruitvale insisted that there was a better way to develop the Fruitvale station. BART listened, and began working with the Unity Council to develop a new plan.
In 1992, the Unity Council held meetings to bring together various stakeholders. The success of the Fruitvale Transit Village Project has been attributed to the amount of collaboration that took place between stakeholders. Participants in these meetings were asked to name specific goals for the project. These included: improved public safety, increased availability of jobs in Fruitvale, increased number of services within the community, affordable housing, and improved air quality within the community through reducing pollutants from traffic. As a result of resident input, two new buildings were constructed for housing and office space, and a pedestrian walkway was built connecting the BART station area with the greater Fruitvale area.
The following outcomes were achieved as a result of the Fruitvale Transit Village Project: 1) Businesses were brought into the area and increased the availability of local jobs; 2) Availability of public services; 3) Reduction of air pollution resulting from traffic; 4) Engaged residents as part of the solution; 5) Affordable housing was located next to a major transportation site; 6) The project was designed with community input in the process and aesthetics were integrated into the planning process.