Today

The inner East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most diverse places on Earth—a cultural, ecological, and economic mosaic. The people that make it home speak more than 100 languages and live in some of the nation's most ethnically mixed communities. Its natural environment is part of one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Its universities and laboratories produce groundbreaking inventions, Nobel-prize winning authors and poets, and the brainpower that fuels California’s economy.

For decades the inner East Bay has been a place that people come in search for a better life; a place where it is possible to expand cultural and scientific boundaries, fi nd or create a welcoming community, create a new business, and live close to natural wealth. It has been the arrival point for waves of immigrants that have formed thriving communities. It provided a new home for Dust Bowl migrants and the stage for the counterculture that emerged around Berkeley in the 1960s. It was the end of the Transcontinental Railroad, the place where African-American migrants settled to create a Black community that has shaped politics, art, and music.

Photo: REACH Youth Center, Ashland/Cherryland

REACH Youth Center, Ashland/Cherryland

Today the inner East Bay is in a period of transition marked by pockets of growing prosperity and efforts to address longstanding disparities. Its cuisine and arts scene captures the attention of The New York Times and Conde Naste. In some neighborhoods homes are regularly sold twenty-five percent above asking price and rents escalate close to fifty percent per year. Shuttle buses to Silicon Valley add stops in North Berkeley and Fruitvale to serve a growing East Bay tech workforce. Industrial building vacancies approach historic lows in Richmond, San Leandro and Hayward, anchored by innovative companies in industries ranging from robotics to chocolate. New policies begin to address the unequal health and career outcomes of children born in different zip codes.

The East Bay is uniquely situated in the region. Neighborhoods around BART stations in Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward are a shorter transit ride from central San Francisco than most neighborhoods in the city itself. The extension of BART to Silicon Valley in the next decade will continue to increase access to jobs and regional attractions. These neighborhoods offer or are planned to offer the services, shops, and public spaces sought by the region's fastest growing groups—single adults, young couples, and elders. They are places where it is possible to walk to a grocery store, clinic, park, or community center and to quickly reach a vast network of trails and open spaces by bicycle or car. And despite rising costs of living, these communities remain affordable in comparison to San Francisco, the Peninsula and Silicon Valley.

Diversity

Graphic: Ethnic & Racial DiversityThe East Bay is among the most diverse places in the world. Its diversity extends from the natural environment to culture, workforce, housing, and language.

Race & Ethnicity: 12 of the 16 jurisdictions in the East Bay Corridor have no racial or ethnic majority, and no group makes up more than 56% of the population of any jurisdiction. Alameda County is among the five most diverse counties in the US; Oakland is the most diverse large American city.

Language: 45% of households speak a second language at home, creating a welcoming environmental for new residents and a stronger climate for international trade.

Workforce: The East Bay workforce has a wide range of skill levels to meet the needs of a diverse economy. School and community college districts are taking steps to further improve skill levels through Linked Learning, which connects students to job and networking opportunities while in school.

Housing: Housing in the corridor is evenly divided between single family homes and a variety of multi-family residences ranging from townhomes to condo and apartment buildings. This is critical for meeting the needs of households as they transition in size and age.

 


Race and Ethnicity
Chart: Race and Ethnicity

Languages Spoken at Home
Chart: Languages Spoken at Home

Education
Chart: Education

Housing
Chart: Housing



Emerging Challenges

The growing allure of the East Bay creates a paradox. Affordable housing, access to education and available building space have allowed generations of innovators to nurture the ideas that help define the East Bay and make it attractive to newcomers. Today many of the longtime businesses and residents that form the unique fabric of the East Bay must decide between moving and making major personal and financial sacrifices. In 2013, the most recent year for which reliable data is available, 53 percent of renters paid more than a third of monthly household income on rent, and 27% spent more than half. Among homeowners with mortgages, these figures are 47 percent and 19 percent, respectively. While less consistent data is kept for rents in commercial and industrial buildings, stories emerge daily of local businesses and community organizations moving or closing due to major rent increases or evictions.

Beyond adding household stress and instability, escalating rents represent a loss of resources that could otherwise be spent on local businesses or invested in education and job training. For the low income families and fixed-income seniors that make up many East Bay communities, rising housing costs often leads to displacement—which is linked to poor health outcomes, increased incarceration, reduced educational performance, and even shorter life spans.

Photo: Uptown, Oakland

Uptown, Oakland

East Bay BART Stations
Graphic: East Bay BART 
		Stations

The inner East Bay also faces long-term challenges to its natural environment, safety, and economy. The Hayward fault places homes, businesses, and infrastructure in harm’s way during earthquakes. Rising temperatures and tides threaten water supply, health and the safety of homes and infrastructure. Despite recent retrofits to roads, transit, homes, and water and sewer systems, the East Bay is by most accounts not prepared for a major earthquake or the impacts of climate change. The quality of education in the classrooms of low and higher income communities has been unequal for decades. Access to healthcare, community services, healthy food, and parks continues to vary by community as well.

These challenges represent opportunities. Most, if not all, spill across city and county boundaries. Inner East Bay jurisdictions are taking steps to find creative solutions to problems they cannot solve alone. Already, jurisdictions are partnering to expand high-speed broadband access, create a comprehensive trail network, coordinate health services, and bridge gaps in transportation networks.

Chart: Access to Downtown SF & Oakland 
		from East Bay BART Stations



The East Bay Corridors Initiative

The East Bay Corridors Initiative builds on this spirit of collaboration to create a platform for identifying and achieving shared priorities. The Initiative is a partnership between 13 jurisdictions, county and regional agencies, and community and business organizations connected by transportation, economic, ecological and cultural networks. The Initiative starts in the places where many of the East Bay’s greatest challenges and opportunities hit the ground: in the neighborhoods, main streets, and downtowns identifi ed by jurisdictions for future investment and growth. These are Priority Development Areas (PDAs)— places planned by communities for new housing, jobs, improved parks and streets, and essential services such as healthcare and grocery stores.

The East Bay Corridors Initiative: Geographic Area
Graphic: Geographic Area

The inner East Bay's PDAs form a corridor between Rodeo in the north to Union City in the south. At the center is Downtown Oakland—the East Bay's regional center and focal point for transit, employment, and culture. Situated around BART stations, the mixed-use downtowns of Berkeley and Richmond anchor the northern part of the network; Fruitvale, downtown San Leandro and Hayward—all anchored by a BART station—play this role in the southern portion. PDAs along traditional main streets—San Pablo Avenue and International Boulevard/East 14th Street/Mission Boulevard— connect these centers and provide space to improve services to residents and expand housing choice. PDAs with major redevelopment sites around BART stations—Coliseum, Bay Fair, and Union City—are future centers that will add to the job and housing opportunities in the East Bay.

Each PDA includes numerous development sites for housing at a variety of income levels, commercial development, and community facilities. These sites are all close to transit and existing or planned services and amenities. They are among a limited number of locations in the region with these qualities—making the revitalization of each crucial to creating a sustainable future for the East Bay and the Bay Area.

East Bay PDAs: A Connected Corridor

Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are places planned by jurisdictions for future investment, housing and jobs. Each PDA is different, reflecting unique land uses, cultures, and community aspirations.

In the East Bay, the PDAs are connected by two "spines:" Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and a series of Avenues and Boulevards with shops and services planned to be attractive, cool places to walk and bike.

BART has 17 stations along the corridor with frequent service to places across the Bay Area. The Avenues and Boulevards are served by rapid bus, with plans for speed and service improvements.

As the corridor evolves, current and future residents of PDAs will be able to walk, bike, and ride transit to access job and educational opportunities, meet daily needs, and enjoy life.

Graphic: Corridors Map

 

Graphic: BART
Graphic: San Pablo Ave/International 
				Blvd/East 14th St/Mission Blvd
Graphic: Priority Development Areas

Through the East Bay Corridors Initiative, jurisdictions are identifying a set of shared priorities. The goal is to evolve the PDAs and surrounding communities into a network of thriving neighborhoods, downtowns, and avenues—each of which play a role in making the East Bay a more connected, economically vibrant, and equitable place of opportunity. Looking ahead, the Initiative also provides a platform for partnering with community organizations, businesses and other organizations to address broader issues of shared interest such as industrial land, resilience, water, and energy.

The next section highlights the Priorities developed by Corridor jurisdictions. The final section outlines partnerships and funding sources for implementation.

The Growing Affordable Housing Challenge

Affordable housing is increasingly recognized as one of the East Bay's most pressing challenges. In 2013, 53% of renters paid more than a third of monthly household income on rent, and 27% spent more than half. The East Bay Corridors Initiative provides an opportunity to pursue creative solutions to retaining affordability for community members and producing new housing at a full range of income levels.

Graphic: Percentage of Renter Households Paying More Than 30 Percent Income on Hosing (by Census Tract)Graphic: Percentage of Renter Households Paying More Than 50 Percent Income on Hosing (by Census Tract)

 

East Bay Economic Clusters

Graphic: High Tech Research & Development Industry DensityThe Priority Development Areas and surrounding industrial land are a complementary network of industry clusters with a wide variety of jobs. The three fastest growing sectors in the Bay Area economy—Tech/R&D, Food Services, and Healthcare/Education—are all poised to expand in the East Bay.

The Tech/R&D industry is focused primarily in Downtown Oakland and around UC-Berkeley, and continues to expand its reach into the East Bay.

Health and Education, one of the few growing industries offering middle wage jobs, is a historic strength of the East Bay, anchored by hospitals and a network of universities and community colleges.

Food Services and Drinking Places, another rapidly growing industry, are clustered around the PDAs, spread across the corridor. The same is true for retail (not shown).

Heavy industries such as manufacturing and warehousing (not shown) are projected for slower growth, but remain critical to the basic functioning of all industries and communities. Advanced manufacturing is a promising area of growth in this industry.

Graphic: Food Services and Drinking Places Industry DensityGraphic: Education & Health Services Industry Density


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