Smart Communities Network banner

WelcomeContactSite IndexNewsletterEspanol

Sustainable Transportation

Key Principles

Public Involvement

Role of Information


Success Stories

Codes / Ordinances

Articles / Publications

Educational Materials

Other Resources

Success Stories

Renew America Success Stories

Fruitvale BART Transit Village

A Project of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council

Arabella Martinez, Chief Executive Officer
Spanish Speaking Unity Council
1900 Fruitvale Ave., Suite 2A
Oakland, CA 94601
tel: (510) 535-6900
fax: (510) 534-7771


The Fruitvale BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Transit Village is a mixed-use development on 15 - 24 acres that will promote transit usage, to revitalize both physically and economically an East Oakland inner city neighborhood and to provide jobs, affordable housing and accessible health and human services around the BART transit station. A model of "transit-based development," the Fruitvale Transit Village offers a unique approach to revitalizing this predominantly Hispanic and increasingly Asian low-income community.

Since the factories and canneries that employed local residents began moving out in the 1960's, the commercial strip along East 14th Street in East Oakland has been in decline. A local clothing store that used to employ 21 people now employs four. In 1989 when BART announced it was going to build a 500-car parking garage at its Fruitvale station, local residents, who believed the garage would serve as a barrier to their neighborhood and foster further economic and environmental decline, intervened.

Primarily through the work of Arabella Martinez, executive director of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, the concept of the Transit Village was born. The concept is simple: link a local community's economy to mass transit, thereby discouraging transportation by car, increasing pedestrian and bicycle traffic and revitalizing the neighborhood.

Local community members participated in developing the Transit Village plan, and their concerns have been incorporated into the design, providing the critical aspect of community stewardship. "This is not the usual planning process," says Martinez, "It came from the community and the people that live here. That's new."

The Transit Village will include a state-of-the-art child development/health care facility, a senior center, a library, a community police station, family and senior citizen housing and new and renovated retail office space. These facilities will be connected through a Pedestrian Plaza to the Fruitvale BART station.

The project is begin developed by a nonprofit community development corporation whole purpose is to revitalize the neighborhood physically, economically and socially while pursuing environmentally sound practices.

Program Highlights

Natural Resource Conservation

  • The project site -- currently a physically deteriorated and marginal business sector containing parking lots and a four-lane arterial roadway -- will be transformed to increase mass transit usage, to encourage bicycling and walking, and to provide open space.
  • High density development will reduce regional waste production.
  • Toxic wastes on site will be cleaned up during development.
Economic Progress
  • Each component of the project will be financially self-sufficient.
  • Tenants in the new development, such as La Clinica de la Raza and the De Colores child care center, have sufficient income to cover both the costs of operation and debt service.
  • Retail stores under development will create 500 jobs.
  • Employment training conducted in the area will teach the skills that the new businesses will demand, providing local community residents access to the new jobs.
  • The new construction and job creation will generate income for many low-income residents.
  • Increased sales revenue will help small businesses in the area.
  • Affordable housing will be more available to low- and moderate-income household and senior citizens.
    Human Development
  • Limited or non-English speaking residents will benefit from the health and human service agencies that will be located in the area, providing a multi-lingual and multi-cultural staff. Similar agencies in the city do not provide this service.
  • The expanded La Clinica de la Raza will be able to increase the number of patient/staff interactions by more than 50,000 per year, serving a total of 8,000 to 20,000 individuals. Currently, La Clinica has a monthly waiting list of more than 300 patients. Its dental clinic has a two-year waiting list.
  • The community will be involved in the development, helping to generate a sense of neighborhood stewardship.

Vital Statistics

*Program Management/Partnerships: The Spanish Speaking Unity Council manages the project and has entered into partnerships with La Clinica de la Raza, merchants and residents of the area, the City of Oakland, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, A.C. Transit and16 community groups including the Fruitvale Community Development Council and the Fruitval Community Collaborative. Brady & Associates and Baker/Vilar are developing and conducting community design programs.

*Budget: $25 to $50 million projected total project cost.

*Community Served: The racially and culturally diverse population of Fruitvale Community and the City of Oakland (combined population of 423,000).

*Measures of Success (Projected):

  • The project will strengthen the link between transit planning and community planning, including land use policies and urban design.
  • The project will generate 500 - 1,000 community jobs.
  • The project will include housing for seniors, a multi-purpose senior center, a child development center and a pedistrian plaza.
  • The project will generate 11,300 daily transit riders.
  • $15 million has already been raised with $8.8 million in funding pending.


    Back to Top