Is Our Neighborhood Character at Risk?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When RCPC worked for the downzoning of Rockridge in the early 1970s, one of the goals of the organization was a vibrant commercial district along College Avenue.

Members of the group wanted ground floor retail space to be retail only, with office and other non-retail uses located on the floors above the retail spaces. They planned a pedestrian-friendly retail environment.

College Avenue today largely reflects that goal, and is a Bay Area success story attracting customers from throughout the region.

But the neighborhood character that has come to define Rockridge is dynamic. As businesses come and go, the mix of shops and services evolves. Moreover, business cycles, the economy, consumer tastes, planning changes, and property management can influence change.

These photos are of currently empty College Avenue commercial spaces. The future tenants of these properties aren't yet known, but many Rockridge residents are concerned that the avenueÕs commercial diversity, that special mix of uses that meets the needs and interests of local residents and regional shoppers, could be at risk.

What Do Rockridge Residents Want in Their Retail Mix?

What is it about Rockridge that you think makes our neighborhood special? How does the mix of shops on College Avenue support that view? Should specific services be emphasized to preserve the area or to add to it?

In the coming months, RCPC will be inviting Rockridge residents, merchants, and commercial property owners to share their thoughts on these questions, and others that will come up. This information will help us work together to retain that special sense of place that Rockridge offers, even as our favorite shops may come and go.

To share your thoughts on this topic, or to be contacted to participate in the conversation, email Be sure to include your name and street. If there are particular services that you would like to preserve or attract, mention them as well.

The progress of these conversations will be reported in The Rockridge News.