I should really write about Fremont’s work on a new General Plan that will guide development through 2030. But I can’t seem to buckle down and write something. During my research/paralysis, I started looking at the city’s concept plans for its old-time neighborhoods.
My hesitation is partly because I’m afraid I’ll end up writing an optimistic story about all their lofty goals, and 20 years later someone in Fremont will read it and think we were all on drugs.
How much of the council’s vision ever becomes clear-eyed reality? Let’s look at the Niles Concept Plan from 2001.
Here’s the vision:
1) Create a diverse retail mix — Failure. No hardware store, no drug store, too many antique shops.
2) Incorporate a daytime population — Nope. Unless you count the inebriated masses at The Florence.
3) Create a Central Gathering Place or Plaza — Success. One is scheduled to open this fall, although it’s about half the size as the one they were planning to build.
4) Establish Niles as a Regional Destination — Only for guys in overalls, who have model train sets in their living rooms.
5) Re-establish a Passenger Railroad Depot Downtown — Kinda yes, kinda no. The historic rail service now stops in Niles, but the downtown depot isn’t really a train station, it’s just a home for a couple of nonprofits.
6) Improve Place-finding Ability — ???
7) Preserve Historic Niles — Success
8) Improve the Character of Mission Boulevard —- Failure
9) Improve Transportation Connections — Double Failure. Fremont opposed the original plans for Route 84 and Dumbarton Rail, which would have left Niles a little less isolated.
10) Enhance Alleyways — I don’t think so.
11) Ensure Niles is a Safe, Comfortable Place — I think it is.
To read the plan click here.