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City of Fremont – Land Use & Community Design Program to Address Climate Change

Case Story

Climate Action Connection: Land Use & Community Design

Transit oriented development helps reduce vehicle miles traveled and will help Fremont achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25 percent by 2020.

Community: Fremont (Alameda County)

Population: 215,000


While Fremont is a largely built-out suburban community, it has targeted remaining undeveloped and under-utilized sites for high density, mixed use, and transit-oriented development.

Program Highlights

  • Future development targeted for sites near existing or future Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations.
  • Transit oriented development (TOD) policies encourage densities up to 75 units per acre.
  • General plan update incorporates climate protection policies based on a community wide greenhouse gas inventory.

Lessons Learned

  • Addressing climate change issues is a multi-disciplinary task; having a single staff person to coordinate across disciplines is essential.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…

Fremont is a medium sized suburban city in the San Francisco Bay Area. It plans to incorporate high density, transit oriented development around its transit hubs by taking advantage of existing and planned BART stations in the city.

A BART station in central Fremont is currently the southern terminus for one BART line. In the summer of 2009, construction will begin on a BART extension to the southern portion of Fremont, including a second BART station. In addition, the city’s redevelopment agency is considering constructing a third BART station in between these two stations. The three stations – along with the Centerville Train Station in central Fremont – offer a variety of TOD opportunities in the city.

Transit Oriented Development Overlay Zones

Fremont has identified the areas around these transit hubs as areas for focused development, where higher densities will make these sections of Fremont more urban and less suburban. The area surrounding two of the BART stations will accommodate a large percentage of the city’s projected growth through 2030. Another area undergoing more specific planning is projected as a high-intensity employment center. These three transit hubs will provide mixed use opportunities with easy walkability.

In addition, Fremont recently approved a project in its city center near an existing BART station. Although the area now is primarily office and commercial use, the new project will include four-story buildings, seventy-five residential units to the acre, parking structures, and easy proximity to public transportation and nearby retail.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Fremont has conducted a community wide greenhouse gas inventory with a baseline year of 2005. Based on the recommendations of its Green Task Force made up of Fremont residents, the city adopted a 25 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal for 2020 over its 2005 baseline.

The Fremont General Plan 2030 Update, approved by the City Council on December 13, 2011, includes a sustainability element, incorporating climate protection goals and policies. The city’s general plan update process was conducted with a close eye to the spirit and intent of SB375, which calls for more compact development to reduce vehicle miles traveled. The city’s focused development areas are expected to help meet the SB375 goals.

Read Fremont climate leadership case stories on Green Building and Civic Engagement.

Compiled May 2009

This case story was prepared in partnership with the California Air Resources Board.

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