Dublin's New Public Square Illustration

This artist's illustration imagines what Dublin's new public square may look like at buildout in about 2065. Building heights are limited to six stories. The City Council approved the Dublin Downtown vision concept on Nov. 5. (Source - City of Dublin)

The Dublin City Council unanimously committed the city to the creation of a pedestrian friendly, new-look downtown, for which the public has shown high approval ratings in workshops and surveys.

The first phase is expected to be ready in 2025, but the entire vision won’t be built out for another 30 to 50 years, staff said at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.

Dublin officials for years have talked about how Pleasanton and Livermore showcase old, historic downtown cores that interest people for their walkable mix of dining, small outdoor civic events, and shopping.

Dublin’s downtown was built in the 1970s and 1980s, when people drove cars to stores, and wanted plenty of parking next to those merchandise palaces. They were known as big-box stores, because they had no windows. Without pedestrian shoppers, there was no need for windows.

But now Dubliners want the pedestrian experience; the vision shows how to achieve it. Currently, the huge block is bounded by Amador Plaza Road on the east, Amador Valley Boulevard on the north, Regional Street on the west, and Dublin Boulevard on the south.

Carving up the area into 11 smaller blocks with their own streets and sidewalks in a grid pattern will bring much more convenience to shoppers, said city staff, who worked with a consultant on the plan.

There will be variety, with high density housing, retail shopping, and a one-acre public square that can be used for such open-air events as concerts, food trucks and group yoga sessions.

Assistant City Manager Linda Smith emphasized that the vision is only a concept, not a specific plan. There are no applications pending to build anything on the site.

Instead, the intent is to show property owners and developers a vision that could succeed for them and the public. Uses proposed include hotels and other large buildings with a height limit of six stories.

The walkable street grid and the public square would be the first built, starting in 2020, and ready by 2025. The public square would be located a little north of Dublin Boulevard and a little west of Amador Plaza Road.

Community input was important in developing the vision. A series of community workshops sometimes attracted as many as 200 people.

Smith told the council that if it approved, the vision will be “a tectonic shift” for the city. Future funds will have to be allocated for it.

All five council members expressed enthusiasm for the vision, and said it should be launched.

Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez noted that ever since she joined the council in 2018, she has been in City Manager Chris Foss’ office every week, saying “When will this happen?” The city hired a consultant and had held five study sessions where the council expressed its ideas for the downtown. Hernandez said she’s ready to get going: “Let’s not kick the can down the road.”

Councilwoman Jean Josey said she’s really excited about the vision’s framework. “We’ve heard over and over again, people want a pedestrian friendly downtown,” she said. “It is one thing within our power to do. I’m ready to go.”

“This is the downtown that the people of Dublin deserve,” Mayor David Haubert said.

The first phase, to start in 2020, will include building the street grid and the public square. The goal is to have that completed in 2025.

In the second phase, from 2026 to 2035, retail will be added to the area. From 2036 to 2045, housing would be integrated into the grid. In the final phase, 2046 to 2065, mixed uses would continue the downtown’s progress.