An Updated Plan for Downtown? Sounds Good to Us.

The City of Orinda is considering RFPs for the revision of our downtown plan. Revisions would provide clear direction to individuals and entities interested in improving or developing (e.g.: the vacant lot at 25A Orinda Way) in the downtown commercial district. Clear direction means a streamlined approval process and demonstrates the city’s interest in an improved downtown, which will attracted experienced developers and spark interest in our downtown. This is a good thing. Orinda needs this.

In many states cities are required to review and updated their general plans every 10 years at an expense that would equal or surpass the expense that the city is considering taking on. In many states, every ten years every city reviews, assesses and revises. Orinda is proposing that we consider only one portion of our plan, the downtown portion.

The downtown district of Orinda should be seen as part of our community’s infrastructure; updating and maintaining this infrastructure should be a high priority. Our lack of attention to this matter suggests to investors, businesses and developers that we as a community just don’t care what happens downtown ... it’s exhausting, but we care.

If you care, too, please take a minute to write an email to the city letting them know that you support the city council exploring this effort and expense. This issue is currently up for discussion and the city has heard from many of residents, some for and some against revising our downtown plan. Please speak up and let your views be heard.

Vote for your Favorite Downtown Projects by Feb 15th

Last Tuesday night, roughly 150 enthusiastic Orindans showed up for a ConnectOrinda community workshop to weigh in on 19 potential Downtown projects in consideration. The event was full of positive energy and excitement for many of these concepts. 

Potential projects ranged in scope from bigger infrastructure changes to cosmetic improvements, such as,

  • Moving the Eastbound 24 on ramp out of the Theater District

  • Planning for more creek access in the future

  • Improved bike paths, walkways and lighting around downtown and BART

  • Beautifying Vashell Way, the alley across from Theater Square to add outdoor dining

  • Rain proofing the casual carpool waiting line

  • Adding parklets and more artwork around town 

Here's where you come in...

Knowing many would not be able to attend, the planning team has created an online portal for you to read up and weigh in. Please take a few minutes to click here, browse and "Like" your favorite projects. Note there are two tabs - projects and infrastructure. The ConnectOrinda team is requesting as much community feedback as possible before next Friday, Feb 15th at 5:00 PM. 

You can also read the more detailed staff report or view the physical boards from the event at the Community Center outside the founder's auditorium. Questions can also be directed to Adam Foster at or call 925-726-1749.

After the votes are tallied, the ConnectOrinda team will compile the data to present back to city council on March 5th. 

ConnectOrinda Needs You!

Tomorrow night Orinda' City Council will hold a special workshop for interested parties to weigh in on the plans for “ConnectOrinda” - the City’s current initiative to improve our downtown areas. Care about the creek? Want more bike paths? Curious about signage improvements or how we can make Orinda more walkable?

Please show up to listen, learn and provide feedback on various projects. See you there!

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The Final Countdown: Dennis, Nick and Amy for City Council

Post-Election Update: WUDO’s picks for city council won by a wide margin! Congrats to Amy, Nick and Dennis. We look forward to working with you to make Orinda better for future generations!


Local Elections: The End Game = A Better Downtown

We are off to the races! The race for Orinda City Council that is. The deadline is tomorrow for Orinda to cast its votes for three candidates to fill three seats for the next three years.  Yes three is the magic number.

As a reminder, WUDO is endorsing three candidates for City Council: Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and incumbent, Amy Worth.  We believe each of these candidates has the combination of experience and motivation to get our downtown moving in the right direction.  If you choose to read no further, please get out there and VOTE for Dennis, Nick and Amy.

Now the Why...

Here at WUDO, it’s obvious that we’ve been following this race  closely. Heck, we’ve been following every step of the downtown conversation closely…for years.  We’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to gathering information, studying the facts, learning the history, speaking to business owners, building owners and the city, organizing events and most importantly attending city council meetings to try to move things along.

Throughout this process, we have concluded that incumbent candidate Eve Phillips is not a candidate who will move downtown forward. Although her PR message is “pro downtown” Phillips has clearly demonstrated the opposite position, time and again, vote after vote.

Back in July 2015, Phillips voted against even starting the conversation about downtown revitalization (Orinda City Council Meeting held July 21st, 2015). In 2016, Phillips voted against bringing in thought leaders from outside agencies. And earlier this year, Phillips voted against a plan to improve downtown Orinda’s streetscape. The list goes on and on. Again and again at council meeting after council meeting, Phillips is predictably a “no” on nearly every downtown related issue.

Please, if you are on the fence at the polls tomorrow, don’t let campaign rhetoric fool you. Eve Phillips is demonstrably not in favor of progress for Orinda’s downtown. Nick Kosla, Dennis Fay and Amy Worth are qualified and ready to move forward. Please spread the word and vote Dennis, Nick and Amy for City Council. They are our ticket to a better downtown.

Fay, Kosla and Worth: WUDO’s Picks for Orinda City Council.

This November, three open seats on Orinda’s City Council signal a potential turning point for progress with Orinda’s downtown.  Three candidates in particular, Dennis Fay and Nick Kosla and Amy Worth represent Orindans BEST prospect for momentum in the process of Downtown renewal.


Fay, Kosla and Worth each offer a wealth of experience on issues pertaining to Orinda’s Downtown.  Dennis Fay, a former chair of the Citizens’ Infrastructure and Oversight Committee (CIOC) was instrumental in the development of Orinda’s program to repair its roads. Nick Kosla’s experience as Chair of the Orinda Planning Commission will be invaluable in future Council discussions about land use and business development in Orinda’s Downtown.  Amy Worth is currently serving as Mayor in her 4th term on Orinda’s City Council and has a proven voting record on thoughtful Downtown revitalization including leveraging the input of two independent consulting firms (The Urban Land Institute and Main Street America) to provide options for downtown renewal, and most recently, the green lighting of the Master Streetscape Plan which kicks off October 13th.

The addition of these three highly qualified and forward-thinking candidates to Orinda’s City Council is exactly what we need to move forward with downtown.  We offer our endorsement and urge others to vote for Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and Amy Worth for Orinda City Council on November 6th.

Want to Help? It’s Simple.

Beyond voting, we encourage you to take it a step further and help these candidates win on November 6th. Visit each candidates’ website to volunteer to spread the word, host a yard sign or donate. Forward this message to your friends and neighbors to let them know who you’ll be voting for on November 6th. Get out the word, then get out and vote! (Coming soon!)

ConnectOrinda Event, Oct 13, 2018

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the walk from the Village side of downtown to the Theater side were seamless and pleasant? What if our sidewalks were widened, or the maze of parking spaces near Rite Aid were organized? What if the creek were unearthed and along side it there were a pleasant walking path? So many good ideas float around, and hopefully some will be put into action soon via the Orinda Streetscape Master Plan.

The city planning department is kicking off the Streetscape effort on Saturday, October 13th with a community event from 10 AM - 2 PM. Take a walking tour and share your ideas, compete in a scavenger hunt, and get in on the planning. It’s happening at Library Plaza and we hope to see you there! Learn more at


Simple Math: Food Trucks + Friends = Fun

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Its no secret that we at What's Up Downtown Orinda are fans of food trucks.  Who doesn't welcome the opportunity to get out of the house on Thursday evening and gather with friends and family for a little food and fun ... all conveniently located in our very own downtown.  Bonus: we don't have to do the cooking.

Since last Summer, we have been enjoying Orinda's Taste of the World Thursday Night Street Feast.  Our sense is that many of you have been, too.  Did you know that next Monday, May 14th at 7pm the City Council will be looking into making the weekly Thursday night food truck pilot program a permanent fixture on Orinda's event calendar?  After engaging in a formal RFP process, the council will be reviewing a proposal from Taste of the World Market and discussing what shape this event will take going forward.

We would love to know how you feel about the Thursday Night Street Feast.  Do you love it and want to see the event continue?  Can it be improved?  Haven't been yet?  Well, why not?  Want to see more events like it?  Please send your feedback to City Clerk Sheri Smith at, or better yet, come to the City Council Meeting on Monday, May 14th at 7pm and be a part of the process.


I Voted

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Did you receive your vote by mail ballot for the June 5th primary election?  We love voting at the kitchen table, or anywhere else for that matter.  Among the many items on the ballot, we are excited to cast our vote for two in particular.

Measure J: Library Services Parcel Tax


For those of you who are fans of Orinda's Public Library, please be sure to vote YES on Measure J.  This measure provides critical funding to our city's beloved Library.  Money will go towards library service hours; utilities, maintenance, repair of the library building and its systems and equipment; replacement of worn and outdated books and materials; and library programs for children, families and seniors.  To read more about this measure, please click through.

Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is running for Assembly

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Orinda resident Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is running for California State Assembly and we are excited to cast our votes for her.  According to her web site, some of Bauer-Kahan's priorities include:

  • Ensuring our children get a top-level education from pre-k through college by fully funding our public schools and guaranteeing universal pre-school so that every child has the opportunity to succeed
  • Protecting the environment and battling climate change

  • Working to improve transportation options, finding traffic solutions and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, including fixing our roads, working to make BART more reliable and building more BART parking

  • Protecting a woman’s right to choose

  • Increasing access to quality, affordable health care

  • Keeping our families and children safe by making California a model for the nation on gun violence prevention

  • Assuring balanced budgets, while protecting key state programs

  • Helping small businesses thrive and growing our local economy

For a good read, check out Bauer-Kahan's personal and professional background.  Inspiring to say the least.