Central Square

Auburn, California

As part of the Auburn UDA Streetscape Master Plan, Foothill Associates developed the design and construction documents for Central Square.  The project included relinquishment of State Route 49 right of way from Caltrans to the City of Auburn and the complete realignment of a major intersection to create space for Central Square, a public meeting place where none existed before.  The intersection realignment included working with PG&E, Wave Broadband, and AT&T to develop a Rule 20A District to move all utility lines in the project area underground. The intersection reconfiguration and development of Central Square allowed for pedestrian-oriented and traffic slowing design techniques to encourage walking rather than driving, reduce air pollution, and increase retail opportunities.  Extensive consideration of many diverse community interests through the planning and design process included historic preservation, economic development, local arts, and promoting the City’s image as a center for endurance sports.


Central Square is a public gathering place that has revitalized Downtown Auburn.  The plaza includes seating, art, interpretive signs, and a fire circle, to provide a focal “heart” and gathering place for year-round community events and informal interactions. The design added many more street trees and plantings to help reduce the heat island effect and the inclusion of storm water treatment swales in the landscaping to intercept and pre-treat runoff before it enters the storm sewer system.  A live evergreen tree was planted as the focal point of the City’s annual holiday celebration and parade.


Negotiating with Caltrans to secure the relinquishment of Highway 49 through the center of the corridor allowed more pedestrian oriented and traffic slowing design techniques.


Complete realignment of a major intersection created space for a Central Square as a public meeting place (where none existed before) with seating, art, and a fire circle, to provide a focal “heart” and gathering place for year-round community events and informal interactions.


Outdoor seating for local businesses and hanging out.


Adding interpretive and wayfinding elements along the entire corridor to encourage walking rather than driving, to reduce air pollution, increase retail opportunities, and educate visitors about the historic resources in Auburn.


Interpretive signs on the history of Auburn.


Pedestrian oriented and traffic calming design through crosswalk coloring and lights installed in stop bars, median, and bulb-outs.