Residents had the opportunity to discuss the future of key City boulevards at the workshop held last Saturday at John Adams Middle School. This workshop was part of the ongoing update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements for the City’s General Plan. The City’s Planning and Development Director, Eileen Fogerty, noted that the update “was an opportunity for the residents to define their future.”
The land use element delineates the distribution of different types of buildings (housing, business, industry, open space, etc.) while the circulation element sets out the location of existing and proposed roads, highways, and other modes of transportation. The zoning ordinance translates the land use element’s goals and objectives into standards and procedures. They were last updated in 1984.
Fogerty told the workshop participants that they would be “looking specifically at the boulevards” to see “where there needs to be intervention” such as “the upgrading of the entrance to our City on Lincoln Boulevard” or “looking at neighborhood retail areas.”
Each participant rotated through three stations of small group discussions. One station focused on Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards and Bergamot Station, another on Pico, Ocean Park, and Lincoln Boulevards, and the last one on a citywide framework. The discussion at each station focused on three questions:
1) Have we located the activity centers and neighborhood commercial areas along the boulevard in the best areas to serve the neighborhoods?
2) Does the land use and circulations elements approach to land use do enough to support the transportation goals of reducing auto trips, increasing transit options, and promoting walking and biking in each area?
3) Which community benefits are most important in each area? What community benefits are missing?
Key ideas expressed at the workshop included: boulevard development should include affordable housing as well as workforce housing, traffic mitigation measures, historic preservation, safety features such as lighting and bike lanes, and buildings should be built with an appropriate height and scale so they are compatible with the neighborhood.
Other citywide boulevard concepts that were expressed: “develop a formula to determine public benefits, maximize light rail opportunities, expand parking districts, correlate density with transit, increase neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores, preserve historical context, modify streets for solar access, link nodes such as a hotel to economic development, create nodes based on demographics/users, view boulevards as open space, and cater to senior and youth needs.”
Former Planning Commissioner Darrell Clarke told the Mirror in his view the maximum height for boulevard buildings should be four stories and include “ground floor retail and three stories of residential units with an appropriate floor area ratio, and require pedestrian paseos and courtyards.”
The next workshop will be on March 1, and will focus on transportation.