Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New 2035 Urban Plan for Warner Center Awaits Mayor's Approval

From an urban planning viewpoint, the current layout of the western San Fernando Valley area known as Warner Center is a throwback to an earlier, autocentric, suburban model. Huge buildings, massive parking lots and wide streets make the area daunting for pedestrians. But a new plan for the next two decades aims to expand the Warner Center area North to include frontage on the LA river, divide it to encompass eight districts of varied commercial, retail, entertainment, and residential uses, and use transit circulators and new pedestrian and bike paths to make the area more varied and pedestrian-friendly.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

KCET


Link to article:
Ped-Friendly, River-Inclusive Warner Center Plan Approved by City Council

Excerpt: "Unanimously approved by City Council last month and now subject to the mayor's approval, the Warner Center 2035 Plan is looking to make the Woodland Hills area more walkable and pedestrian friendly. 'The new 2035 plan would create a true downtown for San Fernando Valley,' says Bernstein.

Warner Center is currently bounded by Vanowen Street to the north, the Ventura Freeway to the south, De Soto Avenue to the east, and Topanga Canyon Boulevard to the west. As part of proposed plan, Warner Center has expanded its boundaries north up to the south side of the Los Angeles River.

The 2035 vision aims to take advantage of the growing popularity of the Orange Line by adding an "urban circulator" within Warner Center that would transport residents in and around major venues within the neighborhood. "The plan is to have offices and commercial spaces be better connected to transit stations and pedestrians," says Bernstein. It would allow an addition of 19,000 housing units around the Warner Center transit stops, which would act as buffer for the lower density residential areas surrounding it.

The plan divides Warner Center into eight districts, each with its own development guidelines: College, Commerce, Downtown, North, Village, Park, River, Topanga, and Uptown. The College district, served by the De Soto and a new Oxnard Street Orange Line stop, will focus on live-work projects and small developments. The Commerce District, served by the Oxnard Street station, will become a secondary job center to the Downtown District. The North Village District, served by the Canoga and De Soto stations, will combine residential with transit-oriented development. The Park District, which includes the Warner Center Park, will allow townhomes and flats. The Topanga District would now only allow non-residential uses, while the Uptown District would allow mixed-use developments. A new River District will consist of properties along the river and add new pedestrian and bicycle paths.

'Warner Center has entertainment and retail right now,' says Tom Glick, the city planner in charge of the specific plan, 'what's missing is publicly open space and a connection to river.' To facilitate that, the specific plan would break up the large blocks into smaller, more pedestrian-friendly streets by adding crosswalks and paseos. Each development in the area would be required to maintain 15 percent of its site for public use at street level. Put together, it would build a network of green space in the area. It also encourages development of a 'Great Park' that could host a sports field, farmer's market, skate parks and natural trails."

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