Everybody is Looking for Their Own Great Streets

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Residents Discuss What Is a Great Street at a Breakout Session Last Saturday

From the AARP to the Sacramento Bee, it seems that everyone is talking about the problems with designing roadways with the singular goal of moving automobile traffic.  Locally, a vote on complete streets legislation is expected in the California State Senate soon and in Woodland Hills, the Woodland Hills Warner Center Neighborhood Council is holding a series of forums to discuss what they consider a "great street" for their neighborhood. 

Saturday, the Neighborhood Council held it's second "Panel of Visionaries" to discuss transportation in the Woodland Hills area.   The first panel, "Destiny in the Valley" drew hundreds of attendees and their second panel, "What is a Great Street" also packed the house this weekend.

The main message from Saturday's panel is that often the people considered enemies of Smart Growth could be its greatest allies if engaged correctly.  Mott Smith, a self-described greedy developer, lectured that developers who want to make money provide the amenities called for by local zoning.  If the zoning and community plans call for transportation plans that move cars at the expense of non-drivers, then that's the transportation plan that developers will advance.

Caltrans' District Seven Director Doug Failing similarly surprised attendees when he was asked what he considered a Great Street.  Failing didn't discuss a wide car-oriented throughway, but a road with wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and well marked pedestrian crossings.

The diverse panel also included Ventura City Manager Rick Cole and Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels. 

Local leaders also recognize that residents need to take control of their community planning to bring about real change.  The Daily News quotes Joyce Pearson, chairwoman of the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council, as promoting the role local leaders will need to take to  bring about  change in transportation planning.

Residents of Woodland Hills Warner Center will have their chance soon enough.  Workshops on the Warner Center Specific Plan Thursday, September 4 at 5 P.M and Saturday, September 6 at 9 A.M.

Photo: Enci