Revitalizing San Fernando Road through Landscaping

The Sylmar Business Improvement District (BID) is seeking to improve and re-imagine a just-over-half-mile section of San Fernando Boulevard through the power of greenspace creation and landscaping.  The BID isn’t seeking to change the use of the road, all changes will happen on existing medians.  Instead, they just want to make San Fernando Boulevard a more pleasant place to be.

For more images of the Sylmar Vista Project, ##http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/PRESENTATION090519.pdf ##click here.##

Last week, the BID, Councilman Richard Alarcón and the Community Redevelopment Association celebrated the groundbreaking for an interesting and colorful project that will replace concrete medians with plants, flowers, trees, benches and waste stations.  The stated goal of the project is  to beautify an ugly piece of road and create an attractive place for people to walk and bike between Hubbard Street and Polk Street, the entire jurisdiction of the BID.

The commercial property owners within this district pay a self-imposed annual assessment to improve the economic vitality.  In this case, businesses aren’t just committing to maintain the investment in a beautified Sylmar, they’re also putting their own skin in the game by paying for part of the construction.  The CRA has granted another $350,000 towards improving the roadway making the project a true public/private partnership.  The BID already paid for the planting of 36 trees and an entryway to the area announcing “The Vista at Sylmar” and will add the benches and other street decorations.

A typical street section of the improved San Fernando Road includes, from left to right, a sidewalk, car parking, a tree-lined separater, two car travel lanes, a tree-lined medians, two car travel lanes, a planted median, the San Fernando Valley Road Bike Path, and Metrolink tracks.

While the street scaping is designed to make the business area more attractive to cyclists and pedestrians to visit the shops, there are many other benefits to the project.  The trees on the far left will create a buffer between the “car area” of the street and the pedestrian area.  All of those plantings will also act as traffic calming, slowing down traffic and making the street safer.  While the bike area is clearly designated a path because cyclists will only be able to access the shops on the south side of the road at certain intersections; visually it looks awfully similar to a separated bike lane.

  • J

    This article seems a bit misleading. That street already has a bike path along it, the San Fernando Valley Road Bike Path, adjacent to the Metrolink tracks. It is already adjacent to the road, similar to a cycle track.

  • Jan

    This is great!  I’m looking forward to the additional improvements to the area. 

  • Susan

    This is going to be great for Sylmar!  The article isn’t misleading as additional improvements will be made to the existing bike path to enhance it even more.

  • That’s a fair point and I changed some of the text in the story.  The purpose was to make clear that all that the BID is doing is making the road a better place to be by adding some green and purple, not doing a redesign of the road.  Regardless, it’s a pretty cool looking project and I hope that more BID’s, NC’s and other groups think about the power of a nice looking street to improve the economy.

  • Sparky

    Actual functional rain garden swales would have been excellent in this redesign. Missed opportunity, designs are simple to implement
    http://www.lid-stormwater.net/homedesign.htm

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