When I was preparing for my move to Los Angeles in 2006 and 2007, there was a lot of discussion in the media of Mayor Villaraiogsa’s plans to “Manhattanize” Downtown Los Angeles. Opposition to Villaraigosa’s proposals seemed almost as much about the name he chose, than about the substance. Seven years later, Villaraigosa’s vision is pretty much coming to reality, but you never hear of “Manhattanizing” anymore.
And that’s probably a good thing. If Downtowners couldn’t stand the thought of being Manhattanized, just think about what Valley residents would think.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council approved Warner Center 2035, which allows 30 million square feet of commercial space and 32 million square feet of residential space in the 1,000 square acre community located in Woodland Hills. The number of residential units doubles from the current plan of 9,000 to 20,000.
But more exciting than the new density, the new plan encourages car-free or car-lite travel. The center is divided into eight districts, each of which has its own internal pedestrian and bicycle circulation plans. Wider sidewalks, areas designated for outdoor eating, and bicycle facilities leading to, and from, the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit line.
Denser development, better transit connections. Sounds a lot like Manhattan to me.
But that’s the appeal of Warner Center 2035. Despite doubling the allowed residential units, the plan seeks to reduce the amount of car trips in the area. Workers who commute to Warner Center are more likely to take advantage of transit options when it is easy and comfortable to move inside the Center once arriving.
Bob Blumenfield is one of the loudest supporters of the plan. He represented the Warner Center area as an Assembly Member before being elected to the Los Angeles City Council.
“This new plan reinvents a Warner Center that was conceived in the 1970’s as a collection of monolithic structures and expansive parking lots into a modern, pedestrian and transit focused community,” said Blumenfield in a press release yesterday. Read more…