By Alex Cordero
The City of Pasadena continues to include local residents’ input on the city’s Specific Plans by bringing the community together on walking tours featuring the Specific Plan area in their respective districts—Lamanda Park being the most recent.
A large group of residents joined city staff members, including Field Representative of District 4 Noreen O’Sullivan, Councilmember Gene Masuda, and Charlotte Bland who is running to be the next councilmember for District 4.
The large group was divided in two and lead by city staff members moderating and asking local residents for their feedback. Our group was led by Senior Planner Andre Sahakian.
The walking tour covered a 1.25-mile radius in District 4. The Lamanda Park Specific Plan area up for discussion began on North Daisy Avenue and included East Walnut Street through Eloise Avenue, down East Colorado Boulevard and circled back to return to North Daisy Avenue.
This part of the city is considered to be a flexible district that allows light industrial and creative office uses. As residents walked down East Walnut Street they were asked what type of building use they would like to see more, if there are particular building designs they would like to see, and what could be improved.
Local residents in the group enthusiastically mentioned that they would like to see more diverse and creative uses—emphasizing on the arts and sciences, and more examples of work/live uses in Lamanda Park. On areas for improvement, some local residents discussed the idea of future developments having more friendly pedestrian designs.
As the walking group continued the excursion down East Walnut some of the topics discussed among the group were sidewalk improvements, such as wider sidewalks, bigger setbacks to enhance the walking experience in the city, and faster fix times on broken sidewalks that disturb pedestrian safety.
O’Sullivan informed everyone that if and when anybody encountered areas that may affect the safety of others, they could easily submit a request to fix it on the Citizen Service Complaint app on their smartphone.
As we walked around an area of broken cement bulging out of the sidewalk, O’Sullivan took a picture of the sidewalk and immediately submitted a request to have the sidewalk fixed through the app.
The walking tour continued with a quick left down Eloise Avenue which consisted of a short residential area before we reached East Colorado Boulevard.
Pasadenans made their way to the Sierra Madre and Colorado boulevards intersection facing the recent new development of the Vons shopping center.
Sahakian asked the group to share their thoughts on the recent new development area. The way this area was built had mixed reviews from local residents in our group. For example, some residents argued that there are no entrances designed for pedestrians; it is difficult for a commuter on foot to have easy access to the shopping center off main streets and they have to walk around the building to the back where they encounter vehicles coming in and out of the parking lot.
Another resident asked for better parking lot designs for the car commuter in the neighborhood, explaining that it is frustrating to have to park behind the shopping center or on the rooftop of Vons only to visit her local bank, which faces the street where there is no parking allowed.
When we crossed the intersection the group praised the Walgreens building design and remodeling. The Walgreens design is an example of what the local residents in our group considered a model design for car commuters and pedestrians. The store has two entrances designed for car commuters who park in the back of the store and for pedestrians to easily enter the front of the store off the sidewalk.
Another topic up for debate was the big ficus trees that populate East Colorado Boulevard. These trees, despite the beautiful scenery they bring, also bring massive leaf debris onto the sidewalks and many businesses deal with plumbing issues caused by the growing roots of the trees.
Sahakian, communicated to the group that there is a Master Street Tree Plan (MSTP) process that enforces the types of trees allowed to plant in certain areas of the city. This topic prompted the group to suggest that future developments in the Lamanda Park area consider planting other types of trees.
The next event for local residents to voice their feedback on future developments in the city of Pasadena is designed for local youth. On Oct. 19, the city will host a student summit in the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center. This will be an interactive experience for our local youth to engage in the future planning of our communities. Please visit The City Of Pasadena online for more details on the upcoming student summit and future community events.