When Mayor Eric Garcetti took office in 2013 he initiated a plan to reinvigorate communities throughout the City by investing in key corridors to encourage economic development and urban renewal. The idea was to redefine streets as places to build community through placemaking and promote walking, cycling, gathering and well-being.
The Great Streets Studio was created and a task force made up of key City staff was engaged to 1) define the elements that make a street “great” and 2) identify the corridors that would become Great Streets. Council District 12 (CD12) was honored to participate on this task force and saw it as an opportunity to merge the Great Streets concept with their Northridge Vision Plan.
Northridge Vision was initiated by CD 12 in 2009, in partnership between Northridge South, Northridge West, and Northridge East Neighborhood Councils, The Northridge Chamber of Commerce, California State University Northridge and the American Institute of Architects. Over a three-year process, extensive surveying was conducted to ask people what they thought the future of Northridge should look like. The resulting document was called the Northridge Vision Plan and contained myriad recommendations for all the neighborhoods of Northridge, including the Northridge Village Commercial Corridor. The plan was adopted by the City Council in 2013 and serves as a “style guide” for development amenities, and a sourcebook for design and placemaking elements.
Having done this extensive outreach, Reseda Blvd was primed to become LA’s First Great Street, and Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Mitchell Englander kicked off the program at a community event and press conference in June of 2013 where the first 15 Great Streets were announced.
Having received the official designation, the Reseda Blvd – Great Street partnership began. Local non-profit firm LA Mas was brought on to conduct the project-specific outreach and build out the custom designs necessary to incorporate Great Streets-elements into a unique design for the Boulevard. Design charrettes were held and City departments were engaged to incorporate the feedback from the events with the recommendations of the Northridge Vision Plan. The result was a “Mid-Century Modern Living Room” design theme inspired by the architectural elements of Reseda Blvd.
The City’s first-ever painted sidewalk features a pattern that is referential to the flagstone pavers that accent Reseda Blvd., and under-awning art is designed to draw pedestrians from the sidewalk into the commercial spaces. The custom, bright-yellow furniture creates areas for neighbors to congregate while enjoying their morning coffee, dining at local eateries, or taking a break from shopping. The gray, teal and bright yellow palate was selected by the community and draws from iconic “Old Northridge” references.
In addition to the design elements, the street itself was fully reconstructed and the City’s first-ever parking-protected bike land was installed, without losing any driving lanes and with a less than 4% reduction in street parking over the full mile of the Great Street Corridor. Plans are currently underway to redo the existing medians utilizing Green Streets elements to keep them attractive and drought-tolerant, while capturing stormwater in accordance with the Mayor’s Sustainability pLAn.
The REvisit REseda event is the premiere of all the new Great Streets elements at an Art Walk and Scavenger Hunt that is planned as the first of an ongoing series of Community Events. It will REintroduce the iconic West Valley corridor to longtime residents, university students and business patrons, alike!