Proposed budget cuts of nearly two-thirds to a 20-year master plan to widen and beautify Ventura Boulevard, the San Fernando Valley's historic "Main Street," will barely register a blip with shoppers and merchants, city officials predict.
New turn lanes would still be added at intersections, relieving traffic congestion. Trees, special paving and benches would still be put in along the boulevard.
City planning and transportation officials say the reductions, rather than gutting the plan, in fact give a more realistic picture of the actual costs of the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan, as the proposal is known.
The main reason for this--according to the Transportation Department, which is proposing the cuts--is that $139.4 million of the original $222.1 million plan came from an arithmetic error, cost projections for land acquisition that grew outdated and widenings that later were deemed infeasible or excessive.
Another reason is that the planning department has scaled back projections for new development along the 17-mile corridor, from 8.6 million square feet by the year 2005 to 4.1 million square feet by the year 2010.