The Ventura Boulevard corridor here may eventually get a new look, one designed to get people out of their cars, out of malls and walking again.
The Woodland Hills draft Streetscape Plan was unveiled Tuesday night at a public meeting, where city officials and members of the Woodland Hills Ventura Boulevard Improvement Assn. expressed the need for business owners to form a Business Improvement District.
Tom Rath, a city planning associate, said an organized BID would be required "if we want something that represents a visible, consistent and noticeable environment." A BID also would raise funds and have a voice in local politics.
The plan area includes businesses along both sides of Ventura Boulevard from Valley Circle Boulevard to Corbin Avenue. "The idea is to allow the community to give itself an edge and an identity," Rath said.
The Streetscape Plan establishes the landscaping materials, furniture and fixtures to be used in public access areas of new developments and remodeling projects.
It also creates brick-paved designs on the crosswalks of each major intersection along the boulevard, outlines the need for more parking spaces and establishes restrictions on signage for businesses.
To increase pedestrian traffic, the plan establishes shaded plaza areas, large parking lots and brick-paved sidewalks and common shop areas to promote walking.
City officials estimate the cost to businesses of basic implementation to be about $1 million per mile for the nearly five-mile stretch. Most of the merchants and residents at the meeting said they were pleased with the plan.
"The area desperately needs it," said Michelle Romprey, owner of Curran Cleaners. "It would be nice if it looked more like some of the other cities, like [the 3rd Street Promenade in] Santa Monica and [Old] Pasadena."
Rath said if public opinion continues to be favorable, the plan would go next to the city boards of public works and public affairs, and then to the city Planning Commission within three months.