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Valley Perspective

Sprucing Up Ventura Boulevard

May 09, 1999|DIANE WEDNER

Seeking to improve a 17-mile stretch of Ventura Boulevard, the Los Angeles Planning Department is holding public hearings and open houses this month to hear residents' suggestions for sprucing up the thoroughfare that stretches from Studio City to Woodland Hills.

Proposed changes include the creation of pedestrian walkways, additional parking lots and a significant reduction of billboards and signs. DIANE WEDNER asked a shop owner, shoppers and a local resident what they would do to improve the boulevard.

MARGO NAHAS-VIGON / Studio City resident; owner, Made on Earth on Ventura Boulevard

Studio City is a wonderful shopping area but there's no charm as far as landscaping or architecture. There are no trash receptacles in the two blocks around my store, so garbage blows all over the street. We have beautiful palm trees along the street, but I'd like to see brick sidewalks all along the 17 miles of the boulevard.

Parking is a major problem in Studio City. If the city would put multilevel parking behind Rite Aid or Vons at Laurel Canyon Boulevard, that would help bring people to the shops around here.

Regarding signs, many of the storefronts around here are eyesores. A new Cal Fed across the street from us slapped a new sign on the front of the bank and didn't bother to remove the dirt marks and shadows from the old sign. It would be nice to see them and others cleaned up.

I'd like our stretch of Ventura Boulevard to resemble Old Pasadena. You can walk along [Colorado Boulevard] and it's charming. They not only have ample parking but plenty of valet parking at night too. The architecture is unique. Old Pasadena has a great night life and pedestrian traffic because the restaurants and stores are open late. Studio City dies at night.

SACHA PRESBURGER / Encino resident

I'd like to see the parking situation improved all along the boulevard. All parking structures should be built in the rear or at the sides of buildings. I also think that restricted parking along side streets should be eliminated. It's exclusionary and makes it a pain for people to get to the boulevard. It also restricts the amount of time they can walk and shop.

I'd like to see more trees in a center island or on the sidewalks near the curbs.

Ventura Boulevard in the West Valley looks like one giant mini-mall. That stretch of the street could use a pedestrian area to attract more people.

PACO FARIAS / Actor, North Hollywood

I would like to see Ventura Boulevard looking more like some of the pedestrian-friendly streets in Glendale. It's cleaner there and the sidewalks are bricked. Some sections are closed to traffic. They have more trees; it's a much nicer place to walk. Ventura Boulevard could use some more landscaping and nicer sidewalks.

COOKIE LEWIS / Sherman Oaks resident; owner of a research consulting firm

I don't believe there should be restricted parking during daytime hours on streets around Ventura Boulevard. On Dickens Street, where I live, there is two-hour parking, which limits the time people can spend on the boulevard. I'm pro-business and I think the city needs to address the needs of small-business owners by promoting the boulevard as a vital commercial center.

I would like to see a public transportation system along the 17-mile stretch that is like the DASH system downtown, which shuttles people to their shopping, business and recreation areas. There could be parking structures every eight blocks or so, and a shuttle that takes visitors between, for example, Studio City and Sherman Oaks.

I'd like to see landscaping along Ventura Boulevard that resembles what they've done along Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills: center dividers with plants. I also believe in freedom of expression, so business owners should be able to display signs that will enhance their buildings. I'm opposed to uniform signage.

I'd like more benches and rest places for pedestrians. But cars shouldn't be banned, like the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Ventura Boulevard has historically been a major thoroughfare through the Valley, uniting us with the city.

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