Oct 062015
 

A new–and very old–approach to designing a city.

Complete Streets, Walkable Community, Mixed-Use Urban Corridor

As you may know, Oxnard now has the opportunity to transform Oxnard Boulevard with new life as an attractive, customer-friendly downtown business destination as Caltrans has reassigned Highway 1, with its heavy truck traffic, to Rice Ave.

A group of concerned community members wants to contribute to this transformation process. Our goal is to promote more active civic life along Oxnard Boulevard, to be more than just a traffic conduit based on conventional traffic engineering.

We believe the City should remake its main street and downtown according to a Complete Streets model— directing the future of Oxnard’s development. The Complete Streets model incentivizes investment, economic development, and housing…three major planning issues facing Oxnard today. Cities are recognizing the many benefits of the Complete Streets concept as it brings new vitality to an area, providing a boon to business. To do so, we must consider how people lived in cities before cars took over.

Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.

Walkable communities are desirable places to live, work, learn, worship, and play; they are a key component of smart growth. Their desirability comes from two factors. First, goods (such as housing, offices, and retail) and services (such as transportation, schools, libraries) are located within an easy and safe walk. Second, walkable communities make pedestrian activity possible, thus expanding transportation options, and creating a streetscape for a range of users—pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers. To foster walkability, communities must support mixed-use development and build compactly, with safe, inviting pedestrian spaces.

Mixed-use urban corridor development is a combination of low-income and market- rate housing above a row of commercial enterprises along the street edge at specifically chosen locations along the Oxnard Boulevard corridor to make a more populated street that has an urban look and functions as an urban street.

We envision Oxnard Blvd as a Mixed-Use urban corridor with a strong emphasis on the residential infill element. There remains considerable pressure for more housing, especially affordable housing, in Oxnard, which historically has led to sprawl. Increasing evidence reveals that sprawl bankrupts cities; kills city centers, and requires infrastructure improvements that are better applied to a city’s center.

Great public spaces don’t happen by accident—they have been and are created by communities with visionary leaders who understand city planning and work hard to bring the vision of a beautiful thriving small city into reality.

If Oxnard is going to have a great downtown and no sprawl, Oxnard has to change, and that change can only come from the City Council. The City Council must adopt a Complete Streets and mixed-use urban corridor policy—to assure the change Oxnard needs. The beauty, or lack thereof, of a city lies within a city’s governing body’s ability to connect and work together with residents. As stewards, the governing council sets the policy and tone—so that a city may flourish.

It will not happen overnight. But with proper vision, guidance, and fortitude, Oxnard will thrive block-by-block and neighborhood-by-neighborhood.

Remaking Oxnard Boulevard into a Complete Street and walkable Mixed-Use Urban Corridor will require support from, and policy changes by, the Oxnard City Council. We invite you to step up and make it so!

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