Mixed-Use Design Standards, Hearing and Adoption of Negative Declaration -- August 20, 2007 -- 7pm

     On the front page of the city's website, www.cityofrosemead.org, is an announcement of a public hearing scheduled for the August 20 Planning Commission meeting.  The hearing will be focused on the city's proposed mixed-use design standards and the proposal to adopt a negative declaration (no significant environmental impact if the standards are adopted).

     I assume the negative declaration is based on the standards themselves and not on the actual construction of mixed-use development.  Mixed use development can already occur (and is already occurring) even without the guidelines.  These new mixed-use guidelines, like the previously-adopted R1 and R2 Design Standards and Guidelines, are intended to move already-occurring development towards a less intrusive and less obtrusive model.

     Like the R1/R2 design standards, this issue will later head to the city council for their consideration.  But if you have problems with the standards, it's always a good idea to get your objections on the record early and often.  (Similarly, if you think the standards are a step in the right direction, you should also get that opinion recorded early and often!).

     You can also comment in writing.  Directions for that are available on the city's website.

Is this "New Urbanist"?

I'm really happy that Rosemead is undertaking this effort. It just seems kind of "cookie cutter" to me. Rosemead will end up looking like Pasadena and Alhambra - not necessarily a bad thing, but, likely to look passe?

I'm trying to understand how a 20-foot window onto a Border's books is pedestrian-scale. :-)

Also, this style is not without failure: in Alhambra, there's a strip mall next to Kohl's that conforms to these standards, but it doesn't seem to be pedestrian friendly at all.... because there are no pedestrians.

Likewise, there's a lot of potential for pedestrian-oriented development at locations like Garvey and San Gabriel, because a lot of people walk there today. The thing is, these people are at risk of being driven away by this "official pedestrian friendly development" because most are working-class people, and aren't all going to be shopping for their lifestyle at the kinds of businesses pictured in the Draft. They might even be living in the trailer parks, which might get wiped out.

The headline could be bitterly ironic: Pedestrians Not Welcome in Pedestrian-Friendly Development.

Some of the rhetoric in the Draft is reminiscent of the writings of Christopher Alexander, an architect whose work has had a profound influence on software engineering as well as architecture. The spirit of Alexander, however, seems to be absent.

Anyway, these are just some things to think of. Please sign up and comment, and, as usual, comment to the City.

Is this "New Urbanist"?

    There's at least ONE pedestrian--I sometimes ride MTA 485 up to the area from campus, or walk up from Valley Blvd to eat lunch. :D

    There's also a big new residential development coming in north of the campus that's across the street from Kohl's (I forget the name of that campus).  That will presumably bring in a lot of pedestrians to the area.  Might even work:  It's not too far south of Albertsons, you've got all those restaurants across the street, you're on both the "blue" and "green" Alhambra Community Transit lines, and you're also on the MTA 485 line that would take you either north to Pasadena and Altadena or west to Los Angeles.

     That Garvey dilemma is an interesting one.  Garvey/San Gabriel is probably the best corner in Rosemead for transit-oriented development.  It's the only place with TWO high frequency bus lines (Montebello 20 and MTA 70).  And Metro Rapid 770 is coming in the next few months.  Also, a lot of people already ride 20 south into South San Gabriel and Montebello, or 70 towards either El Monte or Monterey Park.

     But, as you say, it would be ironic if the only people riding those buses were the ones that are going to be displaced when those mobile homes are replaced by mixed-use development.  If we can make sure some of those new residences come in as affordable housing, we could gain the new retail and entertainment opportunities without killing the transit-oriented lifestyle that's already there.