Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tom Field's Proposals

"tom" has been viewing this blog and making comments from time to time. He and I have also discussed the Ponte Vista project via Emails back and forth.

Many months ago I challenged everyone to come up with what they would like to see built at Ponte Vista. After careful thought and listening and learning, and teaching us a thing or two, "tom" has created his vision and contributed the following post.

¤ I believe 1,700 total living units would work, but with a different mix than we have been presented with.

¤ Senior housing of 700 units, mixed to include lofts to 3-bedrooms. The present DEIR has no allowance for senior lofts and this is a significant oversight. I'm certain there are plenty of single seniors who would like the smaller size unit and the smaller price which comes with it.

¤ Unrestricted housing of 800 units, mixed to include lofts to 3-bedrooms.

¤ "Patio homes" of 200 units. I was thinking of a "star" type arrangement, and also staggered horizontally. The center could be underground parking.

I went with a higher number of total units because the senior lofts would now be in the mix. And, in no small part, if we want a bunch of concessions, we have to give Bisno some motivation to build. Nothing motivates a developer like $$$$. I know I'm going to catch hell for this stance, but something is going to be built there. To think it won't is like standing on the beach and telling the tide it can't come in. Let's at least get something for it.

¤ Some light retail to cut down on driving trips in-an-out of the development: coffee shop, cleaners, drug store, small grocery.

¤ Make dual-use of the open space. Park plus a library. Build the library into a hillside.

¤ Pedestrian bridges crossing Western at the 3 entrances to the development. Nothing screws up traffic (even with synchronized lights) like pedestrians blocking right and left turns. Additionally during school let-out everyone knows that kids go when they feel like it, whether the light is green or yellow. Let's keep them out of harm's way by not even tempting them to jaywalk. If anyone is familiar with the UC Irvine Campus, they've got some great pedestrian bridges which are functional and architecturally beautiful.

¤ At least 2 Dash bus stops. If you provide Dash, people will use it. Especially the kids and seniors.

¤ In order to get the number of units I feel are necessary, Mark is very correct 3-4 stories will not get us there. Bisno should just admit he needs 4-5 stories and go with it. Just keep the buildings which front on Western down so our neighbors (like Mark Wells) can continue to enjoy their unobstructed view.

¤ Escrowed funds for Bisno's contribution into ATSAC. Let's not give unrestricted funds to LA DOT. If we do, it will wind up somewhere else in the city.

¤ Maximum mitigation around the development. Widen Western, re-stripe, etc.

¤ One thing to remember is not to be too myopic. As per the letter to the Daily Breeze, there 1,400 units going in downtown. Plus Target is going to generate a ton of traffic. And what is not any any one's radar is the huge improvement of the Kaiser facility. This is going to become a major center and generate a ton of cars.

¤ That brings me to 5 Points. With the other projects I named in the previous point, this intersection is going to become more of a nightmare than it already is. In addition, as I said in my previous point, we have to be careful to not get myopic.
a. Ponte Vista will not responsible for all the additional traffic trying to get through 5 Points. Holding them responsible for it is unrealistic. Target, JCC Homes, Kaiser, The Vue, etc., need to be called to the table to ante up for a fix to 5 Points.

b. The idea of a road through the Naval property which leads directly to a freeway on-ramp too tightly focused on Ponte Vista and will not address these other projects.

c. In my opinion, traffic itself is not as much of a problem as traffic FLOW. 5 Points cannot be remedied with ATSAC. Nor will a traffic circle help. There will just be too many cars.
What needs to happen at 5 Points is a complete revamping of the entire intersection along the lines of a freeway interchange. PV Drive into Anaheim (east of the intersection) should be turned into a continuous road as an underpass. Normandie into Gaffey should become a continuous road as an overpass. Exit ramps should be constructed for those needing to go from PV Drive/Anaheim East to Vermont and Anaheim West. The same for Normandie/Gaffey, etc. It is the only real way to ensure uninterrupted traffic flow.

¤ Lastly, Caltrans has to get on board and realize that signaled on-ramps and off-ramps can no longer handle the volume of traffic we have in the South Bay. The backups caused by these intersections and lights is more than ridiculous. We need full cloverleaf and modified cloverleaf interchanges at Anaheim, PCH and Sepulveda.

¤ Oops, one more point. "Affordable" housing. Bisno needs to bite-the-bullet and sign up with the City and their subsidized mortgage program. Have a certain percentage of the units of each phase reserved for this program for whatever time frame the City requires. If they don't sell, then they revert to market rate.

Editor's notes.

Thank you again Tom, for your post contribution.

This is one more example of a person willing to share his views and I hope everyone thinks about what is written in this contribution.

Tom and I disagree on a number of points, but he has done his studying to put together some very interesting ideas. I would like to think Tom is one more more example of a person who is thinking about he thinks is best for our community and is willing to share it with others.

Tom knows that their will be people who agree strongly with his input, while others disagree strongly with his views. But sharing views, IMHO, is the only way we are going to get through this event.

I hope Tom's contribution will spur others on to comment on his ideas and create ideas of their own.


Mark Wells said...

This is a comment from Mark Wells.

Tom hasn't been to my home so his assumption that since I live "above Western" that I may have an unobstucted view. I don't think Tom is wrong thinking that people who do have great views wish to keep those views. Views are valuable things, not only emotionally, but they can also increase the value of the home.

Tom can't know, at this time, that if my wife and I look out of every east facing window of our home, we view the side and roof of the home directly below us. It is a two-story large home that was one of the largest remodel projects to first dot the neighborhood.

Tom also cannot know that foliage grows all over the fencing between the home I live in and the home east of our, and that plastic masking straps have been placed all along the fence to obstruct views between our home and the home below us.

When I was growing up, we had a tremendous view of the harbor, the refinery, and all points east and north. Growing trees have cut off most of the views that are not already obstructed by the stuff I wrote about earlier in this comment.

If we were to attempt to build a deck over our patio to give us better views, it would most likely face objections by the folks living above us, it would block whatever remaining views they still have. Rancho Palos Verdes residents have very strong views about view retention and those that still have great views guard those views like they are gold bars in their back yards.

I do not fault Tom for thinking that I have a great view of anything. There are still many folks who live in the hill, mostly above my location, that still have wonderful views.

I can view the south entrance of Ralph's if I look through a break in the trees and between the plastic slats on the fence.

Mr front yard view includes most of the Conoco-Phillips refinery and points to the northeast. If that is considered a great view, then that is what it is. We get to see the folks living close to Gaffey and most of Wilmington fire off some pretty neat fireworks on July 4. It is great to watch the bombs bursting in air below us.

Also, I live pretty darned close to Western Avenue, so the closer you are to Western, the worse your view will be compared to the very many folks who live farther up the hill.

Tom does make a great point about keeping the buildings near Western, in Ponte Vista, lower to the ground. Mr. Bisno claims that the buildings he wants to build will be only three storys above ground level for the buildings closest to Western Aveneu. He is still reluctant to put any buildings in the lowest southwest portion of the site where he is planning the public park.

Mark Wells arrived at the home he currently lives in on May 4, 1955. I have grown up looking out at great views for many years. Those views diminished over time, but at least I got the chance to have them. Development, natural growth, and planned fencing have taken away much of the view, but don't feel sad for me. At least I took the opportunities to look out in wonder before it went away.

Mark and Terri Wells are extremely fortunate to live where we live. We want to continue to live in a larger community that is together and not far apart because of issues like Ponte Vista. We are working hard to keep the area as wonderful as it can be.

Mark Wells thinks that even 1,700 new homes is way too many, but I do appreciate that folks on both sides are trying to find the best number and there are like-minded folks on all sides that seem to be taking compromise more seriously.

Be well,
Mark Wells

mellonhead said...

How's this? 100x150 ft lots with horse trails. A tunnel under Western and a hook-up to the horse trails in Rolling Hills Estates. Just a thought.

M Richards said...

Sven Ludvquist O'Brien would rather have a tunnel built between the Senior Housing section and Green Hills. The tunnel should be wide enough for two lanes of GEM vehicle traffic.
Other folks have commented that a mortuary would be fine inside Ponte Vista in the commercial area, but still close enough to the senior section.

You do have a good thought about horses though. The tunnel would probably have to be taller than a tunnel to Green Hills, unless of course, you plan for horse-drawn wagons for caskets.