A major intersection in Panorama City’s Van Nuys Boulevard shopping district is getting a makeover, but not before residents and business owners have a chance to weigh in on the plans.
Landscaping and greenery, public gathering areas and safety improvements meant to benefit pedestrians are among the amenities the public can expect to see in the three plan options that are being presented Tuesday night for the intersection of Parthenia Street and Van Nuys Boulevard, said Max Podemski, planning director for the nonprofit Pacoima Beautiful.
The presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza del Valle Community Room, at 8610 Van Nuys Blvd., and last for about 1 1/2 hours. The event is being hosted by the Panorama City Neighborhood Council’s City Life Committee, which also will be discussing other issues related to beautification and street cleanliness.
John DiGregorio, who chairs the committee, noted that beautification and safety upgrades are much needed for that intersection. As a resident, he says he’s found that the crossings at that spot are “not pedestrian-friendly, or stroller-friendly, for that matter.”
“You do have to run very fast across (the street),” he said. “There are yield signs for cars but not stop signs.”
He added “there’s no curb appeal. Everything’s kind of dingy, gum all over the sidewalks.”
Pacoima Beautiful was awarded a $500,000 “challenge” grant, under the Great Streets initiative started by Mayor Eric Garcetti, to come up with and implement a plan to spruce up the intersection, which is in the San Fernando Valley’s “most densely populated” neighborhood, Podemski said.
The intersection is near multi-unit residential buildings and close to the Panorama Mall, swap meet and the Plaza del Valley shopping center, but despite the high number of pedestrians that frequent the area, it has clocked a high rate of traffic-related injuries and collisions, according to Podemski.
Parthenia Street and Van Nuys Boulevard are also where the former Pacific Red Car used to run, he said, “so it’s got these really wide medians.”
Podemski also noted that street trees was a top suggestion from the public, and there are plans to make better use of of the medians. But he added that locals will not see any road diets or bike lanes, which have generated some controversy in other parts of the city, because they tend to slow down traffic.
“We really want to get input from the community,” he said. “Working on streets is complicated … but we want to make a project that really serves neighborhood residents and improves the community.”
An initial “mobile” workshop was held earlier this year, and about 400 public comments were received that went into developing the three plans that will be shown Tuesday night, according to Podemski.