Looks Like Yet Another Redevelopment Plan for Van Nuys.


In Urbanize LA “Revamp in the works for Van Nuys Civic Center.

“In a motion entitled “Building a Livable City,” Martinez instructs the Planning Department and LADOT to take stock of the number of parking spaces needed to serve Van Nuys City Hall and other government functions in the Van Nuys Civic Center, and lay out a plan for consolidating parking onto a smaller footprint. This would clear the path for redevelopment of the complex’s remaining parking lots with a mixture of affordable housing, open space, retail, and other community serving uses. Likewise, Martinez proposes that any scheme also incorporate amenities for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Must we endure these promises again? Here is what they were writing 31 years ago this month:

Downtown Van Nuys, due to 70 years of misguided “redevelopment”, has obliterated itself and now crawls along at the lowest condition in its history.  Homelessness, abandoned storefronts, and an eight lane wide highway are what it looks like.  

Ms. Martinez has occupied her office, figuratively and literally, for over 7 years and during that time she has spoken up about all the ills of Van Nuys and the NE SFV: human trafficking, crime, housing, drugs, homelessness.  

Yet, still the tent cities remain. The shopfronts are no more. The entire area looks like hell.

And at the center is the 1958 planned Van Nuys Civic Center, a ghost land of courthouses, library and police station all populated by vagrants, trash, emptiness and hopelessness. Surrounding the area are many tens of thousands of parking lots, enormous concrete fiascos erected 50 years ago to provide dignified places for vehicles to live. They are mostly empty now, and should be destroyed and replaced with housing, housing, housing!

But this requires a plan, an architectural plan, and there is never, ever any architectural thought put into any structures that go up in Van Nuys. Instead, a crooked and semi-literate group of grifters with dough show up at planning board meetings and offer up the shit boxes that are shoved into the poor streets nearby. And VNB remains the center of dysfunctional governance in the SFV. 

In past “great plans”, the Orange Line bus and and bike path was supposed to revive Van Nuys. But next to the path, are parking lots, rented out by nearby car dealers to store their unsold vehicles. This land, paid for with public tax dollars, is instead being exploited by for profit auto dealerships.

So I’m cynical.

Our present condition as a city, due to the horrendous tenure of Mayor Garcetti, normalized everything wrong, illegal, dirty and dangerous.

But let’s try again. Keep trying. We have nothing to lose. But our minds.

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