Plan for Valley looks to rewrite L.A.’s car centrism

150 150 Matthew Grant Anson

Office buildings in current version of Warner Center. (Photo Credit: Fredrick Dennstedt/Flickr)

Public transportation is in many circles a joke in Southern California, but a plan recently OK’d by the L.A. City Council seeks to make use of the transit Los Angeles already has to promote job growth, in this case via the already existing Metro Orange Line.

Sustainability, community connectedness, accessible public transit and the promotion of innovative businesses and jobs…if it sounds too good to be true, you need to dream a little bigger. Such is the message sent by the Council, whch this week unanimously approved the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan.

The existing Warner Center, located in Woodland Hills, will now undergo what’s being referred to as a “wholesale revision,” making the area more of a mixed-use project that merges residential property with business.

“The proposed WC2035 Plan would provide for sustainable development where people could live, work and play and where day-to-day needs could be met through walking, bicycling and local transit,” says the plan.

The Warner Center is already home to 40,000 of L.A.’s jobs, with Farmer’s Insurance moving its headquarters to the center as recently as this year, proof that this is an investment in a zone that’s already doing its job. Several healthcare and entertainment firms call the area home.

“The new plan reinvents a Warner Center that was conceived in the 1970s as a collection of monolithic structures and expansive parking lots into a modern, pedestrian and transit-focused community,” said councilmember Bob Blumenfield.”The Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan is a transformative vision for the future of Warner Center and the entire West San Fernando Valley.”

Just as the 2012 Summit Action Plan provided a roadmap for promoting California’s jobs and competitiveness, the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan is a roadmap toward a revitalization of the southern California economy, the San Fernando Valley’s in particular. Estimates in the plan say it will add almost 20,000 housing units and more than 48,000 new employees to the area.

The plan fits in with the Summit’s two pillars of immediate job creation and long-term competitiveness. It combines long-term investment in people and infrastructure combined with streamlined regulations; Alan Bell, deputy director of Planning for the City of Los Angeles, referred to the plan as “cleanest, greenest,” specific plan in the history of Los Angeles.

By creating a plan that could not only create jobs but could comply with environmental standards, the Warner Center, and the areas surrounding it like Woodland Hills and Canoga Park, sets a standard for future plans not only in Los Angeles but across the state. 

Down the 101 freeway, the California Economic Summit will take place in downtown Los Angeles on November 7-8, when the big issues facing the state like infrastructure, workforce and housing take center stage. 


Matthew Grant Anson

All stories by: Matthew Grant Anson