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Your guide to Alhambra’s general plan

  • Rendering of East Valley Boulevard with active, pedestrian-oriented nodes in general plan draft from fall 2018. The Alhambra City Council decided on Monday to get additional resident input on the general plan through more outreach. Courtesy of Alhambra Community Development Department.

  • Rendering of Valley Boulevard entertainment node. Courtesy of Alhambra Community Development Department.

  • Rendering of a pedestrian and bike-friendly Main Street from Alhambra's draft general plan. Courtesy of Alhambra Department of Community Development.

  • Rendering of a potential Fremont Commercial Hub with a mix of office, commercial and retail uses at South Palm Ave.

Location

Alhambra , CA United States

Below is our guide to Alhambra’s general plan update. Read more detailed articles on the proposed linear park and on bike lanes.

A general plan lays out a long-term vision for what kind of community a city wants to be and the policies that will make that happen.

More than 30 years after its last update, the City of Alhambra released a draft of its new general plan in early August, entitled Vision 2040 – A Community Mosaic. Public comment period for the plan lasts until Sept. 18. The city will hold a community meeting to collect comments as well on Sept. 11. The City Council is expected to adopt the plan by early next year.

Alhambra is a fully built-out community, with 51 percent of its land being devoted to single-family residential development and 25 percent devoted to roadways. Median per capita income in Alhambra is lower than in Los Angeles County and the state of California and the population tends to be older than in the county and state. This draft plan predicts Alhambra’s population growth to be lower than the county and state, estimating an addition of 4,800 residents, 5,500 jobs, and 2,600 households by 2040. Alhambra’s 2017 population is estimated at a little more than 85,000 people, according to U.S. Census data.

Vision 2040 preserves single-family neighborhoods in Alhambra, while enhancing commercial corridors along Main Street, Valley Boulevard, Garfield Avenue, South Fremont Avenue and the Mission Palm Corridor with office and industrial jobs, retail, entertainment and hotels. The general plan also lays out a policy for beautifying the city, through streetscapes, park space and other features.

Land Use & Community Design

The general plan’s Land Use section discusses the aforementioned preservation of single-family neighborhoods, while enhancing commercial opportunities in certain areas, as well as an emphasis on mixed-use developments given the limited amount of land for large projects. For preserving historic neighborhoods, the general plan mentions the exploration of a historic preservation ordinance, to protect homes built in a variety of historic architectural styles from Craftsman bungalows to tudor-style manors.

For commercial opportunities, this section identifies opportunities for West Main Street, between Raymond Avenue and Huntington Drive, with enhancements for pedestrians. The plan also identifies an opportunity for an entertainment district on the eastern end of Valley Boulevard, near the border with the City of San Gabriel. For Garfield Avenue, between Main Street and the 10 freeway, the plan envisions a medical office corridor, which might phase out multi-family residential development in that section.

The western section of Alhambra already has industrial and commercial uses. For Palm Avenue, between Mission Road and Commonwealth Road, the general plan envisions media and high-technology industries moving in. The plan encourages regional commercial development on South Fremont Avenue and more mixed-use developments in that section of the city.

Mobility

This section focuses on developing bicycle routes in Alhambra, with connections to existing paths just outside of city borders at Huntington Avenue, Alhambra Avenue and Marengo Avenue. Alhambra doesn’t currently have any bike lanes and tabled a draft bike plan in 2013.

The general plan recommends building a Class I bike path along Mission Road, for the exclusive use of cyclists. The plan also proposes the limited construction for Class II bike lanes, which share the road with automobiles, but are striped off for cyclists, and the designation of Class III bike paths on residential roads with low-speed vehicle traffic. Class III paths would be designated by signage indicating that bicycles and cars can share the road.

This section also identifies, as a long-term goal, a potential for a park over the railway trench on Mission Road, with bicycle and walking paths that will connect the eastern and western parts of Alhambra. The plan also accounts for enhancing pedestrian use of West Main Street, between Huntington Drive and Palm Avenue.

Quality of Life

This section defines Quality of Life as a strong local economy with good job and educational opportunities, as well as access to recreation and culture. As mentioned in the Land Use section, this would mean attracting hotels, office jobs and industrial jobs, especially related to media/entertainment, given Alhambra’s proximity to downtown L.A. The general plan also calls for expanding retail opportunities.

Alhambra is considered a park-poor city. Green space is also heavily featured in this section, with the potential for turning vacant lots into pocket parks. This section also discusses building the aforementioned linear park, as well as another regional park using the 710 freeway stub in Alhambra. In addressing education, the general plan discusses converting unused school buildings into public space or vocational schools, should Alhambra Unified School District enrollment continue to decrease.

This section also addresses environmental justice, identifying disadvantaged communities living in the southeastern corner of the city who need to be taken into consideration when considering new developments.

Resources

In the Resources section, the general plan addresses what Alhambra is doing in terms of environmental and cultural conservation. When it comes to energy use, the general plan anticipates building more LEED-certified developments. For water conservation, the plan advises the city to promote drought-tolerant landscaping. When it comes to air quality, which Alhambra Source contributor Alex Rivest wrote an op-ed about, the general plan points back to land use policies that promote biking, walking and public transport over car travel.

Services & Infrastructure

This section calls for an expanded, diversified tax base as well as recognition of Alhambra as a regional commercial center for retail, dining and entertainment, so that more funds come in to maintain and improve the city’s infrastructure. Police, fire, library services, water, trash and technology/communications will also be maintained and improved upon.

Health & Safety

This section calls for policies protecting residents from soil erosion, earthquakes, flooding, noise pollution, access to nutritional food and climate change. The plan guides the city in particular to study the effects of global warming on residents and develop measure to protect them from that.

Email Alhambra’s community development department with your comments on the general plan at generalplan@cityofalhambra.org. Find the general plan and related documents below or here.

Alhambra General Plan – Jan… by on Scribd

Updated at 4:03 p.m. with language clarifying the general plans role of identifying opportunities, rather than making proposals. The section of West Main Street identified for enhanced pedestrian use is also clarified.

Updated on Sept. 24, 2018 with renderings of development opportunities as outline in general plan update.

Updated on Jan. 17, 2019 with final general plan draft.

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1 thought on “Your guide to Alhambra’s general plan”

  1. It would be nice if the Alhambra Source would update the article to reflect the changes in the most recent draft of the General Plan, as some things have changed since this article was written in Sept. 2018. For instance, the Linear Park is no longer talked about as a solution to green space and as a result, the proposed bike lanes are no longer viable.

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