Monterey Park's well-established land use patterns appear to leave little room for change. However, as discussed in the introduction to this Element, shifts in manufacturing and retailing trends, demographic changes, and people's evolving needs and habits all affect how property is used and reused, developed and redeveloped over time. The Land Use Policy Map responds both to the city's built-out character and anticipated long-term land use changes that will further city objectives. Land use patterns generally will remain unchanged, particularly with regard to the city's residential neighborhoods. However, public and private investment will be applied to focus areas to achieve land use changes and associated economic development goals. Figure LU-3 (PDF) identifies the following focus areas:
- Downtown Monterey Park
- East Garvey
- Atlantic Boulevard
- North Garfield
- Monterey Pass Road
- Saturn Park
Downtown Monterey Park
The Garfield / Garvey intersection represents the heart of Downtown Monterey Park and indeed the city itself. On most Saturdays, Downtown pulses with shoppers visiting Downtown's specialty stores, particularly the stores offering unique imported goods and groceries sought by recent and first-generation Asian and Latin immigrants. On weekend evenings and Sundays, restaurants in Downtown attract patrons from throughout the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County, and beyond.
Despite this appearance of activity, however, businesses and properties are not used to their full potential. Development consists largely of one-story buildings on small lots. Pedestrians face difficulties crossing Garvey Avenue and negotiating the many driveways that serve parking areas of individual businesses. Most parking is available only in private lots, with restrictions enforced. Downtown offers opportunities for broader use, coordinated development, public street-scape improvements, and a symbiotic mix of commercial and residential uses that would create a more vibrant and economically productive district.
Creating an Economically Productive Downtown
To create a downtown that can accommodate specialty shops and services, enhance the city's tax base, encourage pedestrian use, and provide additional housing opportunities for all residents, the city will pursue a comprehensive improvement plan for the broader Downtown area, the boundaries of which are illustrated in Figure LU-3 (PDF). The improvement plan consists of the following elements:
- Land use policy allowing mixed-used development consistent with the MU I land use category.
- Development standards that allow for greater building intensity within the Downtown core (Figure LU-3 (PDF)) and more moderate intensity adjacent to residential neighborhoods surrounding Downtown.
- Zoning regulations and city policies that accommodate and encourage outdoor dining areas and patios.
- Enhanced crosswalks and traffic signals at select intersections to better accommodate pedestrian movement. Traffic signals will be pedestrian activated.
- Comprehensive streetscape improvements to include, for example, attractive street trees, median landscape planting, and coordinated street furniture and fixtures.
- Public parking structures and/or lots to allow a "park once and shop" approach for Downtown visits.
- Comprehensive design guidelines that establish building themes, color palettes, front facade treatment options, and on-site landscaping standards.
- Zoning incentives that encourage lot consolidation and development of cohesive commercial centers.
Reconfiguration of Garvey Avenue
This would provide 15- to 20-foot-wide sidewalks, two travel lanes with a center median, and on-street parallel parking. This strategy, along with the Downtown Parking Management Program described in the Circulation Element, will preserve parking for businesses in Downtown. Figure LU-8 (PDF), Pedestrian Improvements: Sidewalk Expansion, illustrates the preferred configuration of Garvey Avenue. As discussed in the Circulation Element, peak-hour parking restrictions will be applied to provide four travel lanes during weekday commute hours.
In 1987, the city adopted a Specific Plan for the Downtown core that incorporated some of these objectives but also set forth requirements that have constrained private development efforts. To forward a renewed vision for Downtown, the city will either comprehensively revise the Garvey / Garfield Specific Plan or set aside the Plan in favor of new zoning regulations and design guidelines that can bring reality to the vision. This may include development of a Downtown Master Plan that combines a physical and functional vision with a strategic marketing plan.