How Growth and Neighborhood Protection Coexist in Pasadena

Pasadena recently elected its first new mayor in 16 years, and the city is completing a 20-year General Plan Update that aims to continue animating downtown Pasadena by addressing growth and mobility simultaneously.
August 30, 2015, 9am PDT | Elana Eden
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Vince Bertoni, director of Pasadena’s Department of Planning & Community Development, told The Planning Report how the city has successfully encouraged development that looks “through the lens of good long-range planning.”

He says that by stressing common long-term interests and improving the mechanics of development, Pasadena has attained a balance between neighborhood protection and economic growth.

"Both developers and the community have an interest in things being more streamlined," he notes. "If you’re a community member, you’re a volunteer. Do you want to spend six months dealing with a project that you may have concerns with, or 10 years?"

Pasadena's mobility and development strategy—including its transition to the Vehicle Miles Traveled metric—allows the city to take advantage of a Metro rail extension and the Regional Connector, both in progress. It also leaves room for growth and development without alienating residents interested in preserving Pasadena’s character.

Bertoni believes other municipalities could replicate Pasadena’s success. But if Pasadena seems to be breezing by conflicts that mire projects elsewhere for years, it may be because the benefits of past successes are clear:

"In Pasadena, you can see the future—because you can see train stations as well as bicycle and pedestrian improvements [being built]. It’s evident here that such changes are realistic and that if we do measure traffic impacts differently, we are going to get better outcomes."

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Published on Thursday, August 27, 2015 in The Planning Report
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