Pasadenans Participate in Heritage Brainstorming Forum
Residents make and consider suggestions, plans, and ideas for the City
|September 20, 2017 - "Pasadena Participate" was a lively discussion of ways to preserve and improve the character and quality of life in Pasadena presented by Pasadena Heritage in the Skyroom of Lake Avenue Church.|
|Eddie Rivera, Community Editor|
Bike safety. Traffic. Overdevelopment. And traffic. Pasadena residents are concerned about these issues and more, and brought those concerns to a Pasadena Heritage brainstorming forum at Lake Avenue Church Tuesday evening.
Faced with a small tsunami of suggestions and requests every day on how to improve a rapidly growing and developing city filled to the brim with history and promise, Pasadena Heritage opened up the intake valves with its “Participate Pasadena” event.
The town hall/workshop/brainstorming/gripe session drew over one hundred local residents from all over Pasadena, including Mayor Terry Tornek and Councilmember Andy Wilson.
“Through the years,” explained Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman, “we have had community events, we’ve had lectures, but something to get people together to ask what they would think, that’s something we had not done in about 25 years.”
Mossman continued, “We’re going back to a time long ago when we did work harder to get more input outside of our own circle. The value of that for us is to hear what’s most important to Pasadena residents, and see how we relate to, or fit, in those different pictures. Maybe we don’t fit in some, maybe we fit in others, and I think there is a lot of collaboration here among environmental groups, among tree groups and open space groups, and neighborhood groups, and we probably don’t all know what the other is doing. So, part of this communication is looking for collaborations, opportunities, and creating programs that make us more relevant.”
Mossman agreed that the session was something “whose time had come.”
“We get these calls every day, of every week, one person at a time,” she said, “and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great, if we get all of them together?’”
The more than one hundred residents gathered in the Church’s Skyroom conference center before breaking up into five smaller, topic-specific groups — Neighborhoods and Mansionization; Major Developments and Specific Plans; Parks, Trees, Open Space and the Arroyo; and Transportation and the 710.
My City project founder/architect David Wolf told the Tree group during its session, “It’s easy to know what we are against, but harder to know what we are for,” and explained the need for smaller neighborhood “sub-centers” to further define neighborhoods.
The Tree group also noted an increase in litter throughout the City, but more than once participant also acknowledged that the City’s is quite responsive to service requests.
Traffic and bike safety were also important issues, both from the point of view of riders but also from the standpoint of drivers in Pasadena who are lately faced with an abundance of new riders as the result of the City’s participation on Metro’s new Bike Share program. As one resident noted, the City also needs to step up in terms of creating more bike lanes.
“The Voyager and other recent JPL projects to outer space were planned, developed, executed and landed in five years,” he said. “The City took five years to plan, develop and execute one mile of bike lane.”
Some residents at the event also questioned whether new large developments actually coincided with the City’s overall vision, and pondered the immediate future of local retail, given the skyrocketing rise in online shopping. In addition, residents asked that plans for proposed local developments be placed online, to be examined before planning meetings and discussions.
Another major question posed by the group was, in light of recent natural disasters throughout the US and the world, whether or not Pasadena has an emergency preparedness plan, and a plan to work with schools and hotels to provide shelter during major emergencies.
According to Mossman, all of the gathered notes and suggestions will be summarized and presented in an online document for city residents and a formal presentation will also eventually be made before the City Council.
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