Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The benefits of co-location of residential and commercial areas (Victoria Gardens)

Years and years ago, the Inland Empress and I traded blog posts on the Victoria Gardens shopping complex in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Those posts aren't necessarily the topic here, however - instead, I want to paint the picture of what has happened to that area, and what will happen there.

By the time I moved to California in 1983, the city of Rancho Cucamonga had already been created by merging three small communities with a bunch of open space. Most of the developed area was on the west side of the city, and the eastern portion of the city was pretty sparse.

Fast forward a quarter century and that has changed. Shopping centers that were the center of activity just a decade ago are now dwarfed by comparison to the Victoria Gardens complex, a place to which people will drive from all over.

But what if they didn't have to drive?

Approval by the City Council to amend the Victoria Gardens master plan ... paves the way for mid-rise buildings as high as 160 feet, or about 12 stories. The amendment also allows 290 residential units, which already have been approved for the residential area north of Cultural Center Drive but not yet built, to be constructed in the shopping area.

Brian Wynne of Forest City, a developer partner for Victoria Gardens, said the amendment will further the "downtown feel" of the 4-year-old center.

"It will add that energy and create a daytime population at the center," Wynne said. "It will cut down on car trips and increase the pedestrian feel to the project to have residents on site."

And there are more homes in the area:

Location, location, location! It's often said that those are the three most important considerations when purchasing a new home, and convenience-minded buyers will find all three at Shea Homes' 24-Seven and Three-65 at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

24-Seven and Three-65 are located directly across the street from Victoria Gardens, the Inland Empire's premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

And this sentence also stood out:

For commuters, it's also a short drive to the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station....

Hmm...does Omnitrans run between Victoria Gardens and the Metrolink Station?

Now we need to be realistic. The placement of a few hundred homes on or near Victoria Gardens is not going to substantially "cut down on car trips." But this is a continued movement toward multiple-use areas, in which people can get everything that they need from within walking distance. Kinda the anti-Brasilia, don't you think?

I should also mention that co-location of residential and shopping areas also helps to address some of the energy concerns raised in Steven Hodson's Inquisitr post "Are we headed to an Internet Dark Ages?".

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