Pedestrian Safety, New Development to Dominate Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Group Meeting Set for Thursday

Advocacy group will also discuss Civic Center’s future, ArtCenter sign plans

Published : Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | 5:45 AM

A downtown Pasadena neighborhood group will review its concerns about pedestrian safety and “the City’s inability to enforce speed limits” in a public meeting Thursday night.

Pedestrian safety and the future of major local developments headline the agenda for the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association’s meeting at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church’s Gamble Lounge beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The discussion would also include what the Association describes as the “City’s reluctance to spend money to improve pedestrian safety.”

According to Association member Robert Gorski, who is facilitating the meeting, more than one agenda item is related to pedestrian safety, both in downtown Pasadena and city-wide.

“We’ve had members voice concerns about crossing some parts of Cordova Avenue,” said Gorski, who said that the issue would lead to a larger discussion of pedestrian safety throughout Downtown Pasadena.

A number of past and potential developments will a

Also part of the agenda and planned discussion is a look at a number of past and potential developments, including the historic designation of the Whispering Waters apartment complex.

The City Council designated the unique building a landmark back in November.

The complex was described as a landmark in “Mid-century modern” style, a design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture and urban development popular in the United States from roughly 1945 to 1975. The complex was built by builder/developer Lionel V. Mayell, dubbed the “condo pioneer” by the architecture and real estate community, in 1961. Mayell completed a number of construction projects in Pasadena in the 1950s and 1960s.

Last October also saw the deadline for developers to bring forth bids for the development of the Fuller Seminary campus, Gorski said. The 13-acre campus is currently in the final stages of being sold.

The Association also helped lead a protest in 2017 against the City plans for Centennial Plaza and the Julia Morgan-designed YWCA building in the Civic Center. The City Council finally agreed to walk away from a plan to sell the YWCA building to hotel developers, and instead established a Task Force to discuss future possibilities for the historic plaza.

The Task Force’s final report, which was presented in July of 2018, listed no specific designs or actual plans but was designed as more of a guideline, said the authors. Task Force members also varied in their depth of support over various aspects of it.

The association, leaders in the effort to stop the hotel plans, will take up the issue of the future of the Civic Center again in discussions Thursday.

Meanwhile, on April 14, 2015, the City’s Design Commission approved an application for Final Design Review for the Crown City Medical Building, a new five-story, medical office and commercial building, at 550-556 E. Colorado Blvd. The project had been submitted for building plan check and was close to obtaining approval to allow for the building permit to be issued.

However, according to a Design Commission report, the applicant inadvertently neglected to apply for a Time Extension of the Final Design Review approval prior to the expiration date of April 27, 2018; therefore, the approval expired on that date.

The design reflected in the submitted drawings in July of 2018, depicts compliance with the conditions of Final Design Review imposed by the Design Commission in 2015. Other than the changes required by the Commission, “the project design has not changed since it was approved in 2015.”

The project was again approved for plan review, with a caveat that “The applicant must obtain a building permit and diligently pursue construction before August 7, 2018 to avoid expiration of the project’s Conditional Use Permit approval and plan check application.”

Said Gorski Tuesday, “We understand that some usages of the building may have changed, particularly with regard to an alley behind the building.”

Gorski said the alley has been slated for a pedestrian safety project, but also may be used by the medical facility as an ambulance entrance and exit way.

“That’s something we will have to discuss,” he said.

Discussion of ArtCenter College of Design’s plan for a large digital art display at its new Arroyo Parkway/Raymond Avenue South Campus, is also on the agenda.

The Gamble Lounge at Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 E. Colorado Blvd. (northwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Madison Avenue).

The Gamble Lounge is in the building immediately west of the sanctuary.

The meeting’s informal conversation and pot luck activities begin at 6:30 p.m., and the business meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.