A crowd of over 30 people attended a special meeting for the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District last night, where the board of directors updated the public on plans to renovate Pardall Road.
Jim Adams, of ROMA Design Group, presented the plan, which proposes a redesign of Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and an expansion of business in downtown I.V. Adams said the facelift for Pardall Road will beautify the storefronts and landscape, make the street safer for pedestrian and bike traffic, reorganize parking and add more retail businesses.
“This street could then develop as a real gathering place, an elongated town center,” Adams said.
Joel Rodriguez-Flores, Isla Vista Tenants’ Union representative on the Planning Action Committee, said he is excited that Pardall Road will be a cleaner and more commercial business district.
“I really like the part about renovating the storefronts because Pardall is supposed to be the center of I.V., and right now it looks really run-down,” Rodriguez-Flores, a fourth-year women’s studies major, said.
Adams said revamping the road will occur in two phases. The first changes planned are to widen sidewalks, incorporate more landscaping and narrow intersections on either side of the street in order to make biking safer for residents.
Narrowing intersections would force bikers to ride in a more condensed area, making it easier for drivers to see them, Adams said.
“Vehicle-bike conflicts are primarily at the intersections,” Adams said. “There’s a low volume of traffic anyways and we can organize the intersections so motorists have a clear idea where bikers are.”
The second phase plans for the permanent closure of Pardall to vehicle traffic, the construction of retail establishments on the small Pardall parking lots, the creation of a service alley on the north side for retail delivery and the building of small parking lots around the road for motorists.
Rodriguez-Flores said he is concerned about the cooperation of Pardall property and business owners, since they are vital to the current renovation plan.
“It looks like a pretty functional plan, but the biggest ‘if’ right now is cooperating with the property owners,” Rodriguez-Flores said.
Adams said he thinks most of the owners are open to working with ROMA to improve the road.
“There’s a lot of interest on the part of the property owners to make this happen,” Adams said.
The proposed plan suggests the construction of a parking system that would offer 48 spots in a lot and 31 more in the service alley. The changes would match the current availability of parking on Pardall, as the street now offers 79 parking spots.
Redevelopment Agency Deputy Director Jamie Goldstein said the price to park in these lots will depend heavily on the I.V. Parking Plan, which is still in the design process.
“I’m not sure, but I strongly suspect it would be metered parking,” Goldstein said. “It depends on the I.V. Parking Plan.”
ROMA is also considering building a pathway, called the “Paseo,” to connect Pardall Road to Anisq’ Oyo’ Park. Rodriguez-Flores said the connection of the park to the road would make a better city center for I.V. residents.
“I think the parks right now are really underutilized, and if there is a direct connection from Pardall to Anisq’ Oyo’ Park a lot more people would go over there and it wouldn’t feel so boxed in,” Rodriguez-Flores said.
Because the plan is not finalized, Goldstein said, there is no estimate as to its cost. He said he hopes the first phase of the plan will be completed during summer of next year.
“In general, construction in I.V. has to happen over [school] breaks,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein said updates to Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and Pardall Road will occur simultaneously, and the county will proceed with changes outlined in the Master Plan with or without the IVRPD’s blessing. In addition, he said the county will not postpone construction to wait for the parking plan’s completion.
“We think of these projects as related to each other, but in terms of construction, we don’t want to wait for the IVRPD,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein said the next step is to refine the designs, and gain final approval by early 2007.