Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Shoppes in Chino Hills: Planning Almost Done Right

Originally uploaded by andrewkanzler
So close, so so close. The planners for the Shoppes in Chino Hills have almost gotten it right. This is a photo of the master plan of area on the corner of Peyton and Grand (North is to the left). Only in the past few months has it opened. I've visited it a number of times and though I think what they did was very progressive they've still been confined to adhere to an old style of massive land-waste in parking lots.

What I consider to be the main corridor of the shopping center runs east to west with the entrance on Peyton and the foci being on the bookstore. The street dead ends on the strip to the bookstore allowing pedestrian access only. The North-South Corridor like the East-West one are narrow two-lane pedestrian friendly streets with pay street parking. In a previous entry I mention that stores with entrances on the street are good for business and walkability.

What's interesting is that this just seems to be plopped right in the middle of a massive parking lot. Surrounding all four corners of the shopping center are a LOT of parking spaces. There are sporadic restaurants to help disguise parking lot, but really it is too much.

Though the planners made an attempt to be progressive, by plopping it in the middle of a huge parking lot it defeats its own purpose. The streets that run through the intersection of The Shoppes seem out of place as one enters this parking lot paradise, it turns out those streets are little more than a facade serving very little actual purpose. At the very least they could have expanded The Shoppes and instead of a parking lot built a parking structure so that the footprint of parking spaces could be much smaller.

I do like the fact they they've included residences, offices including public offices as well as continuing some of their faux streets all the way through. This does push their progressive planning with the mixed use planning. They do however fall short with the massive parking footprint and their streets do seem a little too "Disneyland"

I hope this same mistake is NOT done in downtown Pomona, keep their parking lots small (in fact get rid of some) and allow for businesses to have street front properties.


zygo said...

A parking structure, built and completed before the completion of the Shoppes would have been better planning. For myself, I have driven in and drove out of the Shoppes several times, without shopping, because I couldn't find a parking space. Yes, too much space may have been taken up for parking, but that is not to say there are too many parking spaces...on the contrary the lack of parking spaces has cost the Shoppes lost revenue.

Ed said...

"Business have street front properties"....I love this idea. If Pomona adopted that concept in the Pomona stretch of Foothill, it would wonderfully contrast with the strip malls in LaVerne and Claremont. Allow passing cars to see the businesses rather than creating mini-freeways in our cities with off-ramps to strip malls. The short stretch on Holt just west of Garey is what I have in mind. If you ever make it up to Seattle, they have been actively converting the buildings along arterials into multistory mixed use structures.

I like Claremont's approach in their new village area. Create a parking structure along the train tracks that can buffer some of the noise. A similar approach in Pomona could free up parking lots and provide a wonderful medium for advertising to the passing train traveler. Full size images of a vibrant downtown, or using it to announce upcoming events could prove more beneficial to the city than the current view from the train. Just a thought.

It was nice to meet you last night.

Anduhrew said...

Zygo that's exactly right, a parking structure built first would've been the best idea, considering it is so close to the 71 it could've been built close to the 71 to buffer some noise like Ed mentions they did in Claremont.

I really hope that the Pomona redevelopment agency heads Pomona in the right direction.

It was great to meet you too ed, along with your partner, meg, tibbi and henry. hope it's not the last time!

Anduhrew said... linked this entry on their site. If I had known they'd do that I would have checked for spelling and grammar errors! How embarrassing!