Oxnard Boulevard is key to downtown revitalization success. We must not forget Oxnard Boulevard.
Oxnard City revitalization must not ignore Oxnard Boulevard and only concentrate on the areas around Plaza Park. I have always strongly felt that only when Oxnard revitalizes Oxnard Boulevard, will Oxnard’s downtown come fully alive:
- Remove the medians from 3rd (where Oxnard Blvd widens going south) to 9th Streets and feathering to Wooley
- Paint (inexpensive) a curbside parking lane on both sides of Oxnard Blvd in front of all business from 3rd to Wooley
- Paint (inexpensive) bulb-outs at all intersections from 4th (Oxnard Transportation Center) Street to 9th – extending thoughtfully towards Wooley Road
- Remove the aging and oversized trees along Oxnard Blvd between 3rd and Wooley and replace with canopy trees (even in boxes in the beginning)
- Fix the worst of the sidewalks (not all)4 traffic lanes – 2 each way (as it is now)
- 2 parking lanes – 1 on each side of the street (this is new)
- 1 median (existing physical median to be removed and replaced with painted median)
- Yes, there is enough room to do this legally. The traffic engineer might not like this solution – but it is completely legal – and will make for a walkable business-friendly place for people to shop and stop
- Will traffic engineers or Economic Development determine the future of Oxnard Boulevard?
The reward for revitalizing Oxnard Boulevard will far outweigh all cost and effort. Paint can be used instead of concrete curbs and other expensive hardscape repairs. Using paint and other creative inexpensive methods will allow the benefits of the renovation to be immediately realized. With paint and canopy trees, Oxnard will change the economic climate of Oxnard Boulevard almost immediately.
Should Oxnard choose to wait until it can afford concrete curbs – it may never happen. Not fixing Oxnard Boulevard ASAP will slow revitalization efforts, including those proposed for the Plaza Park area.
Revitalizing Oxnard Boulevard will tell the world and potential developers that Oxnard is finally a progressive place willing to invest in and improve its namesake main street. The City Council could begin this process by approving an ordinance to reroute semi-trailer traffic off Oxnard Boulevard.
Experts tell me that revitalizing Oxnard Boulevard using the above methods will, over time, improve property values along the Oxnard Boulevard corridor between 3rd and Wooley. Currently, property values on our blighted boulevard are so low that developers cannot make renovation pencil out.
With vision and paint and canopy trees that improve property values – developers will begin to sit up and take notice – with increased property values renovation and new construction will make financial sense.
The revitalizing of Oxnard Boulevard will immediately stimulate Economic Development in the downtown. For a pittance (paint) Oxnard’s downtown will start to come alive.
Only when Oxnard Boulevard is revitalized will development around Plaza Park truly be successful. Downtown development will be very slow if Oxnard continues to neglect Oxnard Blvd.
Both the Vision Plan and OCCTIP recommend the revitalization of Oxnard Boulevard as outlined above. And the Vision Plan makes the revitalization of Oxnard Boulevard the first item in an 8 point list – the number one priority.
As long as Oxnard Boulevard remains the same unappealing highway, it maintains a perception that Oxnard is not an attractive or safe place to stop and shop. Upgrading Oxnard Boulevard must be a significant and early part of any Oxnard downtown revitalization.
Oxnard Boulevard is key to downtown revitalization success. We must revitalize Oxnard Boulevard ASAP.
Oxnard, why not start now?