What Does the Future Hold For Arrow Highway?

A committee of 12 residents, business owners and other stakeholders are working with hired consultants to provide direction on revitalizing Arrow Highway. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

The southern edge of Glendora, an area long thought by some to be neglected by officials, stands to see a potentially stark transformation in the coming years.

Stakeholders, at the guidance of a planning and design firm, are working to draft the Arrow Highway Corridor Specific Plan, which would eventual guide the revitalization of Glendora’s portion of Arrow Highway from Barranca to Valley Center avenues.

The goal of the Specific Plan is to guide policy while enhancing economic development with a community-driven planning effort, City Staff said.

City officials envision a “revitalized corridor serving the community and region with a variety of land uses set in an attractive environment that creates a warm and inviting southern gateway to the City of Glendora.”

The firm, MIG, was awarded a contract for just over $321,000 in March of 2015 to lead the committee in preparing the Specific Plan.

A committee of 12, comprised of residents, business owners and other stakeholders along the corridor, first met in August of 2015 and were given a 12 to 15-month window to identify potential land use needs.

So just what does the committee see as the revitalization of Arrow Highway? Some of the ideas gathered during the September 23 and October 21 meetings include:

  • A potential transit hub, or Park N Ride lots at Grand Avenue and Route 66.
  • Creation of entry ways or trailheads to the proposed San Dimas Wash trail
  • Potential “restaurant row” at Arrow Highway and Sunflower Avenue
  • Redeveloping the former Wonder Bread property into an “entertainment hub”
  • Concentrating on Arrow Highway from Valley Center to Sunflower avenues to serve as a residential node
  • Developing ordinances to prevent overnight RV parking along Arrow Highway
  • Possible green space at the vacant lot west of Weinerschnitzel
  • Prohibit overnight parking along Arrow Highway

The committee will eventually meet to develop two different land use scenarios and refine them into one recommendation from which the Specific Plan document will be written, said Glendora Planning Director Jeff Kugel.

The city has hired about five sub-consultants who are producing options for potential land use changes and will help make recommendations on the best direction for the city to guide future development, said Emily Stadnicki, Glendora city planner.

The idea of a residential node at Arrow and Valley Center could be expanded upon with further housing choices.

As far as development is concerned, committee members are open to the idea of mixed use along the corridor and building heights of three stories maximum with the possibility of four stories under special circumstances.

“There seems to be more commercial than needed. Bringing more residents to that part of town might support the commercial that is there and make new commercial [properties] more viable,” Stadnicki said.

Andrew Kaplan, Vice President of Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., is the sub-consultant hired to formulate potential housing choices.

While Kaplan declined an interview, GCN did learn that he was studying residential and commercial prices in the area, mixed development, whether or not retail or restaurants can thrive and the possibility of Avalon Bay-style development.

“It always seems like the most economically viable investment from a developer’s perspective is housing. We’ll see where [the committee] ultimately decides where they divide up the area for land use,” Kugel added.

But nothing is set in stone just yet.

“At this point we’re listening to what the committee says and giving them options of how that might fit,” Stadnicki said.

With desired commercial types, the committee expressed interest in consumer-based items and  keeping certain areas as light industrial in character to attract jobs to the corridor, Kugel said.

Randy Caruso, a 16-year resident of Glendora, joined the committee with traffic management and water usage as priorities. Having gone through several meetings so far, he sees creating areas that encourage high levels of foot traffic as a priority now.

“Some places, like Old Town Pasadena, have all kinds of foot traffic; restaurants, bars and things where the consumer can shop. We’re trying to look at creating areas that accommodate that,” Caruso said.

The committee is also looking at clustering restaurants and similar establishments together to further encourage foot traffic.

Glendora’s southern boundary ends north of the northern sidewalk, portions of which is governed by Los Angeles County and the city of Covina, along with the street itself.

Planning the enhancement of the area while balancing a cohesive look with communities that border Arrow Highway is a challenge. However, the city is receiving great cooperation from bordering entities, Stadnicki said.

During an “Alternatives Creation” meeting in October of 2015, two alternatives were developed based on the committee’s input. The committee will then take those two alternatives and eventually develop a “Preferred Alternative,” which will form the basis on Arrow Highway’s Specific Plan.

Aside from committee member involvement, there has been only a trickle of community attendance at each of the three meetings held so far, which is disconcerting to project leaders, who are asking area residents to become more involved in the process and attend open meetings.

Four more committee meetings are scheduled to take place, with the next set for Wednesday, February 24 at 7 p.m. in the Crowther Teen and Family Center, 241 W. Dawson Ave. For more information, visit the Arrow Highway Corridor Specific Plan webpage.