The Project Area

The Project Area

The Great Streets initiative focuses on short, manageable areas—and in our case, our project area extends approximately .6 of a mile along South Robertson Boulevard’s commercial corridor, from Cadillac Avenue to the north to Kincardine Avenue to the south. It’s as large as we could make it under the grant guidelines.

S. Robertson Project Area


Challenges—and opportunities

On paper, the area should be the natural heart of the SORO community.

To the east, Reynier Village and Crestview neighborhoods boast about 500 to 750 homes each. To the west, Castle Heights and Beverlywood contain 900 and 1300, homes respectively. Streets are tree-lined, homes well-tended, property prices buoyant, schools improving, and residents neighborly and invested in their community. Demographics that should appeal to any retailer.

Geographically speaking, this strip is ideally located, too: direct freeway access and a critical connector corridor between the thriving cities of Beverly Hills and Culver City. With the opening of the within-walking-distance Culver City Expo station and the explosion of high-density development surround it, the business district should have blossomed long ago.

And yet, South Robertson has stagnated for decades. In the 1960’s, the 10 Freeway split the commercial district and channeled speeding commuters past neglected storefronts. Absentee landlords, crumbling storefronts, and shallow lots compound the problem. The street itself has too many empty parking spaces that do nothing to encourage walking and discovery. A 2001 LANI initiative laid the groundwork for change, but it was not enough.

Recently, however, residents have begun to reclaim the street. A café opened, partially funded by a community Kickstarter campaign. A renowned local artist covered her building with a brilliantly colored mural. The NC planted 40 young chinese elms in empty tree wells. A growing group of businesses are meeting for the first time in decades.

The time has come for a focused intervention.

Analyzing the current situation

South Robertson is designated as a secondary highway, although its width is a substandard 80’ (including parking lanes); the average sidewalk is 10’ and includes open planted tree wells.

The area partially overlaps a priority project to reconfigure the ramps from the 10 Freeway. Hopefully, the Great Streets work will help inform that project—including the establishment of a green pedestrian corridor from the Expo station to Hamilton High School and SORO businesses to address LA’s Vision Zero goals.

The area is within the recently revised West Adams Community Plan. As part of that effort, the Planning Department committed to creating a vision/plan for the project area, which we hope can be folded into the Great Streets project.

Businesses include a mix of light industrial operations and retail storefronts. The abutting neighborhoods are community-focused and highly diverse in ethnicity and income.

The project area includes Hamilton High and is within a block of Reynier Park and Shenandoah Elementary. The Robertson Library and Robertson Recreation Center (rebuilding in Summer, 2017) are a half-mile to the north.

Approximately half of the project is within an Expo transit oriented district (TOD), and the entire area ranks in the highest percentage for trips under three miles and job density. The high-density, Expo-driven housing development in Culver City is bleeding into the area, with a dramatic uptick in larger apartment and small lot development. It’s likely that the abutting area along Venice Blvd. will see major redevelopment within the next ten years.