By Jason KUROSU
New residential developments in downtown Glendale are being occupied at a fairly high rate according to city officials, though concerns remain over the city’s recent development mantra for the downtown area, as well as recent construction’s effect on city traffic.
Data from Glendale’s Dept. of Economic Development indicates that residential developments completed within the last three years have drawn in plenty of new residents, despite many of the units commanding rents around $2,000 and up per month.
The latest statistics have four of Glendale’s new residential projects (Brio Apartment Homes, Villas at Brio, AMLI Lex on Orange, and Eleve Lofts and Skydeck Apartments) boasting more than 90% occupancy as of November.
Camden Glendale and the latest development, The Brand Apartments, have filled 50-to-60% of their units. The 235-unit Modera Glendale Apartments would be the outlier with 13% occupation.
More than 20 other residential developments of varying size are slated for construction over the next two years.
The development boom stems from Glendale’s Downtown Specific Plan, which sought to bring in young professionals to live and work in the city’s new residential and commercial developments. The new buildings would ideally complement the concept of an “18-hour city,” where commuters would no longer simply come to Glendale solely for work, as all the needs and amenities for home, business and entertainment would be available downtown.
The promotion of walking, biking and public transportation are other cornerstones making Glendale a one-stop shop, though the rapid pace of development has produced concerns that an influx of new residents will create unprecedented traffic congestion.
The city will be conducting an analysis of mobility data from the last decade’s traffic trends influenced by the Downtown Specific Plan, taking into account the impacts of Glendale’s new developments.
Dubbed the Downtown Mobility Report Card, data would be analyzed regarding the city’s traffic, bicycling, parking availability, type of parking used by motorists, public transportation use and many other mobility factors to gauge the city’s progress in reaching its goals for a pedestrian-oriented city.
The data will be analyzed by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, who put together the city’s 2007 downtown mobility study, conducted in accordance with the initial implementation of the Downtown Specific Plan. Traffic and mobility trends will be measured against those of other cities, in an evaluation and comparison of the effectiveness of Glendale’s move away from a commuter culture.
Alan Loomis, Glendale deputy director of Urban Design & Mobility, told the Glendale City Council that data from the 2007 mobility study indicated that 21% of vehicle trips per day within Glendale were from residents who both lived and worked in the city. That number is expected to rise as Glendale moves towards an 18-hour city.
In addition, road improvements and the prevalence of biking and public transportation have been on the rise both in terms of grant funding and general behavior trends among Glendale residents.
The City Council awarded a $70,000 contract to Nelson/Nygaard in early November to conduct the mobility analysis.
The results of the Downtown Mobility Report Card are expected to be released in the spring.