By 2040, it will be dangerous to be outside in parts of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley for one third of the year. Extreme heat and transit access are two critical issues impacting the health and quality of life for communities in the area.

Alta was hired by StreetsLA (previously the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services) to develop a conceptual plan to mitigate the threats of extreme heat, Urban Heat Island Effect, and other climate change impacts in the neighborhood of Canoga Park. The project included a study of transit access and urban cooling strategies that can be replicated in other cities and communities in the region and beyond.

The project team focused on a study area within a 10-minute walk (half-mile) from the Sherman Way Orange Line Station in Canoga Park. One of the most effective measures for reducing emissions is to drive less, however extreme heat and traffic safety are two key barriers for people walking, biking, and taking transit. This project explored the intersection of traffic safety and safety from extreme heat in order to create opportunities for safer, more environmentally friendly travel options.

The team conducted traffic counts, identified potential urban cooling and first/last mile strategies, and collaborated with more than 650 community members to understand key needs and refine proposed strategies. Staff presented final design concepts in February 2020 and won funding to implement these concepts in Canoga Park and beyond.

To bring the project to life and help the community understand the potential for transformation, Alta created vivid 3-D fly-through videos of three corridors, including Sherman Way, Owensmouth Avenue, and the Orange Line Bike Path, showing native plantings, stormwater retention facilities, protected bikeways, and safer pedestrian crossings. The videos were shared with the community via tablets at the local Farmers’ Market. The report further explores the proposed concepts, community response, funding opportunities and lessons learned during the study.

Learn more about this project here.