Ventura Harbor has long been home to a thriving commercial fishing industry, pleasure boat marinas, shops, restaurants, boat yards, and a national park headquarters. In 2009, the harbor also faced challenges: rising seas, retail vacancies, aging infrastructure, hostile streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, and large swathes of asphalt separating isolated buildings.
To address these challenges, the Ventura Port District engaged a consulting team led by Moule and Polyzoides to prepare a master plan and form-based code for the 50-year-old harbor. Patrick Siegman directed the plan’s parking and transportation planning components, while a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting. To build a shared vision among multiple agencies and stakeholders, the team conducted numerous interviews and workshops, and then translated these inputs into physical form over the course of a five-day public design charrette. The resulting plan encourages new development, enhances recreation, and establishes a highly sustainable infrastructure. It doubles the harbor’s built space, adding 500,000 ft.² of commercial space and up to 600 residences. New housing, retail, offices, a beach hotel, courtyards, and greens replace surface parking. Together, these new amenities knit together isolated buildings, creating a walkable village and the critical mass needed for a lively destination.
The plan also builds upon the Harbor’s role as a gateway to Channel Islands National Park. Wetlands and sensitive dunes are preserved. Streets and parking are redesigned to add greenery and minimize polluted runoff. Roundabouts calm traffic and create memorable gateways. Road diets remove excess vehicle lanes, making room for safe bikeways and walkways. New shuttles and a water taxi improve access, while allowing relocation of employee and peak event visitor parking to less environmentally sensitive areas.
Images courtesy of Moule and Polyzoides