South Fair Oaks Walking Tour

Participants gathered at Central Park to begin the walking tour of the South Fair Oaks Specific Plan Area.


The Planning & Community Development Department hosted a walking tour of the South Fair Oaks Specific Plan area, asking participants about their pedestrian experience, opportunities to improve the walking environment, and what types of uses should be introduced, preserved, or removed.


Walking Tour Agenda

Participants walked in small groups led by Planning staff and shared their thoughts on the pedestrian environment and desired uses for the corridors.


The tour began at Central Park, at the corner of Del Mar Avenue and South Fair Oaks Avenue, and ended at Jones Coffee Roasters on South Raymond Avenue. Participants wrote comments on walking tour worksheets/guides as they walked through the “Research & Development Flex” area with eclectic commercial and industrial uses, then along South Fair Oaks Avenue past Huntington Hospital and Raymond Avenue toward the Metro Fillmore Station, and finally across South Arroyo Parkway before walking back toward Raymond Avenue to meet at Jones Coffee roasters. At the end of the tour, participants identified specific locations on large maps with image cards depicting desired uses.


What We Heard

The walking tour concluded with an interactive mapping exercise held at Jones Coffee Roasters.


Approximately 20 community members attended the workshop and provided feedback on the future of South Fair Oaks. The following represents major themes that emerged during the walking tour.

  • Prohibit auto repair/body shop uses but encourage commercial, manufacturing, industrial flex, wholesale, breweries, bars/nightclubs, eateries, and arts-related uses
  • Work/live should be allowed with emphasis on work
  • Set parking maximums or prohibitions for some uses
  • Encourage student and low-income housing
  • Allow zero-foot setbacks and blank walls that can be painted with a mural or other decoration
  •  Overall support for allowing medical uses, with suggestions to balance medical uses with other commercial uses such as food and retail to serve hospital employees and maintain activity in the evenings to increase safety
  • Support for establishing an arts district focused more in the southern portion of the plan area with an emphasis on public events such as outdoor concerts and theater, arts and crafts fairs, educational workshops, etc.
  • Most supported more flexibility with parking requirements, including reduced or zero parking requirements as well as parking maximums while encouraging park-once strategies
  • Desire for improved pedestrian mobility along and between these corridors, including a suggestion for requiring a paseo between Raymond and Fair Oaks with new development
  • Support for adaptive re-use of older, historic buildings
  • Broad support for allowing mixed-use buildings with housing and active ground floor uses such as retail, cafés, and galleries.
  • Acknowledgement that these corridors are a great opportunity to build needed housing, including workforce housing, around transit and access to freeways with desired heights ranging from 2 to 10 stories.
  • Desire for better landscaping, greening, building setbacks, trees, and open space
  • Provide more open green spaces, trees, water elements, outdoor cafes, and art galleries around the station area
  • Support for higher density transit-oriented development with residential, office, and retail uses
  • Provide more mobility options, such as trees for an improved pedestrian experience or a bike hub
  • Need to improve safety around the station area by addressing homelessness issues
  • Reduce self-storage uses, surface parking lots, offices, and strip-malls while encouraging small community services venues, restaurants, and retial uses that are more public-facing
  • Range of desired building heights, including 2 stories to preserve mountain views, 5 stories to remain in line with ArtCenter, and 10+ stories to encourage more residential density on the west side of Arroyo Parkway
  • Set hight limits on the east side of Arroyo Parkway in relation to heights along Marengo Avenue, taking into account changes in elevation to allow taller buildings in some areas