Time Capsule Tuesday: City of Industry General Plan Implementation Program: Phase 1, Part 2

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

This “Time Capsule Tuesday” entry moves to the second part of a series of posts relating to the City of Industry’s General Plan implementation program for phase 1, consisting of an area between 7th Avenue and Sentous Street, east of Nogales Street in the central portion of the city.


The report, issued in summer 1977, made recommendations to the Urban Development Agency, the city’s redevelopment arm, for such areas as traffic, utilities, drainage, and public safety, noting that some portions were done, while others were in progress.  The idea was to engage in improvements “designed to retain and reinforce employment and economic resources within the City of Industry.”

Three main areas of emphasis were stated:

  • Build streets, utility elements and drainage components
  • Deal with parcels and ownership of land that was fragmented and which “have undevelopable proportions or lack adequate access”
  • Eliminate blighted buildings and discontinue land use that was deemed “incompatible with the development of a modern, productive industrial area.”

A fold-out map showed the phase 1 area, noting its varied types of land, including industrial and commercial land, the “Historic Cultural Element” meaning the Homestead and the nearby Rowland House; the Civic Financial Center and others.


A section focused on the city’s potential as an employment resource identified seven “potential job areas” in terms of sectors, totaling over 1,300 acres within a nearly 4,000 acre portion of the city, and claiming there’d be nearly 24,000 new jobs created.  This figure was based on an existing density of employees per acre.  These sectors were identified in another map, consisting of an overlay on a satellite photograph.  One, between Azusa Avenue and Fullerton Road was projected to have roughly half of the total and almost a third of the 11,300 jobs anticipated were to be retall and office positions in the Puente Hills East area near the mall that were not typical of the city’s workforce.


Interestingly, there was mention of the possibility of converting the 130-acre Southern Pacific switchyard to industrial purposes and that, if this was to occur, an additional 2,600 jobs would be created.  More than forty years later, the switchyard remains.  Reference was also made to the important of beautifying the city as having “a direct bearing on stimulating employment growth” with general work done “in a planned fashion to allow for orderly growth.”  Finally, it was observed that, for each job created in the city, three in the San Gabriel Valley would result by induction, meaning over 71,000 jobs were assumed.


To “unlock” the potential, infrastructure development was emphasized through such projects as the extension of Gale Avenue east of Azusa Avenue and improvements with drainage, sewer systems, water supply and electricity access.  The Gale Avenue extension allowed for developing previously “landlocked” property, while other improvements allowed for the creation of the Puente Hills Mall (referred to as a “regional shopping center” in the report.)  The major grade separation of Hacienda Boulevard at the Southern Pacific track was also highlighted, while a new industrial park west of Nogales Street was touted for its master planned approach.

To better facilitate improvements in the phased area and in the city generally, there was a concerted effort to promote “Inter Governmental Cooperation/Coordination.”  The cited case study was the Hacienda Boulevard/Southern Pacific grade separation project, which was promoted as of benefit to the eastern San Gabriel Valley because of the importance of the road as a major north-south route.  Major traffic congestion and a high rate of accidents led the Urban Development Agency to begin researching what needed to be done.


The project was not typical of grade separations due to the desire to slightly elevate the tracks and moderately lower the Hacienda roadbed, while existing financial institutions on either side of the tracks were able to remain in place.  While acknowledging fiscal limitations of the county and state (this just before the Proposition 13 revolution), the report noted that “it has been assumed the City of Industry will proceed on a priority basis with construction essential to the well-being of the City of Industry, surrounding communities and Los Angeles County” even if other entities might have trouble providing funding.


For the grade separation project, it was noted that 80% of the funds came from the state’s Department of Transportation, with 10% provided by the railroad, and 5% each from the county and city.  The city did, however provide a half-million dollars in a “non-participating portion budget.”

A section on “Existing Conditions” and “General Physical Factors” pointed out that elements “that inhibit productive use of the and.”  Land that was lying fallow near Nogales Street was acquired for planned industrial development and areas further to the west toward Azusa were, in some cases, being improved with property grading, better traffic circulation, drainage, and utility supply.


There was much work to be done that could not be borne by the private sector, so photos and diagram maps illustrated the need for “actions necessary to serve as a catalyst for industrial and employment retention and reinforcement in this central portion of the City of Industry.”  About forty photographs and a pair of maps identified key locations in the area that showed the need for this work.

Next week, we press on with the concept of implementation specifically through traffic circulation improvements.

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