In this northern San Fernando Valley neighborhood, forgotten by job-providing manufacturers and ignored by major retail chains, local boosters are hoping to combat Pacoima’s woes with an economic solution: a bustling, walkable Main Street built nearly from scratch.Business leaders want to cultivate a commercial core full of retailers and restaurants among the husks of stores left abandoned for decades on the central Van Nuys Boulevard drag.
The plan is to replicate the economic renaissance brought to communities such as Culver City by new shopping and dining districts. An incubator for small businesses is set to open in the fall, as is a new retail complex. Foodie-friendly cafes are thriving near the discount stores and fast-food outlets dotting the stretch.
Los Angeles Councilman Felipe Fuentes said he is working on an easier permit process that would allow restaurants to place tables and chairs on the sidewalk. He’s even considering paying for strolling mariachi bands to liven up the public space.
Strategies to slow down and scale back traffic on Van Nuys are in the works, as are efforts to make the corridor more bikeable.
But Pacoima remains a uniquely challenging place for commerce.