“In the Year 2000 …”

April 15, 2010

What Oxnard once envisioned its grid would look like, waaaaaay into the Year 2000.

Here in 2010, Ventura County seems pretty sparse and spread out, and some people seem to like it that way. Personally, your faithful blogger is one of those people who would like to see a bit more urbanization, build out, and diversity in the good ol’ VC, since I don’t like watching the grass grow as my only option for fun.

Nonetheless, according to some planning documents from the city of Oxnard circa 1960-something, we are 10 years behind the ball on those wishes.

Although we couldn’t reprint it in our Earth Day issue this week due to space, I reprint here a scan of the document I got my hands on. It doesn’t look like much, but if you zoom in, you’ll see the recognizable handle shape of Oxnard criss-crossed with lines and lines of freeways, streets, arteries, and interchanges galore.

We’ve still got the 101, and the 126 today, but back in the 1960s, when Arthur C. Clarke/Gene Roddenberry visions of the future were the believable norm, we must have thought that every square inch of Ventura County would have highways, tunnels and thoroughfares overlapping each other as far as the eye can see.

The map is more than just some retro curio; it takes into question how much we tend to get ahead of ourselves in a planning perspective. Are we ambitious, or just unrealistic?

I wouldn’t exactly say that the plans were off base with basically predicting an overgrown sprawl — since I’d like to see Ventura County look a bit more metropolitan. But if you’d have included plans for flying cars, robots, and the Jetsons, then we’d be talking!

In my humble opinion, I say dash the 2030 plans the city is working on currently. Take a cue that “smart growth” can be had from the city’s archaic “2000 General Plan.”

Growth is good.

Sometimes, all we have to do in planning for the future is to look to the past.


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