ⓘ Van Nuys Boulevard
Van Nuys Boulevard is a major north-south arterial road that runs through the central San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, California. The boulevard was notable for its cruising lifestyle that was prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s, which was depicted in the 1979 film Van Nuys Blvd.
When Van Nuys was plotted in 1911, the main thoroughfare and its offshoots were called Sherman Way. As the town developed, North Sherman Way was renamed Van Nuys Boulevard as the main boulevard in the town of Van Nuys, which got its name from longtime Valley wheat farmer Isaac Newton Van Nuys. Sherman Way, named for entrepreneur and Valley developer Gen. Moses Hazeltine Sherman, originally included segments of the thoroughfares known today as Chandler and Van Nuys boulevards.
2. The Boulevard
Van Nuys Boulevard runs approximately ten miles from the Santa Monica Mountains in Sherman Oaks at its southern terminus to the foothills of the western end of the San Gabriel Mountains in Lake View Terrace at its northern terminus. It passes through the affluent community of Sherman Oaks, then continues through the community of Van Nuys, passing the numerous automobile dealerships in southern Van Nuys, then passing through the Van Nuys Municipal Center, the government center of the San Fernando Valley, then continuing north through Panorama City, past the old General Motors plant now converted into a shopping plaza called" The Plant,” before veering north east through the communities of Arleta and Pacoima, passing the San Fernando Gardens housing project, and ending in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
With its wide expanse through the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Boulevard became known from the 1950s through the 1970s as a center of teenage cruising. Its car culture was celebrated in several motion pictures, including Van Nuys Boulevard. Cruising became a thing of the past as police cracked down on the practice, but the car culture still lives on through the numerous automobile dealerships that line both sides of Van Nuys Boulevard in northern Sherman Oaks and southern Van Nuys.
Despite its reputation as the center of car culture, Van Nuys Boulevard has several bus routes running on it, including two Metro routes with heavy ridership, Metro Rapid line 744 and Metro Local line 233. Van Nuys is currently the only arterial bus corridor in the San Fernando Valley running NABI 60-BRT articulated buses for both lines. The Metro Orange Line has a station at Van Nuys. Further to the north, there is a Metrolink and Amtrak station. In the first half of the 20th century, Pacific Electric interurban trains ran in the median of Van Nuys Boulevard from Chandler Boulevard to Parthenia Street, which would then continue to Sepulveda Boulevard; traces of this route can be seen in the large medians of the streets the tracks used to run on.
Metro is currently proposing a light rail line from the Orange Line station to San Fernando along Van Nuys Boulevard which is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.
2.1. The Boulevard Communities along Van Nuys Boulevard south to north
- Sherman Oaks - south of Oxnard Boulevard; population 28.601 78.6% White not Hispanic; 8.5% Hispanic; 5.4% Asian)
- Van Nuys – between Oxnard Boulevard and Roscoe Boulevard; population 136.443 50.3% Hispanic; 34.1% White not Hispanic; 6.5% Asian; 5.9% African-American)
- Arleta – between Woodman Avenue and I-5; population 32.092 71.4% Hispanic; 13.4% White not Hispanic; 11.7% Asian)
- Lake View Terrace – northeast of Foothill Boulevard; population 30.759 58.6% Hispanic; 19.7% White not Hispanic; 15.3% African-American; 4.8% Asian)
- Pacoima - between I-5 and Foothill Boulevard; population 58.908 89.2% Hispanic; 5.2% African-American
- Panorama City - between Roscoe Boulevard and Woodman Avenue; population 65.235 70.1% Hispanic; 11.6% Asian; 11.9% White not Hispanic)
2.2. The Boulevard Landmarks along Van Nuys Boulevard south to north
- The Plant – A shopping center built on the site of the old General Motors Van Nuys plant, stores include Home Depot, Babies "R" Us, Ross Dress for Less, Michaels, Party City, Regency Theatres, Spice Club also known as The Hello Kitty Store, and a Golden Dragon multiplex. Living Spaces recently opened its third store in this shopping center.
- The Village at Sherman Oaks - The Village at Sherman Oaks is the name given to the shopping and dining area surrounding the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Van Nuys Boulevard. It ranks as one of the Valley’s most recognized destinations for shopping, offering numerous small boutiques and plazas, outdoor shopping centers, specialty shops and service providers. The eclectic collection of trendy shops in The Village offers a main street shopping experience. The Village is home to top-rated restaurants as well as hip fast-food eateries, offering authentic cuisine from around the world.
- Panorama High School - A high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District located on Van Nuys Boulevard across from The Plant shopping center.
- San Fernando Gardens - A sprawling housing project in Pacoima built during World War II to house workers at the nearby Lockheed aerospace manufacturing facilities in Burbank. The project was racially integrated; its wartime black population was the first significant African-American population in the San Fernando Valley. The San Fernando Gardens contains 448 units and 1.621 residents, 48% of whom are under the age of 18. The average annual income is $18.000, more than 45% less than the Los Angeles median family income.
- Arleta High School - A high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District located on Van Nuys Boulevard in Arleta.
- Valley Municipal Building - Constructed in 1932 and designed by Peter K. Schabarum, the Valley Municipal Building sometimes called Van Nuys City Hall is a San Fernando Valley landmark and is considered a good example of the WPA-era "Zig-Zag Moderne" architectural styling. It was designed as a smaller version of the 29-story Los Angeles City Hall.
- Van Nuys Government Center - The principal government offices for the San Fernando Valley are located in the Van Nuys Government Center on Van Nuys Boulevard. The area includes the Valley Municipal Building, the modern Van Nuys Courthouse designed by Dan Dworsky, the James C. Corman Federal Building, the Van Nuys Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Marvin Braude San Fernando Valley Constituent Services Center. The Van Nuys Municipal Court building in Van Nuys, California was designed by architect Dan Dworsky and received the Kaufman & Broad Award for Outstanding New Public or Civic Project for the design. The federal building in Van Nuys was renamed the James C. Corman Federal Building in 2001 in honor of James C. Corman who represented the San Fernando Valley’s 21st Congressional District from 1961-1981. The $34 million Marvin Braude Constituent Services Center was originally proposed by Marvin Braude; it opened in 2003 and houses various city services.
- Sherman Oaks Hospital and Grossman Burn Center - Sherman Oaks Hospital is a 153-bed acute care facility on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. The facility is owned and operated by Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. The world-renowned Grossman Burn Center, founded by Dr. A. Richard Grossman, at Sherman Oaks Hospital has provided specialized and targeted care to burn patients since 1969. It has grown over the years from two dedicated beds to a 30-bed burn center. In 2007, the Grossman Burn Center treated a 4-year-old Iraqi boy named Youssif who was doused with gasoline and set on fire in Baghdad.
- Mural Mile - A section of Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima where artists, led by Levi Ponce in 2011, have painted large murals on walls facing the street.
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