Create Ventura Beach Town

About Ventura BEACH+TOWN

Ventura Beach+Town is a project of the City of Ventura with funding provided by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Compass Blueprint Program.  Compass Blueprint assists Southern California cities and other organizations in evaluating planning options and stimulating development consistent with the region’s goals.  

Plans and designs were created by a design team led by Ventura-based Roesling Nakamura Terada (RNT) Architects with Transportation Design Engineers Kimley-Horn and Associates, Land Economics Consultants Economic Planning Systems, Inc., and Landscape Architect Van Atta Associates. 

The Ventura Beach+Town White Paper is a comprehensive report detailing the project concept, financing options, and next steps. 

For more information or to provide comments, please contact Jeff Lambert, Community Development Director, at 805-658-4723 or to be added to the interested parties list to receive occasional email updates.




For over 60 years the heart of the city of Ventura has been separated from is most notable natural resource, the ocean. This divide was created when the 101 freeway was introduced, leaving California and Figueroa Street as the only true connections from downtown to the beach. Luckily the freeway through this area was constructed at a much lower elevation than the existing grade. To this end a strategy for bridging the divide has been sought for years.


The idea of covering or ‘capping’ the freeway is only justifiable if there is something worth connecting to. Due to the lack of connection to the beach area for so many years, development has been limited to a one parking structure, one hotel and a sea of at grade parking lots adjacent to an un-activated waterfront promenade. To this end, the design team has studied the possibilities of extending the current city grid all the way to the beach, thus taking the ‘urban experience’ from the foothills to the shore and also capital­izing on opportunities to improve connections with the natural environment. With the potential reloca­tion of the existing parking structure and removing cars that from parking lots with ocean views to new on-street parking, the development potential of the beach front could be dramatically increased. With a reconsideration of current beach-wall and stormwater drainage strategies, new development could create beach-friendly dune-based bioswales to soften the transition from building edge to natural beach and also naturally treat stormwater.



The existing network of on and off ramps within the downtown area was also studied in hopes of creat­ing a simpler approach that provides for more pedestrian connections while introducing a more intuitive means of getting on and off the 101 freeway. Early in the design process the existing southbound fly-over onramp was deemed unnecessary and initial schemes suggested removal. However after further study and consideration of the cost and impact of removing it, the team looked at its adaptive reuse potential. The current study shows the onramp as an elevated linear park that connects downtown to the new parking structure and a new pier extension that extends back into the study area. This approach allows for direct pedestrian connections with dramatic panoramic views, while potentially reducing the project cost and quantity of material heading to the landfill.



With the introduction of a potential new parking structure located in the newly created block between Cal­ifornia and Chestnut the design team turned their attention to creating a true destination within the study area. With the proximity of the rail line and the need for a major bus terminal within the core of the down­town area, a multi-modal transit hub was studied for the new city block between Chestnut and Fir Streets. This new transit center could serve local and regional trips as well as transform downtown Ventura into a true car-free vacation destination for tourists traveling by train or bus. The final block between Fir and Ash Street was also studied for its ability to serve the goal of destination generation. To support potential new hotel rooms and additional commercial space within the new water­front area, a large scale event place has been studied. This facility could house such functions as conferenc­es, banquet, small conventions as well as a 3,000 person capacity outdoor arena for a variety of performing arts. All these activities would benefit from the dramatic ocean views.


Fly over the Ventura BEACH+TOWN

(3 min youtube video takes you on a tour of the reimagined beach+town)

Fly over the Ventura Beach+Town!


3D Project Images

Click on each image to view larger size




BEACH+TOWN won the AIA Ventura County’s 2013 Honor Award in Unbuilt Project Category!



The BEACH+TOWN project has been featured in two CAPS-TV shows.

Throughout the month of May 2012, the public has the opportunity to learn about how this catalytic project can change the face of Ventura’s downtown and beachfront.  An exciting exhibit in the Ventura City Hall foyer includes a scaled 3-D model of the transformed area, as well as site plans and project renderings.

Freeway caps have been constructed throughout the US, and many more are being proposed in California right now.  Below are links to similar projects.

Existing freeway caps

Seattle Freeway Park

La Canada Flintridge

Proposed freeway cap projects


Hollywood Central Park

Downtown Los Angeles Park 101

Proposed abandoned infrastructure parks