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Montebello - Whittier Boulevard Improvements & Gateway Landmarks

Client: City of Montebello

Whittier Boulevard spans two miles through the heart of Montebello between neighboring East Los Angeles and Pico Rivera. Freeways, shopping malls, economic decline, single-use zoning and 1971 earthquake damage had sapped the corridor’s vitality, especially in downtown. FTB was selected to prepare a Specific Plan and subsequent streetscape improvement project. Developed through a public workshop process, the improvements visually narrowed the street in downtown with a colonnade of palm trees, reconfigured parking lots to enable them to serve as temporary plazas, and provided gateway markers for Whittier Boulevard’s city entrances and downtown parking lots.

AFTER: Trees and streetlights were positioned to visually “narrow” the wide road and enhance pedestrian comfort.


BEFORE: The street’s format did not support walkable retail.

Whittier Boulevard was an auto-oriented strip corridor struggling with disinvestment, yet its downtown storefronts marked the historical and physical heart of the city.


  • Design streetscapes to support the revitalization of Whittier Boulevard’s downtown segment.
  • Develop gateway designs to mark the east and west city entrances on Whittier Boulevard.
  • Reconfigure two city parking lots to enable their use as special events plazas.
  • Prepare Phase I and II construction documents.


  • Phase I streetscape improvements (4th Street to 10th Street) were completed in 2006.
  • The Phase I project received the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association Project of the Year Award for cities of 50,000 – 100,000 in population.
  • Phase II streetscape improvements (Pico Rivera border to 4th Street) were completed in 2011.

In collaboration with:

AAE Inc., SFE Landscape Architects, Rempel Architects, Dream Engineering