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Development, Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Bergamot Transit Village Is Good For Traffic & Transit

Posted Feb. 4, 2014, 9:21 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday of last week, Hines brought their plans for Bergamot Transit Village before the Santa Monica City Council. At the hearing, community feedback ran the gamut with those opposed to the project making it clear that their primary fear was increased traffic. As the chair of the non-profit railLA we support transit oriented developments such as the one before us. We believe that Bergamot Transit Village will reduce traffic and boost rail ridership.

A recent USC study found that residents living within a 1/2 mile of the Expo Line reduced daily vehicle miles driven by 40 percent and tripled their rail ridership after Phase 1 opened in 2012. Housing near stations is proven to boost rail ridership in Los Angeles and will have the same effect in Santa Monica when Phase 2 opens in 2016. The same is true of jobs and retail.

RailLA supports Bergamot Transit Village as an example of the right way to boost rail ridership: by adding jobs, housing, and retail directly across the street from the Bergamot Station Expo Line stop. The project has the most aggressive Transportation Demand Management program ever proposed in Santa Monica which will help foster behavioral change through transit pass subsidies and economic incentives that reduce vehicle trips.

I serve on the board of railLA, but I'm also a resident of the Pico neighborhood in Santa Monica near the proposed Transit Village. I’m a local and I want this in my neighborhood.

I’m part of a new generation of Santa Monica residents, and I want to abandon notions that I need a car to get around the city. I want to be able to ride my bike to the Transit Village, park my bike securely, and enjoy a restaurant or stop by the farmers market in the plaza, then hop aboard the Expo Line and head to either Downtown Santa Monica where I work, or to Downtown LA.

Later in the evening, I could return to Santa Monica and meet up for dinner at the Transit Village, or attend a gallery opening at Bergamot Art Center and then ride my bike a short distance home: a full day’s activities all without a car. This is a lifestyle that I want to live -- a "transit-lifestyle" and I want to see the Transit Village here in my neighborhood in Santa Monica.

Jeremy Stutes

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Feb. 4, 2014, 10:05:57 am

Kathryn Garner said...

Dear Jeremy, Your opinion is much appreciated as proposals are weighed. The rail will definitely help to manage some of the current traffic for our city as we currently know it, but not if we increase population and traffic through large development. You can already ride your bike to do all the activities listed in your email. I have been doing so for years. All activities are already at your disposal. And while riding my bike to these activities, it is already quite challenging to get there due to the traffic. It will only be much more challenging when we add many more people and cars to the area. The Pico area does not suffer from the huge amount of congestion that is already prevalent near downtown, Santa Monica Boulevard, Ocean, Wilshire,etc. Maybe you are not as aware of the traffic since you are in a less congested area. I suggest you get on your bicycle today and ride over to some of the currently available places during rush hour. You may think differently after wondering if you are risking your life to enjoy Santa Monica via bicycle and discover some of the wonderful business and activities already in place. Thank you, Kathryn Garner

Feb. 4, 2014, 10:48:47 am

Alin Wall said...

Dear Jeremy, I think we all want the same thing whether we are young or old...we want a vibrant, fun, lively beach community that is easy to live and work in. The Bergamot Transit Village is needed but its present size is the issue. Even with the Metro Rail it will add over 7,000 car trips a day! This is not good for Santa Monica residents, visitors or workforce. In addition, there is no requirement that the housing be built first. At 750,000 sq feet and 86 feet tall, the plan before us is hardly a "village". I sincerely hope the vision you describe is what happens in the Bergamot area but the present project won't get us there.

Feb. 4, 2014, 12:02:18 pm

Henry Hall said...

More destruction of our city making it unlivable. This developer should stay in Texas and not further destroy us.. He obviously doesn't care and will go back to Texas laughing himself silly taking multi millions of dollars home to enjoy knowing we are suffering. Our city government seems to have no ability to stop the carnage.

Feb. 4, 2014, 3:02:15 pm

D'Lynn Waldron said...

Pico already has a traffic problem in Santa Monica. I am a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the studios have moved the majority of their screenings to the Landmark at Pico and Westwood Blvd. because no one wants to drive farther east than that. But, it often takes an hour to get to Westwood Blvd. on Pico due to the jam of traffic which begins in Santa Monica. And there are only a few hours in the day when it is convenient to get to Trader Joes using Pico. Bicyclist, please have headlights and reflectors and take note of cars signaling for a right turn at night into the parking garage for the Landmark theatres. 'Ninja' bicyclists who dress in dark clothes and do not have headlights and reflectors are invisible. You have to be seen to be given the right of way that we want very much to give you.

Feb. 4, 2014, 3:52:56 pm

Patricia Gaskey said...

Dear Editor, I do not feel the Hines development is going to benefit us residents in Santa Monica and will only cause more traffic. We already experience slow commutes with congestion on a daily basis! I cannot imagine the future with the estimated 7,000 more vehicles coming in each day if this development is built. The 10 freeway eastbound entrance and westbound exit on Cloverfield will be more of a nightmare then it already is! Also, I am apprehensive to ride my bike in Santa Monica due to all the cars on the streets already. I feel the city prides itself on how pedestrian friendly it is. It just doesn't make sense to bring it more cars to cause more problems. I hope the Hines development does not get approved tonight or there will be a lot of unhappy Santa Monica residents (including myself)! Thank you!

Feb. 4, 2014, 10:58:49 pm

I call BS said...

The right wing pro-development PR trolls are out in full force and this time they're pretending to be "liberal, bike enthusiasts who want an urban utopia" . This is just a con job that will result in larger and taller development and more and more traffic congestion. In fact, I will bet that we will have more bike related fatalities due to the increase in car traffic. There are BIG money forces at work here and they have already bought off the city council, Mayor and looks like the Santa Monica Mirror. Now they want to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about them. Don't buy the lies.

Feb. 5, 2014, 6:20:11 am

Steve Jones said...

Jeremy: The EIR says the BTV will add 7,000 car trips per day and negatively effect dozens of intersections. What part of that do you not understand? If you are so sure about it's positive effect on traffic, how about the BTV be built with NO parking, since everyone using it and living there will be riding their bikes or rail? I wonder if you were one of the same geniuses who decided to put the rail line on Colorado instead of down the median on Olympic?!

Feb. 6, 2014, 11:11:04 am

R Templeton said...

Mr Stutes, Streets choked with traffic, adding twenty minutes to circle blocks looking for overpriced parking, fouled air...yes, I suppose that's one way to force people onto trains. However, I believe that Santa Monica is better than that, and can find a way to attract train ridership in other, less oppressive ways than large scale, high density development making our streets unpassable.

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