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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Worst Santa Monica Gridlock In 18 Years: Letter To The Editor

Posted Mar. 26, 2013, 1:12 pm

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

On Saturday, March 23, 2013, I went to the annual meeting of Mid-City  Neighbors (one of the seven official neighborhoods in Santa Monica) held at the Main Library.

I exited the parking structure on 7th Street  at about 3:15 pm, turned west to Santa Monica Blvd, which was solid  with cars. Traffic was at a stand-still. 

For the next 20 minutes I sat in gridlock traffic. In 20 minutes my car had progressed  one block and a half. I live just south of the pier, and figured that at this rate it would take me at least two hours to get home, so I turned north when in another 10 minutes I finally reached Santa Monica and 5th Street

5th street was moving slowing. I reached Arizona, headed for Lincoln.   Lincoln was a parking lot.  It took me another 12 minutes to go one block on Lincoln where  I managed to turn left on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was clear going east.

Downtown gridlock used to start at 5th Street going west. Now that Colorado has been closed, gridlock starts east of Lincoln. And it was locked tight.

On my gridlocked path, there were NO people walking. It was as if  this line  of traffic was sitting in a deserted City. It was eerie. But keep in mind that residents already know not to go downtown.

Also keep in mind that not one single building of the 35 development agreements in the hopper has been built. Not one. Only one street has been closed. And that one street closing has locked the gridlock tighter than it’s ever been since the City started engineering the traffic downtown. This does not portend well for the future of downtown Santa Monica as City planners and developers envision it. 

I suggest they check out the conditions on the ground before they proceed. Everybody seems to think they can squeeze 35 more developments into Santa Monica and the world will just move over and make room.  

Doesn’t work that way. When streets get choked with traffic, just one more car (just one) can lock the traffic and make it immovable. I suggest that the planners get out of their theoretics and go check the condition on the ground. 

They may be in for a shock, particularly on weekends. When the light rail is finished, it’s likely more people will arrive via train, but as Rod Gould has acknowledged, the bulk of  people from all over Southern California will continue to arrive  -- by car. 

In fact, the light rail may do very little to alleviate grid-lock on the ground and  wishful thinking won’t make it different.

Ellen Brennan

Santa Monica

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Mar. 26, 2013, 3:56:31 pm

John Brenner said...

Have you been living under a compost bin? Traffic has been unbearable in DT SM ever since Broadway was reduced from 2 lanes to 1 because of the bus lane. Summer and any "beach day" just exasperates the issue. It was a very sunny day on 3/23. You stated that you live just south of the pier and that "there were NO people walking" including yourself.! You live about a mile away, ever considered walking or taking a bus if possible? I live in the 600 block of 9th St. and never drive to DT SM during the day on weekends; I walk, bike or take a bus depending on the weather. SM is a major word wide and local destination, it is busy and getting busier, get used to it and adjust.. You are correct on the Expo Line, it will make traffic worse, the many new pedestrians will cause additional traffic signals to clear; traffic will often be backed up east of Lincoln, but is rare now. When the new hotels and residences are built along Colorado and Lincoln it will get worse; more options = more people and vehicles. This is the cost we pay to live here, it is manageable. I bet there where complaints when 3rd St was closed to vehicles on weekdays.

Mar. 27, 2013, 8:59:17 am

Jillian Alexander said...

Not everyone has the luxury of time or health to walk or bike. To alleviate gridlock and motivate people to use them, the city has to FIRST put more buses in service more frequently covering more streets and routes regardless of yield. Then it has to give buses throughway rights, so that buses travel faster than private vehicles. Once the service schedules and locations made them widely available and faster than personal vehicles, then many people would use them. (I've lived in San Francisco and other cities with well conceived mass transit plans and this works to some degree.) The BigBlueBuses are usually very clean and even those who might prefer using their private vehicles would get into the habit of using the buses Berating someone for complaining about the traffic congestion shows you do not understand the big picture. For example, Santa Monica College's enrollment was considerably reduced this semester. As an Adjunct Professor, during the fall semester I heard many students complain about the traffic and mention they may have to continue studies at a community college nearer to their residence prior to transferring to university because they cannot afford the time it takes to commute into Santa Monica. I know many from other parts of Los Angeles who no longer come to Santa Monica for leisure or shopping because the traffic makes it so stressful. It seems as if planning and decision-making ignores long-term tax revenue and long-term quality of life.

Mar. 27, 2013, 11:15:07 am

GordonSantaMonica said...

Just like todays stock market always going higher and higher .... the traffic situation with respect to GRIDLOCK is going to continmue to get worse as projects continue in the downtown area, Think about the lack of planning with respect to the affect of ongoing projects on the Santa Monica enviorns. Think about how the Incline project was supposed to be started a couple of years ago ... what happened to the Incline Plans??? Brain freeze?? Surely we have not seen the end to the Gridlock or any other lock. Oh yes the plans for bikes, Pedestrians and cars. That is a real safety hazard and major Gridlock of modes of travel.

Mar. 27, 2013, 11:51:27 am

Liz Bell said...

I was at the same meeting as my good neighbor, Ellen, and had been elsewhere until just before it, so walking/biking/busing was not an option. Afterwards. I eventually headed east onto Santa Monica and the traffic was backed up beyond Lincoln.. This is common whether a weekday or weekend day. Pity all those coming to the beach to enjoy the sunset, the wide expanse of view from PV to Pt. Dume, the clean air. All they were going to see was their windshield. The City officials must consider the real impact of the development they seem intent on approving. Tall buildings at the beach will bring more cars. Period. The buildings will also block the cooling and cleansing sea breeze. SM residents deserve to benefit from these. About Expo Line: I do hope congestion into and out of the city during the day will improve so I get to destinations outside SM at night during the week.. When I drive east on the 10 in the morning, the Cloverfield exit from westbound traffic is so backed up it causes, bit by bit, congestion on the west 10 all the way back to Robertson. As residents, we should not be expected to simply adjust downward our quality of life just to accommodate developers. There is a huge economic value to the beach, the view and the clean air. Please don't compromise it.

Mar. 27, 2013, 12:25:41 pm

Donna Walden said...

Finally, Ellen Brennan is thinking on the terms of people who have some common sense. I still say, the planning commission is only thinking of the cities pockets for taxes

Mar. 28, 2013, 7:43:25 pm

L. McCann said...

I owned a condo on Ocean Park between Lincoln and 4th. Sold it! I use to watch the seagulls migrate at a certain time of the year. Taller building not only ruin the fun for the travelers on ground but blocks the migrating Seagulls and other bird life near the ocean. What an awful situation.

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