Over 70 Santa Monica residents devoted last Saturday morning to a workshop on neighborhood traffic staged by the City as part of its revision of the circulation element of the City’s General Plan.
The circulation element sets out the location of existing roads, highways and other modes of transportation. It was last updated in 1984.
The workshop began with a presentation by Beth Rolandson, a Senior Transportation Planner with the City’s Transportation Management Division on neighborhood traffic policies in Santa Monica today.
Participants were then divided up into ten discussion groups to talk about neighborhood traffic.
Each person was then asked to rate 14 statements about traffic conditions in his or her neighborhood on a 0 to 10 scale.
The 14 statements were:
(1) Santa Monica neighborhoods are comfortable for walking.
(2) Local intersections work well for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
(3) Our streets should be used only by people who live on them.
(4) Most people drive about the right speed on local streets.
(5) Speed humps are good for Santa Monica neighborhoods.
(6) If Santa Monica really wants to, we can keep regional travelers off our streets.
(7) Motorists should drive slow enough to stop for children playing outside, even if they go in the street.
(8) Residents can conveniently drive anywhere in Santa Monica neighborhoods.
(9) It should be as easy to walk or bike, as it is to drive in Santa Monica’s neighborhoods.
(10) More should be done about problem driving in alleys.
(11) Traffic in Santa Monica’s neighborhoods is a problem only at certain times.
(12) We should prohibit traffic on local streets even if it makes traffic on major streets worse.
(13) Given a slight reduction in emergency response time for police, fire and ambulances in exchange for slower vehicle traffic in my neighborhood, I would take slower vehicle traffic.
(14) I would rather live in a busy, successful community like Santa Monica, than a community with no traffic.
A spokesperson from each group then summarized the responses of its members.
Themes that emerged from the process included more accurately assessing impacts of proposed developments on traffic and parking before developments are approved, the need for motorists to drive more slowly, the need for more traffic signals and better synchronization of them, the need for better enforcement of traffic laws, the need to update freeways, the need to be updated and the need to make neighborhoods as easy to walk and bike in as it is to drive.
Participants were invited to place comments on an enlarged map of Santa Monica.
Some of the comments noted gridlock in certain parts of the City. Others cited the need for more mass transit, the danger to pedestrians from traffic, motorists exceeding street speed limits and ignoring stop signs, excessive speed bumps, restoring four lanes of traffic on Montana Avenue, and the need for more neighborhood serving shops so residents don’t have “to drive so far to get what they need.”
In the final exercise, participants placed dots on alternatives for marking traffic lanes, turn restrictions, alleys, and parking configurations on wider streets.
An analysis of the workshop will be posted on the City’s website, motion.santa-monica.org.
Special Session on Traffic Methodology
The Santa Monica City Council and Planning Commission will hold a special joint meeting on traffic methodology on Tuesday, March 15, in the Council chambers. A number of traffic consultants will make presentations.Call 458-8291 for time of meeting.