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Looking for Santa Monica: On The Promenade:

This is another in our continuing series of responses to the City’s questionnaire: What Is Your Vision of Santa Monica? The questionnaire is one of several  tools City planners are using in their revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan.

The writer lives in Mar Vista and is a sophomore at Santa Monica High School.   

Chelsea Rinnig

Special to the Mirror


Do You Live in the City?

No, I live in Mar Vista.  However, I spend a good deal of my time in Santa Monica.


Do You Work in the City?

I don’t work, I go to school there though; I’m a student at Santa Monica High School.


Are you a City visitor/tourist?

No, but I frequently act like one.


Day and Time of My Walk:  Sunday, May 8 from 5-7 pm.


How did you get to your starting point?

 I took the Big Blue Bus (#8).


Streets I walked: 

Third Street Promenade, Broadway, Fourth Street, and the Parking Lot on Fourth Street.


Getting Around Santa Monica

Tell us what you liked/disliked about walking in this area: 

I love the diversity of the promenade and how many people, tourists and residents included, visit every day.  Those of every race, age, and social standing are welcome to come and go as they please.  There is also a great variety of shops and restaurants to fit the various personalities of those at the promenade. 

However, with the multitude of people who meander around the streets comes a great amount of trash that can be fairly disgusting at times.  The promenade has improved greatly in the past couple of years, but Fourth Street is much dirtier and unattractive than its neighboring Third Street. 


What has been your impression of driving and parking in the area? 

Fourth Street is always very hectic with the traffic and can be frustrating at times, especially on weekends.  Parking is also crowded most of the time and my mother tends to complain about the parking structures that somehow always end up being full.  The roof of the lot on Fourth usually has parking spaces though. 


Quality of Experience

1.  What did you like or dislike about your experience?  I loved just strolling around the streets and seeing all the sights and sounds.  I also walked up the stairs to the roof of the parking lot at sunset and it was a gorgeous view.  To the west is the beach and the pier, to the east are mountains and the rest of the city, to the south is the Marina; it is surreal how beautiful the city looks as the sun is setting on the ocean and the contrast between light in shadow casts the perfect soft lighting over the usually grimy office buildings.  The sight just gave me a different perspective on the city.


What were people doing in this area and how did it impact your experience?

They mostly walk around and shop so it was a little crowded but I liked seeing such a range of people.  There are also many street performers that who to the color of the whole area.


Neighborhood Activities

Do you like the activities available in the neighborhood?

 Yes, I for one immensely enjoy shopping and I shop on the promenade frequently.  It’s a very popular place in Santa Monica so I assume most people like the area as well.


Are there any other activities or services that you would like to see in the neighborhood?

There should be a better way of keeping Fourth Street cleaner, like having more trash cans.  Third Street should have recycling cans as well because it would be beneficial to our seaside environment. 


Neighborhood Character

1.  What is your impression of the buildings in the area?  I think most of the buildings have been there for a while and they add character to the streets; they keep Santa Monica from becoming a completely modern city.


2.  What was unique about the area?  The fact that one sees people that they recognize and those that they don’t in one place nearly every time they go there (I know I do). 


3.  What did you dislike about this area?  The trash is horrible and an overlooked problem.



Tell us how you imagine this area to be in 20 years. It is hard for me to imagine what the promenade will be like because I know it was completely different 20 years ago.  My mother always tells me that it used to have cars on the streets when she first moved here 23 years ago.  It seems to be changing all the time but I think that it will have a balance of past and present so that we might remember that both exist simultaneously; it has always been that way and forever will.

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