SMCLC has served the city with its objections to the initial environmental review for Santa Monica Place. A copy of SMCLC’s letter is posted on SMCLC’s website at smclc.net.
SMCLC fully supports Macerich’s plans to revamp Santa Monica Place, and its objections are not aimed at Macerich or at delaying the mall project.
SMCLC believes that the Initial Study is flawed because it ignores the key question: Whether a successful “destination” mall of the type Macerich now envisions, with new uses that greatly intensify activities, would generate significantly more traffic than the prior, unsuccessful mall did? If so, then the city would need to address all significant existing and future impacts and possible traffic mitigations now.
Instead of looking at the changes and intensifications of use, the study speculates that the traffic impacts for the new mall would be no greater than the previous mall “could have generated” because the mall’s retail square footage remains approximately the same.
SMCLC believes that the traffic counts used in the study are inaccurate and unreliable. What the city must do now is begin to collect accurate traffic counts for this project, the downtown (which has seen major high-density construction over the past few years, without taking into account what would happen if Santa Monica Place were successful) and for the whole of the city as part of our General Plan circulation update.