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Community Confronts Santa Monica’s Transportation Issues:

Traffic congestion, parking problems, the need for more mass transit, and other transportation issues all took center stage at a workshop held at John Adams Middle School. The October 6 workshop was part of the ongoing update of the Land Use and Circulation Elements (commonly known as LUCE) for the City’s General Plan, last updated in 1984.

City consultant Jeffrey Tumlin, a principal with Nelson/Nygaard Associates, noted in his presentation that traffic congestion in the City occurs most frequently at the first intersections near freeway ramps on some of the City’s major north-south streets: Bundy/Centinela, 26th/Cloverfield/23rd, and Lincoln / PCH/Main Street. Interstate 10 gets backed up during special events, seasonally near the beaches, and around schools. Tumlin attributed congestion in downtown and around Cloverfield Boulevard primarily to those either working or shopping in the areas.

Tumlin also mentioned, “Santa Monicans can walk to more services than just about anywhere else in LA County.” You can test the walkability of your home to nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. at walkscore.com. He then emphasized that future City development should include “walkable streets, vibrant retail districts, and enjoyable access” for biking, mass transit, and driving.

Workshop attendees got a chance to offer their recommendations on improving circulation throughout the City by participating in a number of exercises. The primary theme that emerged was the desire for Santa Monica to have a system that connects pedestrian access, bikeways, mass transit, and driving.

Suggestions to reduce congestion included “creating and maintaining local services to reduce the need to drive long distances, focus any new development near mass transit, develop a joint universal pass program with the City’s Big Blue Bus and the Metropolitan Transit District, implement a universal transit pass program for students, and use variable pricing at beach parking lots.”

Participants also made suggestions to increase walkability in the City, such as focusing street design on softscape and improving mass transit connectivity, especially for the Civic Center, Santa Monica College, and the hospitals.

As in past workshops, it was suggested that providing more live-work opportunities and building more affordable housing would cut down on workers commuting into the City.

The next workshop, which will focus on Industrial Lands, will be held at Lincoln Middle School on Thursday, October 25, at 6 p.m.

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