December 7, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

On December 24, I was minding my own business, running errands, when I was stopped and ticketed by the Santa Monica Police Department for riding my bike on the sidewalk. I had no idea this was a criminal offense.

The statute: 3.12.540 reads: “It shall be unlawful to ride a bicycle or to coast in any vehicle upon any public sidewalk”.

In Santa Monica, this charge is not an infraction or traffic violation–it is a misdemeanor. ­­I wasn’t riding fast, recklessly or close to any pedestrians. I was also riding on a street without a bike lane. I was proceeding with care.

Consequently, this law forces cyclists to proceed in hazardous conditions or face criminal charges.

Aside from a section of Ocean Ave. there are no bike lanes in downtown Santa Monica at all.

Some streets, such as 4th Street, Wilshire Blvd, and Lincoln Blvd., are filled with rapid traffic and narrow lanes, which make it extremely dangerous for anyone cycling on those streets.

Shouldn’t cyclists have the option to use the public sidewalks for their own safety?

I understand our laws are created for our protection, but this law and the applicable misdemeanor charges are completely unreasonable.

I thought I was being a good citizen by leaving my car parked, alleviating additional traffic and pollution, and now, I’m being treated like a criminal.

According to SM District Attorney Terry White, “everyone is shocked” when they’re dragged into court for this.

Clearly, this law is absolutely ridiculous, and should be abrogated.

I encourage you to send your comments to our council members at:

I’ve made several attempts to reach the council myself, but so far, I’ve yet to receive a response.

This has personally caused me undue stress, inconvenience, and this unreasonable harassment of our citizens must stop. This is supposed to be The Land of the Free. Let’s keep it that way.

-Michael Mazor

Nice piece about passage of the EIR. While the most noise is being made, understandably, by those whose homes and schools will be near the proposed routes, an aura of bliss seems to have settled over Santa Monica: at last! Rail transportation.

If you schroll down in the EIR (which I read online), you get to tables of the forecast reduction in auto trips in 2014. That makes for some pretty depressing reading. A lessening of a percent? About a thousand car trips?

Yes, any reduction is better than none, but the ridership/lessening of auto traffic stats will, I think sadly, remind us that this route was latched onto during the dark period when Congressman Waxman had put the hold on any federal money for a West Side subway through his presumably methane-laced district.

If you take a deep breath and think about who in Santa Monica will be served by the Expo Line, and how, you wind up shaking your head: residents will have to make their way downtown, presumably by car, over routes already constricted (and jammed) by our Traffic Department’s narrowing of Santa Monica Blvd.

We will park – where? Didn’t the Mirror recently report on the Council getting a study of parking structures and capacity which (surprise?) agreed with their policy that too many people are driving downtown (we should take the bus or bike). That is, no new structures of expansion of existing parking garages. Instead, fees will be raised in the existing buildings (surprise?).

There exists in the Huntington Library’s special collection department a fascinating Pacific Electric document about the need for that company to stop building new rail lines and start using busses, because they are more flexible. The document was prepared for internal use.around 1922. It really does lay out what rail is good for, in terms of commuters and urban travel, and what it isn’t. Too bad no one involved in planning our rail network read it.

Larry Dietz, Santa Monica

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