On Tuesday of last week, Hines brought their plans for Bergamot Transit Village before the Santa Monica City Council. At the hearing, community feedback ran the gamut with those opposed to the project making it clear that their primary fear was increased traffic. As the chair of the non-profit railLA we support transit oriented developments such as the one before us. We believe that Bergamot Transit Village will reduce traffic and boost rail ridership.
A recent USC study found that residents living within a 1/2 mile of the Expo Line reduced daily vehicle miles driven by 40 percent and tripled their rail ridership after Phase 1 opened in 2012. Housing near stations is proven to boost rail ridership in Los Angeles and will have the same effect in Santa Monica when Phase 2 opens in 2016. The same is true of jobs and retail.
RailLA supports Bergamot Transit Village as an example of the right way to boost rail ridership: by adding jobs, housing, and retail directly across the street from the Bergamot Station Expo Line stop. The project has the most aggressive Transportation Demand Management program ever proposed in Santa Monica which will help foster behavioral change through transit pass subsidies and economic incentives that reduce vehicle trips.
I serve on the board of railLA, but I’m also a resident of the Pico neighborhood in Santa Monica near the proposed Transit Village. I’m a local and I want this in my neighborhood.
I’m part of a new generation of Santa Monica residents, and I want to abandon notions that I need a car to get around the city. I want to be able to ride my bike to the Transit Village, park my bike securely, and enjoy a restaurant or stop by the farmers market in the plaza, then hop aboard the Expo Line and head to either Downtown Santa Monica where I work, or to Downtown LA.
Later in the evening, I could return to Santa Monica and meet up for dinner at the Transit Village, or attend a gallery opening at Bergamot Art Center and then ride my bike a short distance home: a full day’s activities all without a car. This is a lifestyle that I want to live — a “transit-lifestyle” and I want to see the Transit Village here in my neighborhood in Santa Monica.