When I moved to Santa Monica over 15 years ago, I chose to live near Wilshire, a few blocks away from Von’s market. This choice provided access to transit and a grocery store to walk to.
During the LUCE process, many people expressed the fear that the Activity Center at 14th and Wilshire could result in replacement of our walkable grocery store with a hotel. I was instrumental in convincing the City Council to add a requirement for a full-service grocery store to the description of Activity Centers.
This means that our neighborhood grocery stores are protected in areas designated as Activity Centers. If the Activity Center designation is removed from the parcel at 14th and Wilshire, the Von’s could be replaced by a development without a grocery store, perhaps even by a hotel.
Some people express the thought that Activity Centers would increase traffic. According to the LUCE EIR, exactly the opposite is true. By creating “complete communities” and concentrations of businesses that many people visit while out running errands, fewer discrete automobile trips are required.
If the Activity Center designation is removed from the locations on Wilshire, any resulting development could be far more damaging to our neighborhood than a development that includes five stories of affordable housing.