June 27, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

OpEd: S.M.A.R.t Macro Problems and Micro Planning Put City’s Future At Risk:

Santa Monica’s Downtown is unique in that it is contained on three sides with cliffs to the west, deep canyon to the north and the Santa Monica Freeway to the south. This limits access to and from the center of our City. Since most major arteries terminate in Downtown, there are few ways for residents to escape the inevitable gridlock.

Ironically, the Expo Line, that was supposed to reduce traffic, is having the opposite effect due to new Expo gate crossings and pedestrian “scrambles.” The fact that some of our major north/south arteries have had lane reductions and/or are now “one-way” hasn’t helped.

Although the City has tried several strategies to improve traffic, the results have not been promising – our streets continue to be jammed during peak hours. Currently, the number of cars in the Downtown area exceeds the capacity of our streets to accommodate them…. and it is getting worse. Large projects continue to be approved despite the fact that our roads, resources and infrastructure are inadequate to support them. Our Planners need to get ahead of the curve. They need to stop approving projects until their remedial measures can be shown to be effective.

For example, it would seem that good planning would reduce rather than increase the number of permanent cars in the Downtown area. Actually, the opposite is the case. Of the 55 Development Agreements in the pipeline, about two-thirds of those pending or approved are slated for Downtown and two-thirds of those will be on Lincoln Boulevard.

These new projects will require parking for around 8,560 new cars – almost as much as currently exists in all of the City’s 14 lots – 8,683 cars. Added to this number will be the cars for 1,000 new hotels rooms. What has been until now an inconvenience is about to become a nightmare…. and perhaps an unending one. If the past is any indication, the solution does not lie in better traffic control, more parking structures or traffic cops. There is a much simpler solution, and it may be the only one that can affect a meaningful change – a cap on development.

This is particularly important in the Downtown area but could also be considered in other parts of the City as well. At present, what we are witnessing is the opposite. Our infrastructure has become strained to the point where “brownouts” are more common and our goal for water self-sufficiency less likely. Our schools are full and some emergency services are understaffed and ill prepared for the increasing number of residents and visitors. Simply stated, Santa Monica, for now, may have reached its “Limits to Growth.”

Over the 25 years, from 1985 to 2010, there were fewer than 10 moderately sized projects that exceeded Santa Monica’s codes approved with Development Agreements. In the six years since 2010, there have been nearly six times that number – 57. On average, the more recent ones have all been much larger.

These new projects go far beyond what our city fathers envisioned when our planning code was written. Most (67 percent) are planned for Downtown with 30 percent of those on our most congested artery – Lincoln Boulevard. If all of these projects approved by City officials come to fruition, the fate of our City may be sealed. It will not be what most residents would have preferred. Something must change before Santa Monica becomes a second Playa Vista that can be seen mestasizing like a cancer along Jefferson Boulevard. One justification for this rush to develop using D.A.s for projects that exceed current codes is the need for affordable housing. Most of the large mixed use projects under review do have a small component of “affordable housing” – 14 percent on average.

This housing consists mostly of one-bedroom or studio units that are smaller than a two-car garage. Like garages, they are often located in the least desirable part of the project. These units are unsuitable for families. Their primary appeal is to a transient workforce that will have little stake in our community. Most couples with children would not want to live far above the street where they are unable to monitor their children below or so far from their car when it comes time to take their kids to school or run errands. It’s not a coincidence that nearly half of these projects are financed by out of state investors?

Their goals are short-term, their motives profit driven and their outcomes often not in the community’s best interest. The paltry development fees and micro units fall far short of compensating residents for their inconvenience and future costs.

Sometimes, these projects are built in low-income areas where they displace existing affordable housing and accelerate gentrification. The City

needs to find a better way to provide affordable housing that is low-rise, suits families and is located adjacent to parks and schools.

To do otherwise, will be counterproductive in the short term and detrimental to the City best interests in the long term.

Thane Roberts AIA and Ron Goldman FAIA for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) Thane Roberts AIA, Architect, Robert H. Taylor AIA, Mario Fonda-Bonardi AIA, Ron Goldman FAIA, Daniel Jansenson Architect, Samuel Tolkin AIA, Phil Brock, Santa Monica Arts Commission

in News
Related Posts

The Los Angeles Real Estate Market May Finally Be Slowing Down

June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022

Real estate sales drop 21 percent in past year By Dolores Quintana The Los Angeles real estate market is showing...

Redevelopment Complete of Former Westside Pavilion Macy’s

June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022

Developer announces complete of West End at Pico and Overland Developer HLW, on behalf of GPI Companies and in partnership...

Mayor Himmelrich’s Tax Transfer Measure Is Favored to Qualify for the November Election

June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022

In a cursory review, the City Clerk’s office verified 10,277 of the over 11,000 signatures  By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica...

Active Shooter Training Set for Santa Monica Middle School Friday

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Drill to take place at John Adams Middle School Friday morning By Sam Catanzaro ​​An active shooter training will take...

Metro Church and Cafe Fundraising To Keep Space in Santa Monica

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Non-profit church and coffee shop shut down following false vermin complaint By Dolores Quintana Metropolis Santa Monica is a multi-use...

New Coffee Shop Open on Montana Avenue

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Go Get ‘Em Tiger up and running on corner of Montana and 10th  By Dolores Quintana A new coffee shop...

15-Year Department Veteran Selected as Santa Monica’s Next Director of Library Services

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Erica Cuyugan leads Santa Monica Public Library After performing a nationwide search, the City of Santa Monica recently selected Erica...

Cardboard City Returning to Santa Monica This Weekend

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

5,000 square foot innovative pop-up art installation returns June 25 with opening ceremony  Cardboard City, a 5,000 square foot innovative...

The Book Jewel Celebrates Pride Month as a Community

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Westchester bookstore hosting series of events this month The Book Jewel in Westchester is hosting several events this month that...

Santa Monica Resident Injured in Apartment Fire

June 21, 2022

June 21, 2022

Pico Neighborhood apartment catches fire last week By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica resident was injured in an apartment fire...

Bonin Requests Lease Extension for a Bridge Home Homeless Shelter

June 21, 2022

June 21, 2022

Motion currently pending in City Council committee  By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin is pushing to extend...

Mountain Lion Killed by Vehicle Near the Same Spot Her Mother Was Fatally Struck in 2018

June 21, 2022

June 21, 2022

P-54 killed on Las Virgenes Road last Friday By Sam Catanzaro Not too far from where her mother was hit...

Rent Board Has Approves Highest Rental Increase In 40 Years: Santa Monica Beat – June 20th, 2022

June 20, 2022

June 20, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Rent Board Has Approves Highest Rental Increase In 40 Years * Recreational Marijuana...

Santa Monica Families Earning Upwards of $190,000 Can Qualify for Mortgage Relief

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

State expands California Mortgage Relief Program By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica families earning upwards of $190,000 can qualify for mortgage...