This Tuesday, Santa Monica City Council is expected to vote on final approval of the pilot program for temporary weekend street closures for vehicular traffic for a few weekends this summer on Main Street. In other cities programs like this have proven to reduce car use, support local businesses, and increase walking and biking. Santa Monica City Council needs to hear from you – share your support for a more sustainable, walkable, and vibrant Santa Monica! We want Santa Monica to be a great place for residents, workers, students and visitors of all ages to safely walk, bike, and scoot. As we emerge out of the pandemic, finding creative ways like this to support healthy active mobility and our local businesses by providing more outdoor experiences is critical for our community wellbeing and our economic recovery.
We know you may have previously sent an email or submitted a survey but we need you to help demonstrate support to Council this evening with a short note to ensure that Item 7-A is approved. Click and customize the template below.
Santa Monica Spoke enthusiastically supports the Main Street Buisness Improvement District and the Ocean Park Neighborhood Association pilot. Other cities in the US and around the world have long been discovering the economic and safety benefits of slow and shared streets for safer, more equitable and sustainable mobility, for people walking, biking, scooting and driving. We have the data, we know that prioritizing people over cars makes streets safer for everyone, improves gridlock, is better for the environment, and indeed improves the experience of mobility regardless of mode. By providing safer and healthier options that encourage more people to leave their cars behind and explore the city, we improve safety, climate impacts, economic and environmental resilience, and vitality for our future.
This item will be heard tomorrow at the Tuesday, June 8th council meeting. Please send a quick note of support on Item 7-A, pilot program for weekend closures on Main Street, to the members of City Council* — template and email addresses listed below. *preferably by noon on Tuesday June 8th.
Example from Santa Barbara
Template: Please personalize as you like
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Kevin.McKeown@smgov.net, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mayor and Santa Monica City Council,
As a Santa Monica resident, I support the pilot to pedestrianize Main Street for a few weekends this summer and hope you will consider making it permanent. Pedestrianized streets are more vibrant and encourage people to visit by foot, bicycle or scooter and leave their car at home. Pedestrian streets improve the visitor experience, encourage people to stay and bring in more customers to shops and restaurants. Streets that are pedestrianized are much more relaxing and enjoyable to visit and eat outdoors than a street with the noise and pollution of car traffic.
I very much support this program and ask that you vote to approve of the pilot on Main Street!
On Tuesday, October 13th, Santa Monica City Council unanimously adopted the Bike Action Plan Amendment adding protected bike lanes to the Current 2011 Bike Action Plan. We were humbled and grateful for the youth that spoke so passionately and articulately at the online meeting — despite the late hour — in support of expanding protected bike lanes and safety for our community, workers, students and visitors.
We’d like to thank City Staff for their meticulous work preparing the Draft Plan and the Santa Monica City Council for their continued direction and support to expand healthy active transportation options in Santa Monica along with necessary infrastructure and safety improvements for people walking, biking, scooting or driving cars. Together – with commitments like this – we can and must continue to prioritize improving safety for all, particularly our most vulnerable road users.
Well the day has come! The Bike Action Plan Amendment will be brought to City Council the evening of October 13th for adoption.
This exciting Bike Action Plan Amendment will advance the goals of the original 2011 Bike Plan by officially adding protected bike lanes, a relatively new type of approved bikeway that better meets the needs of our Santa Monica community of residents and visitors. Protected bike lanes add separation between people bicycling/scooting and people driving, which reduces opportunities for conflicts and are proven to create an environment that is more welcoming to a broader spectrum of people including families with children, novice riders, and those who are just nervous about riding on the road.
The Bike Action Plan Amendment will help move our City to improve: • Safety: Reducing conflicts result in fewer fatal crashes and fewer crashes overall as people on bicycles and scooters move with more protection from motorized car traffic. • Sustainability and Climate Action: Safer options encourage local trips walking, bicycling or scooting, reduce transportation emissions while increasing safety and equitable access for everyone. • Economic Recovery: COVID-19 has re-emphasized the role of living local, supporting community businesses, shops, and eateries. Protected bike lanes help in creating a network of safer and convenient bikeways to enable residents, visitors, and workers to walk, bike and scoot to local businesses, schools, parks, transit stations, and other destinations.
We invite you to join us by provide your input and showing your support for protected bike lanes and the Bike Action Plan Amendment. The Bike Action Plan Amendment will be presented to Santa Monica City Council for consideration on Tuesday October 13, 2020, and further information is available on the project website.
We are pleased to support the appointment of Interim City Manager Lane Dilg last Saturday, April 18th, and her Plan for a Bright Future. We sent her a warm supportive welcome, along with this critical input on the budget recovery crisis being faced by the City of Santa Monica.
Santa Monica’s economy depends on a functioning transportation network that safely moves people, goods and services. Current proposed budget cuts will be destructive to transportation work, will disable basic functions, and slow our safe recovery from this pandemic. Transportation staff, infrastructure and services are classified as essential government functions* and perform vital functions that literally keep our community running safely. These cuts will damage safety and the very fabric of services and programs that we depend on living in Santa Monica.
Do you know all the vital services the Transportation and Mobility Division continues to provide on a daily basis, including now during this time of crisis? Learn here
Please join us and share your support with Santa Monica City Council. Information, email addresses and templatecan be foundHERE.
Our Santa Monica streets are our largest public space, over 20% of our landmass, and one of our biggest assets. Our streets move people, goods, and services and are essential infrastructure for our economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial how we manage and use this public asset, an essential public safety function at the core of economic resilience, social equity, and environmental sustainability. The critical function of managing our streets is confirmed by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 that classified transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions.*
Movement of goods and services, customers or clients is critical to economic recovery. In the near-term, accommodating the movement of people and goods will need to be extremely dynamic to adapt to “the realities” of the post COVID-19 emergency. Efforts to rebound and support our local economy (businesses, employers, restaurants, retail shops, etc.) depend on maintaining and adjusting critical transportation infrastructure and services in real time, not on a delay of days or weeks due to insufficient staff.
Santa Monica’s Transportation Department pays for itself in revenue generation (grants, programs, plan check and permit fees). It operates signals and roads on which we all depend. Transportation work assures public safety and economic activity– providing essential fiber optic network infrastructure, signal timing with regular adjustments, and Opticom first-responder systems. Proactive maintenance of these systems ensures faster response to emergencies and responsive, timely data-driven decision-making.
These essential life saving functions are under threat with extreme plans to cut over half of the City Transportation and Mobility Division compared to 20-40% across other departments. While we can only imagine the stress and burden of decisions weighing on City Council, this level of cuts would severely impact basic public safety and infrastructure operation functions, wounding our city’s ability to rebound fiscally from the COVID-19 crisis. It is imperative to be strategic. We must consider the holistic dynamic relationships, dependencies and functions that contribute to safety, economic stability and regrowth. While the City suffers catastrophic shortfalls, we should not use a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed to balance new budgets. Council needs to take time to cut costs strategically, while maintaining essential staff that would facilitate a safe and secure path to economic recovery and resilience.
Transportation – Mobility – facilitates access to jobs, particularly for a local green economy, and access to education, childcare, culture, healthcare, food and services. Access is essential to all of Santa Monica’s residents, businesses, schools and visitors. Access is essential to our economic recovery. Santa Monica must have sufficient transportation staff capacity in order to maintain essential cost recovery services and retain competitiveness to identify new revenue opportunities. Mobility staff are crucial in the implementation of plans and permits to get the City back open for business.If we don’t take care of our transportation needs as we recover, we will quickly run into roadblocks to financial recovery. Multi-modal transportation infrastructure facilitates our community’s safety goals and environmentally sustainable mobility, and also creates revenue streams that ensure resources to manage this invaluable public asset necessary for a true economic recovery.
Transportation’s self-supporting, even revenue-producing function must retain capacity to be nimble to identify new and expanded revenue streams and other emerging opportunities for grant funds, as well as repackaging of projects to capture the stimulus funds that will certainly be coming for infrastructure post shelter in place orders. Budget concepts currently under consideration threaten Transportation staff’s capacity in two main ways and jeopardize years of future economic and environmental progress. First, excessive budget cuts would severely impact the City’s ability to maintain current essential operations that support short- and long-term economic recovery, and second, hasty cuts deteriorate the ability to capture new and emerging opportunities for revenue streams necessary to manage our roads, an important and valuable public asset. Unfortunately, ironically, the use of most of our valuable public land is given away for free! That is a mistake sabotaging our recovery. With staff capacity there are proven 21st-century solutions to get us to a speedy recovery.
In Santa Monica we get thousands of personal and business deliveries each day. Delivery services make no fiscal contribution to defray the cost to us of their impact on roadways, curbsides, sidewalks, or other infrastructure that they use to do business. With increasing market share, e-commerce, rideshare and delivery services are receiving an ever-increasing subsidy with the free use of this public asset. Simultaneously, they divert revenue from our local brick-and-mortar businesses. Council should direct staff to pursue tools, even a tax if needed, to have the biggest users pay their fair share, and to help manage control over local impacts.
Passenger and courier services are adding convenience at the cost of increased GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and traffic congestion with more VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and local trips — often with erratic driving behavior and dangerous maneuvering that adversely impact safety in our community. These services make money using our streets while diminishing our community’s safety. Council should strengthen our efforts to invest in strategic regional partnerships with LA to enable local fees that provide revenue to enhance safety and our ability to manage our assets locally.
Since California’s stay-at-home orders went into effect, Santa Monica’s streets have become increasingly deadly. Drivers are responding to open roads with increased speeding that endangers not only our physical safety but also our community’s wellbeing. With resources, Mobility staff can pull from a toolbox of approved mitigations and strategies to temper safety impacts as we rebound from shelter in place orders. As we emerge from this COVID-19 crisis, experts project increased traffic congestion, which has proven to have negative economic impacts and negative safety impacts. Such impacts are already being experienced in cities beginning their own recoveries. Reduced access to less frequent public transportation will temporarily remain due to the continuing need to maintain safe physical distance during recovery. Access to mobility options is crucial to our essential workforce and to our rebounding economically. Without mobility options, there will be increased single-car trips and traffic congestion choking off our economic recovery.
Giving up on our goals to reduce gridlock would harm our economy, our safety, and our environment. As we recover our economy, we need Council to fulfill its commitment to public safety with Vision Zero. We cannot abandon our City’s adopted goals even when facing catastrophic budget pressures. We must remain vigilant and committed to the ethos of Santa Monica, maintain staff capacity, and put into action creative solutions to curb unsafe behavior and to reinvest in programs vital in our path to economic recovery.
Santa Monica competes with other cities for regional, state and federal transportation dollars. Post crisis stimulus funds are anticipated for infrastructure. Applications will be increasingly competitive in the post crisis arena: staff must have capacity to be ready to capture funding opportunities. Cities that are prepared and well-positioned to receive these funds will, without doubt, perform better in economic recovery. Being ready means having shovel ready projects with continued investment in multi-modal street projects. Being ready means being competitive for securing these funds.
How we manage our streets – or ignore them – will move us either toward environmental justice, economic recovery and climate resiliency or away from those vital goals. A sophisticated multi-modal system of people, goods and services moving throughout the city contributes to growing a healthy economy while reducing the 64% of Santa Monica’s GHG emitted by fossil-fuel travel. We are at a momentous time to shift old habits and capitalize on previous fiscal, sustainability and climate investments and the momentum of productive programs underway. Programs that contribute to our economic resilience are integral to improving safety, community wellbeing, and meeting our local and state climate commitments. A community that is vibrant, safe and supporting environmental sustainability is one with a strong economic recovery.
Commitment to supporting equitable access is essential to Santa Monica’s recovery. Santa Monica’s staff manages critical transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions, which directly contribute capacity to healthy economic growth. Transportation infrastructure and planning services combined with multi-modal mobility are the very foundation of a thriving, resilient economy based on public safety, equity, and sustainability.
Let’s be strategic and lean on staff expertise for thoughtful “restructuring” that reduces costs and bureaucracy while retaining essential capacity that builds confidently on the foundation and programs that our public roadways and investments afford us as they advance us to a vibrant and full recovery.
Please join us at an Open House hosted by City of Santa Monica for the Stewart and Pennsylvania Avenue Bike and Pedestrian Improvement project. There are two dates you can attend, December 14th or December 18th. There is also an interactive map to review and provide comments online. We were excited to give input to help shape the project to date and look forward to community input to help further build a project that will best serve equitable mobility in a safer, healthy and active Santa Monica. Together we can create a safe and friendly community for everyone.
Project Goal: Walk & Bike Pedestrian improvements for Stewart and Pennsylvania Avenues
This project aims to make improvements that will connect local neighborhoods to transit facilities, bikeways, schools, parks, and employment opportunities. The Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), Bicycle Action Plan (BAP), Bergamot Area Plan, and Pedestrian Action Plan all identify Stewart Street and Pennsylvania Avenue to include safety enhancements for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. This project plans to implement those improvements.
Project Elements: • Add new sidewalks, and pedestrian scale lighting on Pennsylvania Avenue between 26th Street and Stewart Street. • Enhance bike facility to a protected bikeway on Stewart Street between Colorado Avenue and Kansas Avenue to accommodate riders of all ages and abilities. • Enhance intersections at Stewart/Nebraska and Colorado/Yale.
We encourage you to check out the interactive map to review the project and provide comment. Upcoming open house information session flyers: • Virginia Avenue Park Library Annex Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM • Edison Language Academy Wednesday, December 18, 2019 from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM