Category Archives: history

A View in the Rear View Mirror, Santa Monica Spoke

At this year’s LACBC Holiday Open House we had a slide show instead of the vision boards we assembled last year. LACBC and each Local Chapter contributed slides from this year along with a few of our favorite images. Each chapter was asked to contribute 5 slides.

Our 5 slides from the LACBC Open House Slide Show.

top: Community event SMMoA, right: Community Meeting with city staff & SMPD, bottom: Walk & Bike Audit gathering input for MANGo
Youth Bike Skills Festival at Mc Kinnley for Bike it Walk it Week
top: LACBC Sunday Funday Santa Monica up PCH to meet CalBike Surf & Turf Tour, right: Road side assistance at Tour da Arts Bike Event, bottom: Santa Monica Festival at Clover Park
top: new bike corrals on Main Street, right: Santa Monica’s first greet lanes on Ocean Park Blvd, bottom: Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community national designation by League of American Bicyclist
Kidical Mass is more than just a bike ride. A city that seeks to build safer streets to encourage families on bikes is safer for all road users.

Saturday Feb 9th! Find out what’s up – CELEBRATE BIKES

A full day: Food, Fun, Info, Music and Ice Cream?!IMG_0491-SQ
– Bike Action Plan Review and Forecast 2013
– New Project Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway
– Bike Parade to Grand Opening Ocean Park Blvd
Complete Green Street!

We’ve been hard at work coordinating this fun and informative bikey day! There will be lots of information to engage you while you have FUN and ENJOY the day with us. We need your input and support so COME OUT AND PLAY THIS SATURDAY!

Doors open at 11:00 with coffee and cinnamon rolls and lively discussion on our Bike Action Plan & exciting new projects.
At 12:00pm the pizza arrives and we get a very special presentation on our next big proposed project “The Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway”
At 1:30 we hop on our bikes for a bike parade over to the Grand Opening Party for the Ocean Park Blvd Complete Green Street at 2:00pm


Colorado Community Room,
502 Colorado,
Bike parking in the patio



11:00am      Doors open with coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls

Lets go for Platinum!

Lets go for Platinum!

11:15am       We are excited to once again have Lucy Dyke and City staff give us a review of the wonderful new bike projects and lanes stripped in 2012 and feedback and input from us as we look forward to what you want to see prioritized in 2013!
We have invited Santa Monica’s newest SMPD Bike liaison to be with us to participate and be available for discussions.
12:00pm      Pizza!
12:15pm      Settle in to hear about our exciting Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway! Jason Kligier will give us an over view on the ideas and potentials of AWESOME project and how we can help make it happen!
1:15pm        WE JUMP ON BIKES AND ROLL OUT AT 1:30pm. It’s time for the bike parade to the Grand Opening of the Ocean Park Blvd Complete Green Street, and beautiful GREEN BIKE LANES!.
2:00pm       We arrive at the Ocean Park Blvd Complete Green Street Grand Opening where we will celebrate and be treated to live jazz music and ice cream from the Peddlers Creamery. Ocean Park Blvd between 5th & 6th (in front of SMASH/John Muir Schools)

Free Bike Valet provided by the City of Santa Monica.



Ocean Park Blvd: More than just beautiful GREEN BIKE LANES

YES! The first “Green Bike Lanes” in Santa Monica are beautiful but Ocean Park Blvd is much more than just green paint.

Ocean Park Blvd from Neilson Way to Lincoln Blvd has been turned into a “Complete Green Street”. Upon completion it will be the longest complete green street in Santa Monica and one of the longest in Southern California.
Let’s start with the obvious, these green lanes are gorgeous!

Ocean Park Blvd Green Street

Click image for photo gallery

However, green lanes alone wouldn’t be enough to transform this once wide auto-centric street if other aspects of the boulevard hadn’t also been addressed, so let’s go back. From what I gather this project has a history that dates back to 1993. Yup that is a LONG time ago. Initiated by the Ocean Park Association (OPA) with lofty goals to improve walkability, calm traffic and make Ocean Park Blvd more of a neighborhood street. Before “Green” or “Complete Streets” started gaining world wide acceptance as a way to improve livability in our cities and neighborhoods this group was already looking at the environment and towards sustainability with an interest in making the street a watershed and a green street. Robert Taylor, a Santa Monica architect, and countless others participated and led the community based effort for many years. What you see going in on Ocean Park Blvd today is the result of that group’s imageable plan that served as the basis for the City’s later efforts as the project moved forward. A plan emerged that not only gained consensus in the community but met Santa Monica’s evolving green streets and storm water retention program goals. These are now prominently joined with multi-modal goals outlined in the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) and the Bicycle Action Plan (adopted Nov 2011). Central to the principals outlined in the LUCE, a “Complete Green Street”  is one that is

Ocean Park Blvd Green Lane pedestrian scaled, landscaped to provide shade and canopy, conserves water and reduces urban run-off, calms traffic, and provides for all modes of travel including pedestrian, bicycle, automobile, and public transit. The project demonstrates the commitment we see in Santa Monica to prioritize non-motorized travel, and increasing the size and biodiversity of the urban forest. While beautiful, the project also plays a key roll by contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and increased carbon dioxide (CO2) capture.
A win win in my book.

The design objective of this “Complete” Green Street is to gain a better performing, enhanced streetscape environment that is pedestrian and bicycle orientated, attractive, green and provides several environmental benefits such as capturing and preventing significant urban run-off from reaching Santa Monica Bay. Incorporating storm water bioswales and underground bioretention chambers along with storm drain improvements the project will capture 55 acres of watershed and significantly reduce unwanted run-off by instead infiltrating it into the ground water. Peter James who was and still is the City’s project manager for the Ocean Park Boulevard Green Street is credited for “really pushing this thing harder than anybody”. Lets look at what ended up in the project (besides the beautiful green lanes).

From the project web site Ocean Park Boulevard Green Street
To achieve these goals the key project elements include:

  • - Wider sidewalks.
  •  - Parkway/storm water biofilter swales and infiltration areas, and a drip irrigation system.
  •  - Over 100 new trees, new landscaping, and medians.
  •  - New marked crosswalks with enhanced overhead flashing beacons.
  •  - More visible, painted bike lanes and traffic striping, new bike racks.
  •  - Street furniture, trash and recycling cans, and 75 pedestrian-scaled light poles.
  •  - Traffic signal improvements.
  •  - Los Amigos Park storm drain improvements.

This project is most certainly a vision for change, it clearly demonstrates how streets designed for automobiles can be transformed into inviting and livable urban landscapes. This Ocean Park Boulevard “Complete” Green Street can serve as a model for future green street projects like Broadway, the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway and even Lincoln Blvd . For this the City must not only continue its commitment to the principles in the LUCE but also allocate funding needed if we are to re-envision our streets as beautiful public spaces that serve all users,  residents and visitors. We can and must affect the change we want to see.

Construction started in December of 2011 and is quickly reaching completion.
Save the date February 9th, we are currently working with OPA and the City to celebrate this grand street with a ribbon cutting.

Ocean Park Blvd, Green Lanes in progress

Additional Info:

I’ve seen project construction cost listed from 3.8 to 4.4 million with the funding for the project made possible through a combination of resources, including Measure V (the Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax), Proposition 1B, Proposition C, and the City’s General Fund.

This project has a long list of talents that have contributed:

Mollenhauer Group Fehr and Peers Kimley-Horn and Associates Urban Studio  Lawrence Moss and Associates,
Designed by John Kaliski Architects, City of Santa Monica project manager Peter James

Many thanks to all the visionaries at City of Santa Monica, the Ocean Park Association and the community that really brought this dream to reality.

Some Santa Monica Bicycle History

by Michael Cahn

Paul Leaf: Painting Bike Lanes on the Canvas of the Street in 1970’s Santa Monica

We found Paul Leaf because he raised his voice in a letter to the editor in the SMDP. He worries that people are not riding safely on their bikes. Track bikes on Main Street make him shake his head, cycling is not about fashion, it is about operating your vehicle safely. Sitting badly and uncomfortable is never a good start. Bike shops should offer bike fitting for every bike they sell, and cyclist should be educated to understand how important proper bike fitting is. Ted Ernst from Manhattan Beach, he was very focused on fit, and he speaks German.

Paul came to Santa Monica in about 1975. He came from New York, where he discovered Central Park as a cycling oasis. New York’s John Lindsay and his parks commissioner Thomas Hoving initiated a weekend ban on automobiles in Central Park in 1966 —a policy that has staid in place since. Today we would call this Ciclovia: A large area in an urban environment where bikes reign. Things were happening in New York: Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic on Sundays beginning on Earth Day 1970, and the first bus lanes in the country were built there.

For the young man from New York who loved his bikes, who went to art school in Stuttgart, this experience was important. When he came to Santa Monica, with a bike and a Olivetti typewriter, he got involved in local politics: There was renters rights, and he went on to establish the Santa Monica Arts Commission and served on its board for many years: They put on Ballet on the Beach, Shakespeare on the Pier, and the iconic Chain Reaction in front of RAND, sponsored by the widow of McDonald’s fast food empire. The Art and Design program at Santa Monica College was established.

That was the time of Bikecology on 28th and Wilshire, in the old Bekin’s Building before they moved to 1515 Wilshire, and before it turned Supergo and before it went Performance. Paul was fired up to bring the New York experience to Santa Monica: Central Park bicycle paradise on weekends translated onto the West coast as – bike lanes for every day. The hope was a that strip of paint on the road could recreate the car-free experience of Central Park on weekends. Only an art student who trained with Willi Baumeister and Fritz Winter could pull this off: The street was his canvas, and the bike lane was his stroke. A petition was crafted and circulated at Bikecology and yielded 500 signatures, requesting the council to paint bike lanes. Mayor Jim Conn, the famous pastor from Ocean Park, received the petition. The first bike lane went down on San Vicente. Sadly, the strip of paint has not been able to reproduce the full hit of street ownership that New York’s Central Park offered cyclist every weekend, but those vehicular cyclists who are critical of bike lanes should remember that these humble strips of paint were a little revolution when they first appeared.

Paul was part of the racing scene in Santa Monica back when cycling jerseys and shorts could be mistaken as a Halloween costume. Every Sunday morning the Trancas Death Ride departed from the pier going all the way to El Matador Beach, past Malibu. Victor was already building frames on Ocean Park Ave. Paul was also a Board Member of Co-Opportunity, and as an annual community service he offered bicycle instruction for the clients at the supermarket. The best ride in Santa Monica is still Ocean Avenue, up San Vicente, around the Golf Course, and down again. He rode De Rosa & Colnago: but you would not ride a fixed gear on the street. The CAMPAGNOLO logo still clearly visible on his right leg, just above the sock, firmly tattooed into his skin. That gave a lot of street cred back then. He once had a blow-out coming down a canyon. Another accident happened when this mother unloaded the baby from the car, kicking open the car door right into his path. Paul did 8000 miles a year, raced for Marina del Rey Cycling Club and was a member of USCF. After all these miles, a sore back and a dodgy hip have brought an end to riding. The bikes have been sold, but he clearly sees the need to educate cyclists so that they can have a positive experience on the road.


Today Paul looks back on many years of IMDB credits. He directed his own play “Mutiny at Port Chicago” at Santa Monica’s Ruskin Theater at the Airport.