Santa Monica Workshop Shows Support for Bike/Ped and Transit

sm_alex.jpg
Bike Suggestion Board at Santa Monica Transportation Plan Meeting

Reports out of Santa Monica on the public meetings for Shape the Future 2025, a Land Use and Transportation Master Plan, continue to be encouraging. The Santa Monica Mirror reported last week that the March 1st meeting was well attended and that attendees asked for better bike, pedestrian and transit facilities.

Feedback showed that residents want: more balance between the fulfillment of commercial and residential needs, a bigger role for bicycling in the community, the creation of walking routes and maps of those routes, more safety concerns addressed with better lighting at night and better walking surfaces, widening of sidewalks, pedestrian links over freeways, transit maps and information at bus shelters, more local shuttles, alternative-fueled vehicles and temporary car use (flex cars), and ideas about how to manage parking (some favor fees, some don't).

Alex Thompson, of the Santa Monica Bikerowave and Westside Bikeside, attended the meetings and wrote about it at Westside Bikeside.

Thomspon loved the city's focus on better bike planning, but is worried that without specifics the city will balk when it comes time to fund and implement the plan. Thompson also worried about the effects some changes to the parking policy will have on the city. In particular, there were two changes that caused concern:

Increase on street parking by converting parallel parking to angled parking:

The last thing we need is more street parking. If Santa Monica's goal is "no net new auto trips" then why create more parking? FAIL. Furthermore, as bad as parallel parking is, angled parking is worse. Go ride Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills for an example. Try not to die. Angled parking destroys sight lines so that you can't see motorists, and motorists can't see you, so they pull out and hit you.

Parking fees are used to pay for constructing more parking:

There's a solar power concept called the breeder factory. A breeder factory uses the power of solar cells to manufacture more solar cells, as if the cells are breeding. Do we really want parking to breed? As an abuse of public space we should be asking that parking fees pay for positive improvements.

Thompson's last criticism is for the Shape the Future website. He argues that both the design and the frequency with which the site is updated need improvement. In February less than 20 people per day visited the Shape the Future site.

Photo: Alex Thompson