Monday, August 22, 2011

Santa Monica Draft Bike Action Plans Goes to Council For Input Tommorow Evening

As you may have read if you follow my column for Santa Monica Patch, or my Twitter feed, the Santa Monica Bike Action plan is in the home stretch and a complete draft (warning: large pdf file) is now available. The council will be giving input tomorrow, and if all goes well, this will kick off the final round of the plan going around to commissions before a final vote adopting the plan. For more reaction on the how the bike plan is shaping up, Mihai Peteu has his enthusiastic take on the plan over at Bikeside.

The public portion of the meeting begins at City Hall Tuesday August 23rd 6:30pm, and Item 4A is the bike plan discussion.

Another notable item of interest on tomorrow night's agenda includes authorizing the City Manager to move forward with relinquishment of Lincoln Boulevard, a long awaited change that would hand over responsibility of the entirety of Lincoln Blvd. within Santa Monica, to the City of Santa Monica. Much of which is currently operated by Caltrans. This will allow for repaving, re-striping (The LUCE calls for a peak hour bus lane), possible sidewalk improvements among other things. Major changes are probably a long ways off, and there will be a public input process for what the community wants out of a new Lincoln Blvd. The first step in taming Lincoln into a more humanized landscape is getting it out of the hands of Caltrans, an agency which seems only capable of making things ugly and automobile oriented, with their signature mounds of misshapen asphalt, frequent curb cuts, blank slabs of concrete and chain link fence decor.

Also up is the return of the Hines Development seeking to redevelop the currently inactive property on Olympic Blvd. directly across from the future Expo station stop at the Bergamot Art Center. This development will be a big test of how we move forward with transit oriented development in the city, and with it's close proximity to what will be a future rail and bike corridor, it's critical we get this right. Santa Monica Spoke has been involved in recommending changes, particularly in their plans for bike parking accommodations, which we felt were very lacking in the previous iteration. The staff report indicates the street through access may not be wide enough to accommodate bike lanes along with side street parking and calls for a wider width, so that is something that will have to be looked at more closely. Things overall certainly are looking better than the last time I saw the project, and many of the biggest points of contentions have been  addressed, such as the two building in the center which were too similar in form and corporate block style and the open space in the project is more engaging.

The project is still in the "float up" stages, and Santa Monica's signature lengthy staff report of urban form critique, calls for further changes, but hopefully a great project design can eventually be agreed to and put in motion in time to coincide with the Expo-line opening. The building currently occupying the site is one giant run down looking mega length building, with no sidewalks on Olympic, and non-ADA compliant sidewalks on 26th.

For the full agenda check out the city website here.

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