You Want Safety? You Got It…in Santa Monica

Yes, while CD1’s Gil Cedillo utters his blandly-crafted platitudes about”safety” while undermining an FHWA-approved safety project on North Fig, Santa Monica gets down to the nitty-gritty of making life better—and longer—for all its residents and visitors.

That city’s Main Street was put on a road diet long ago, with bike lanes providing high-protein nutrition in place of the empty calories of car traffic. The program has worked wonderfully: I remember years ago when Main Street was just a few dull blocks to pass through on your way to the Third Street Promenade.

Now, Main Street thrives, sidewalks and storefronts alike packed with happy strolling throngs eager to spend time and money on the most pleasant four blocks in LA County. Bikes are parked everywhere, in sidewalk racks as well as the once-a-week free bike valet that serves the farmers market, and they spin happily down the bike lanes that line the street. Car and bus traffic continues as well, and I haven’t noticed any of the numerous establishments that get my cash there running out of supplies because of a lack of truck access.

Nor has emergency access been compromised: in fact, it’s been enhanced, as when the sirens sound, the motorists can edge into the bike lanes and make room for even the biggest of fire trucks. Not that you see them much anymore: road diets make for fewer crashes, so the paramedics tend to get bored….

But Santa Monica never quite stays still, unlike LA with its stick-in-the-mud city council. Look closely at the photo: you will see the ghost of an older bike lane, which was removed…to be replaced with a wider, safer one. With a door zone buffer!

And the narrower mixed-traffic lanes reduce peak speeds a little further, making for a safer street, and one that is easier to park cars on.

Just as it ought to be. North Fig could be prosperous, lively, and safe as well—but it remains a deadly speedway killing residents and businesses alike.

Yet it coulda been a contender….

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One Comment

  1. Posted July 27, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Here in Beverly Hills, our transportation officials have never given a thumbs-up to pro-bike facilities, and, when given the chance back in January, put their fat thumb on the scale by recommending AGAINST striping bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard.

    The top transportation official in Beverly Hills? Santa Monica resident Susan Healy Keene, chair of the Community Development Dept (which handles so-called ‘transportation planning’). I bet she loves the complete streets improvements and bicycle lanes ’round her home city, though lifts no finger here to roll out zebra crosswalks and durable thermoplastic markings on streets that she’s employed to make safe.