By Jonathan Friedman
February 20, 2015 -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider two projects that are in different sections of Santa Monica, but both are near future Expo light rail stations.
One project features the development of a City-owned property at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue and the other involves transforming a portion of 16th Street near Memorial Park into a one-way road.
The 4th/Colorado project is a revised proposal, coming nearly three months after the council rejected a previous concept for a bus transfer station as one that would bring more congestion to an already congested area (See “Santa Monica Transfer Station Sent Back to the Drawing Board,”December 2, 2014).
After the late November council meeting, City staff came up with two reduced-sized versions of the project. This was followed by meetings with various “stakeholders,” and then a hybrid plan was developed.
The new plan calls for a two-phase project, with phase one being completed in time for the opening of the light rail service next year.
Featured in the first phase are two bus pads on 5th Street, an asphalt “upper lot” with 10 parking spaces, two spots for shuttles that can transfer people to the nearby Expo station and six spaces for cars to drop people off.
The second phase would include an asphalt “lower lot,” a ramp and 30 parking spaces.
As with the previous proposal, this is only a plan for a temporary project. City staff is working on a long-term plan for the property.
“The long term analysis will consider additional uses within a transit-oriented development and address issues such as 4th Street access, future City and [Big Blue Bus] operational needs, interface with adjacent sites and the cost/benefit analysis for the relocation of the 4th Street freeway off-ramp,” Planning Director David Martin wrote in the report to the council.
The plan for 16th Street would make it a one-way, northbound road from Olympic Boulevard to Colorado Avenue.
One reason for this plan, Martin wrote, is that 16th Street will soon have limited use in the area because the future 17th Street/Santa Monica College Expo station will sit on a large portion of Colorado Avenue between 15th Court and 17th Street.
“The siting of the station and its access ramps will effectively block 16th Street to northbound movements at Colorado Avenue, and will restrict access for users traveling west down Colorado Avenue,” Martin wrote.
He added, “The conversion of the street to one-way also would provide the opportunity to meet community expectations to locate additional parking and drop-off space for Memorial Park users as well as drop-off and pick-up at the 17thStreet/SMC Expo Station.”