Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Council Approves Two Expo-Related Projects|
By Jonathan Friedman
February 27, 2015 -- The plan for an Expo transfer station at Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica received a bad reception at the November City Council meeting as brining too much congestion to the area. A revised plan received a much better reception on Tuesday, and was approved 6 to 0 with little discussion.
Also at the meeting, the council approved some adjustments to the area near the future 17th Street/Santa Monica College Expo station, including making a portion of 16th Street a one-way road.
The Fourth/Colorado plan calls for temporary changes, and the council authorized a contract with the consultant AECOM for an analysis of the area for a long-term project. This could include realigning the Fourth Street/I-10 off-ramp with Olympic Drive
Scott Schonfeld, owner of a building in the area, said the off-ramp project was important.
"It will have very positive, immediate impacts on traffic in the downtown by diverting cars away from Fourth and Colorado and Fifth and Colorado by giving them the ability to continue straight onto Olympic Drive," he said.
Councilmember Terry O’Day called the off-ramp realignment "the critical piece of this plan," and said he would like to hear from City staff at a future meeting on how to "prioritize that work and how to fund or accelerate it."
Councilmember Ted Winterer spoke about capping the freeway, a plan pushed more than 15 years ago by former Mayor Michael Feinstein.("Council Explores Big Plans for Civic Center," March 26, 2009).
But there is currently no funding for the project, according to City officials. .City Attorney Marsha Moutrie said Winterer could not talk about it in-depth because it was not on the agenda.
He later said, in giving direction to City staff, that in doing the long-term planning, “we don’t do anything that precludes the possibility of freeway capping in the future and that we also contemplate doing so when we have the funds."
The plan approved for Fourth/Colorado is a two-phase project, with the first part slated to be completed in time for the opening of the light rail service next year.
Featured in the first phase are two bus pads on Fifth Street, an asphalt “upper lot” with ten 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 features an asphalt “lower lot,” a ramp and 30 parking spaces.
The plan approved for 16th Street includes converting it into a one-way, northbound road from Olympic Boulevard to Colorado Avenue and adding angled-metered parking spaces.
Short-term parking for drop-off and loading for the nearby Expo station was added to the west side of the street to prevent people from being dropped off on 17th Street and harming traffic flow.
This plan is also a temporary measure and could be changed when the Memorial Park Neighborhood Plan is finalized.
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