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Build Housing for Locals, Not Parking for Visitors
March 5, 2007
Frank Gruber wrote, regarding the city's plan to construct new parking structures on Fifth Street:
"As if we know, with traffic the way it is, that more regional customers will brave the east-west congestion and use the parking spaces, or as if we want the traffic that 1,000 new parking spaces could entice."
That's exactly correct.
Let's analyze that for a moment. If we suppose that each new parking space turns over, say four times a day, these new parking spaces would likely generate at least 8,000 car trips a day beyond what we have currently (one each way, per car space turn-over).
Has anybody at City Hall seriously looked at the impact these 8,000 additional daily car trips would have on the downtown area? The resulting gridlock alone would be enough to scare people away. A single attempted visit to downtown Santa Monica would be enough to prevent any future trips, and a lost customer is not easy to regain; just see what happened with Westwood Village.
Would it not be far better to build urban housing on these lots, with retail, cafes, and places where local people actually want to spend their time and money? Isn't it better to build up the city with things local people want and use?
Frank Gruber speaks the truth here; I just wish somebody at City Hall was listening.
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