Whose Traffic Is It Anyway?
City Hall’s latest traffic expert, Jeffrey Tumlin, talks faster than traffic moves in Santa Monica. And he’s very emphatic.
He has stated categorically that, no matter what we do, we are
oomed to suffer a certain amount of traffic congestion forever, because the region is chronically clogged..
L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents West L.A. and lives in Mar Vista, disagrees. He recently said that every day 200,000 cars roll through his neighborhood on their way to Santa Monica.
Mar Vista, a bedroom community unsullied by commerce, is located just across Bundy from the Santa Monica Airport and Santa Monica College’s Bundy campus.
Several years ago, Mar Vista residents organized and, since then, have regularly protested the insults our airport visits on them — the pollutants and head-splitting noise, along with the perpetual threat of a deescalating plane crash in their midst.
Now, as Rosendahl sees it, we’re adding insults to insults, choking Mar Vista’s otherwise serene and empty streets, as well as its air. Can formal protests be far behind?
Tumlin is from San Francisco, and can possibly be excused for buying City Hall’s self-serving rationale for the traffic mess (“They did it.”)
In fact, City Hall did it. And is still doing it. One of the so-called principles of the revision of the land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE) is that new development will not result in new car trips.
In fact, the City’s aggressive economic development policies of the last two decades – the creation of the “tourist mecca” and “the regional commercial hub,” the tarting up of Third Street and the Santa Monica Pier, and the multi-million-dollar annual promotion budgets — have increased City Hall revenues, but they have also dented this iconic beach town and triggered the traffic jam that is holding us hostage.
At 10,000 residents per square mile, Santa Monica is one of the most densely populated towns in Southern California. However, the City now estimates that the daily transient population is 300,000 on weekdays and 500,000 on weekends, which makes it the most densely populated town in America.
Yet even now as the planners promise no new car trips, City Hall’s economic development squad is preparing to pump up the new downtown district (see story below) order to maintain its “ competitive advantage” over The Grove, Century City and the Westside Pavilion.
Among the planned “improvements” is “enhanced promotion,” which means more car trips.
No new car trips? New car trips?
A Chinese curse is apropos: may we live in interesting times.