There Goes The Incline

The City of Santa Monica, in cooperation with Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration, is, in its words. “proposing to reconstruct the structurally deficient California Incline to meet current seismic standards.”

The City has scheduled a community workshop on ednesday, June 20, to explain its plans, discuss the recently completed draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment, and hear from residents.

The incline descends from the intersection of Ocean and California Avenues at the top of the Palisades Bluffs to Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1 (SR-1).

The City wants to demolish the existing roadway and construct a new one at the same location.

The new incline – one northbound lane and two southbound lanes — would be about 750 feet long and, again, in the City’s words, “consist of a reinforced concrete slab structure with spans on the order of 44 feet. Overall width of the new incline would be 51 feet 8 inches, an increase of 5 feet 8 inches over the existing structure. The three 12-foot-wide vehicular lanes would be maintained; the proposed improvements would be designed to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists. Construction would also require the reconstruction of the upper and lower approaches to the California Incline at Ocean Avenue and SR-1, respectively.

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Nightmare On the Way

The more Environmental Impact Reports we read, the more convinced we are that the people who write them live in some sort of rose-colored bubble.

Whoever wrote the draft EIR on the California Incline cited in the preceding article cannot have spent any time here or he/she/they could not have stated so emphatically and cheerfully that shutting down the California Incline for 10 months (real time = 14 to 18 months) would cause only minor traffic disruptions.

According to these descendants of Dr. Pangloss, City Hall will develop a “traffic plan,” and traffic will be “monitored,” and Lincoln and Ocean Street will be clearly designated detours, and northbound drivers will be advised to leave the 10 Freeway at Lincoln or Fourth…

AND it will be a bloody nightmare! For Santa Monica and Santa Monica Canyon residents and any unfortunate driver who finds himself in this latest traffic snarl.

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Council Delays SMMUSD Allocation

Everything suggested that last Thursday night’s Santa Monica City Council meeting would be relatively short and simple.

It was the final of three fiscal year 2007-2008 budget study sessions, and most of the heavy lifting had been taken care of at the Tuesday and Wednesday night sessions.

Priorities had been set. All of the City department reports on past projects and plans for the coming year had been made by staff and amended, in some cases, by Council members.

The controversy over the confidentiality agreement that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s chief financial officer, Winston Braham, had signed on resigning seemed to have subsided.

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Gag Orders Should Go

EDITORIAL

At last Thursday night’s Santa Monica City Council meeting (see Council Delays SMMUSD Allocation), Council members spent several hours debating whether it’s within the Council’s purview to ask the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education to rescind the gag orders that have been imposed on parents of children with special needs who have made agreements with the District separate from Federally-protected Individualized Education Plans.

Mayor Pro Tem Herb Katz and Council member Bobby Shriver believe that the gag orders should be rescinded before the Council approves the full $7.2 million allocation that City staff has recommended be paid to the District.

Other Council members disagreed, apparently siding with Ken Genser’s assertion that the Council has neither the authority nor the right to set or change District policy.

We agree with Katz and Shriver.

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Memorial Day 2007

On this overwhelmingly sad Memorial Day, we mourn the 3,455 American troops who have been killed and the more than 25,000 troops who have been wounded in the Iraqi war, along with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens who have died in the inferno their nation has become.

This very unmerry month of May is already the deadliest month in two and a half years, with 101 troops dead now and four days to go.

The Iraqi war has gone on longer than World War II, and we still don’t know why we’re there.

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