After a long and drawn out process, the LUCE, several years late, which will set the priorities for city planning for Santa Monica for decades to come, is nearing completion and is expected to be voted on and passed this summer. If you want to get caught up on what this whole thing is about, a public presentation and workshop is being held tomorrow night. It will have far reaching repercussions for everyone in the city, and includes a lot of transportation policy changes that will effect cycling. I think with any of these public gatherings that discuss transportation and land use policy, it's beneficial to have a strong contingent of cyclists present to make it clear we are a constituency that is paying attention. Since this process also started long before I was really getting into local politics, I'd also like to get caught up with everything.
The document has it's flaws however, such as weak goals. The often spoke of "No Net New Evening Peak Period Vehicle Trips", a goal called aggressive in the planning document, sounds nice on the surface, lets keep traffic from getting worse, but is it really ambitious? Anyone who's been in Santa Monica during peak traffic times knows you couldn't fit that many more car trips if you tried, that is unless you started turning neighborhood streets into mini-freeways. Santa Monica Blvd. and Lincoln Blvd., both designed for high capacity and faster travel speeds, at peak times are so packed with cars they move slower than someone out for a jog. The 10 freeway at rush hour isn't much faster than that, as Crimanimalz showed when cyclists, and even in-line skaters, were beating freeway traffic. The goal should be to reduce the number of car trips, anything less is weak, and essentially saying well maybe it won't get any worse. The New York DOT sets the bars high, higher than traffic engineers would like, and it is those lofty ambitions that have produced real results in changing the streetscape.
Draft Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) Presentation:
April 7th at 6:30PM at Lincoln Middle School located at 1501 California Avenue