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Beverly Hills News – Public Invited to Weigh In On Santa Monica Blvd. Reconstruction Traffic At Meetings Tonight and Thursday

Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 – 1:30 PM

By Victoria Talbot

The Traffic & Parking Commission is seeking public input on the City’s traffic mitigation proposals for the reconstruction of North Santa Monica Boulevard.

The meetings will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the Municipal Gallery at City Hall, 455 N. Rexford Dr.

The project will address the century-old drainage system between Doheny Drive and Wilshire Boulevard and the roadway alignment.

The meeting format will include a 30-minute “open house” to provide basic information on the project from the project team, followed by a presentation and public comment. Options for mitigation include measures to prevent traffic diversion to residential streets and ways to maintain access to the business triangle from South Santa Monica Boulevard through parking changes.

Many cycling enthusiasts regularly appear at meetings to express their support for bike lanes on North Santa Monica Boulevard. Councilmembers support bike lanes but they are divided on the safety of bike lanes on North Santa Monica Boulevard. Bike lanes are part of the larger conversation regarding traffic mitigation and safety concerns with bikes on North Santa Monica Boulevard. South Santa Monica Boulevard may be safer, as most of the traffic is local, vs. drive-through traffic, as on North Santa Monica Boulevard.

One proposal includes removal of metered parking on the north, south, or both sides of the street to create a bike lane, and then re-striping the Santa Monica Five parking structures to add more spaces to make up for some of the lost parking.

The City will later decide if additional meetings are required. With the construction, pointed out Councilmember Willie Brien, the City has the opportunity to look at several options while they consider the future flow of traffic and pedestrians through the City.

In a meeting July 9, the City Council supported a plan to create swales, gentle slopes landscaped into drought-tolerant grasses amidst storm runoff, as natural water treatment systems at various locations on the north side of the street between the sidewalk and the curb in Beverly Gardens Park, incorporating the best “green street” practices and infrastructure to comply with urban runoff water quality regulations. A “Low Impact Development” (LID) infrastructure, swales minimize runoff volume, collect rainwater, treat it, and allow it to infiltrate into the ground and replenish the aquifer.

The feedback will be reviewed by the Traffic and Parking Commission and brought back to City Council to make the final determinations as to what traffic mitigations shall be employed for the duration of the project. The Santa Monica Boulevard Reconstruction Project is anticipated to commence in spring 2016, taking about two years to complete.

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