“I never thought I would be happy to see a parking meter,” quipped Councilmember Lili Bosse. James Anderton, owner of the boutique WEST (pictured above with Bosse), agreed. Every meter was full Thursday morning, and shops on the south side of South Santa Monica Boulevard were as well. Anderton, the unofficial spokesperson for the merchants on the south side of the street, closed his shop on several occasions to attend Traffic and Parking Commission meetings to repeatedly ask for the meters to be replaced. When the City covered them at the onset of the North Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction nearly two years ago, the merchants held onto the promise that they would be returned. But City staff said that there was no concrete evidence that the parking affected retail sales, and promoted a plan that would have smoothed traffic without parking on the south side. Bosse, however, visited every merchant on the south side and reported back to her colleagues regarding their plight, resulting in a reassessment of the street not as a thoroughfare – but as a local shopping and pedestrian-friendly area. The City will soon be installing “scramble” crosswalks at Rodeo, Bedford and Camden Drives to encourage safer pedestrian use and add diagonal crossing options.
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