Life in Santa Monica is awesome. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Third Street Promenade. From sunbathing to Mikhail Baryshnikov live at The Broad Stage.
We get to experience many different cultures in our little city by the bay thanks to our selection of restaurants and nightclubs. I’m often asked by tourists for ideas on what to do in this city. This past Saturday, I was in the hot tub at the Loews Hotel and there were a couple of guys in from Milwaukee.
Being kid-free for the weekend they wanted to do whatever “crazy” stuff they could find. I pointed them in the direction of Chez Jay’s for the classic steaks and martinis or 41 Ocean for some ceviche and dinner then over to Harvelles for jazz and blues. I suggested they go biking the next day down the famous beach bike path and explained to them the green zones around town.
It’s a good thing that the city created the green bike lanes with that bright paint to alert the riders and the drivers to where they belong. I’m mostly in favor of the idea, just not so fond of the implementation. It seems to me that the city has overdone the painting and the striping. Driving down Broadway is starting to feel like being in a game of Chutes and Ladders with the green zones, the bus zones and the construction zones.
When Lincoln Boulevard was shut down last week the overflow of the traffic was a bit maddening, although the Santa Monica Police Department did a great job of having live traffic officers on site to direct traffic which seems to be more effective than the reliance upon electronic signals.
The ability of our police department to react to situations proves to me that there is a method to the madness, and given time and resources they do a good job generally. There are other departments though which seem to be a bit overzealous in their efforts to regulate behavior of our citizenry.
I give you the following situation: Pico Boulevard between 14th and 12th streets has red zones painted to alert drivers where they may or may not park their cars. Now, in general, this is normal and there is a certain logic to the painting which delineates where one is legally or illegally parked so that the appropriate ticket may be issued.
Then there are those spots that have been painted which frankly seem like they were painted solely to keep the painters working and increasing their hourly billings. It reminds me of the summer I worked for the Malden Public Works Department in Massachusetts. We did a lot of busy work to make sure that everyone was paid enough.
My concern today with the city of Santa Monica is that on the northwest corner of Euclid Street and Pico Boulevard is a streetlamp just out front of Santa Monica Autoworks. There is a red zone which seems, to my mind, to be totally unnecessary. It is approximately 7 feet of red paint that serves no real purpose. In the 14 years I’ve worked across the street, I’ve never seen anyone parked there, or even try to park there.
It is oddities like that which make me wonder who is making the decisions in this town. Maybe there’s a valid reason for it. Maybe there is in fact a long line of illegal parkers who were abusing the “free” parking available on a 7 foot curved section of sidewalk.
But I don’t think so.
I think someone just went overboard and got a little paint happy. Is this a big thing? Not really. When you consider the real things going on in the world that are true disasters like overturned Korean ferries, massacres in Egypt and that still going environmental nightmare known as Fukushima which for some strange reason the Japanese refuse to admit is a problem and ask for help; the errant painting of a sidewalk is of no consequence.
My point is this: our city is getting more and more congested, we have more lines painted on the streets, and more rules and regulations imposed upon us for the orderly living of life all for valid reasons which are making us into a Chutes and Ladders city. Can’t we try to reduce the un-necessary painting?
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.