Impending changes to the base of the Santa Monica Pier the Pier bridge have caused the Santa Monica Conservancy to take action to preserve the structures as they are, staging a demonstration called “#ThisPlaceMatters” to be held Friday, June 15 at 11 a.m. in hopes of the city finding alternative plans for the park and bridge.

“The purpose of the demonstration is to make sure that the public is aware of how important this resource is, to the city’s culture and history” Carol Lemlein, president of the Santa Monica Conservancy said in a phone call with the Daily Press. “We want to raise awareness to the threat this historical site faces.”

Late 2017, the city and Caltrans released a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment with three proposals to replace the Santa Monica Pier Bridge on Colorado Avenue due to the bridge not being seismically safe or ADA compliant.

Aside from replacing the 1939-built bridge, two of three proposals found in the assessment call for a vehicular-access bridge along Moss Avenue which would affect the area at the base of the pier known as Carousel Park, removing “some play features” of the park, eventually restoring them. Another proposal would reconstruct the area in a different site of the pier altogether, neither plan pleasing the Conservancy.

“We are totally supportive of having a bridge that’s seismically safe and totally supportive of facilitating disabled access to the pier,” Ruth Lehrer, board member on the Conservancy said. “None of these are within conflict of the solution.”

Lehrer says the Conservancy’s preferred alternative is to retrofit the existing bridge in the same dimensions and have its use be for pedestrians and bicyclists, delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, and restrict car access to parking on the pier.

“Leave Carousel Park intact. There is existing ADA access at the park, there’s just a lack of signage to show that.”

The Conservancy plans to have a mass gathering at Carousel Park (the space adjacent to the Hippodrome) for a group photo and will use the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters to spread awareness of the park, hoping to spark an effort to give the bridge and park protection through a landmark ordinance.

“A landmark ordinance would give a level of protection and raise significance in consideration of the future the pier and what impacts proposals can have. We hope that recognition will encourage finding a solution to the issues of the bridge. We just don’t want to lose any more of Santa Monica.”

angel@smdp.com

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