MICHIGAN AVE — Cyclists are on the verge of scoring some major upgrades.
City Council will take a look at the plans for a major bike route in Santa Monica from the incoming Expo Light Rail’s Bergamot Station to the Santa Monica Pier.
Council will only consider funding of one part of the route Tuesday night, a section around Santa Monica High School. The rest of the route will be funded over the next eight years and beyond.
City planners studied the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGO) with a grant from Caltrans.
One aspect of that plan, which would include traffic diverters at 11th Street on Michigan Avenue, has stirred some controversy in the Pico Neighborhood — where a majority of the route runs — since it passed through Planning Commission last year. These diverters would restrict turns.
One faction of the Pico Neighborhood Association favors the diverters while another opposes it. These groups performed separate surveys about the diverters and came back with opposite results, city planners said.
As a compromise, planners recommend the traffic diverters being in place only during rush hours. During weekends and off-hours, car access would be allowed.
A cycle track, only for bikes, was originally proposed but was removed for the council proposal because residents were unhappy about the possibility of losing parking on Michigan Avenue.
The route will protect bikers and pedestrians through enhanced lighting, crosswalks, additional landscaping, sharrows, traffic circles, chicanes and slow-movement intersections.
While the project is largely unfunded at the moment, a connector to Samohi got an $880,000 Safe Routes to School grant, which requires a $100,000 City Hall match.
This will likely be the first part of the greenway to be constructed.
City planners are recommending one-way traffic for sections of Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street.
“A change in the flow of vehicles would allow continuation of the existing drop-off and pick-up locations here, while reducing the number of students crossing midblock in front of vehicles and across on-coming traffic,” planners said.
Michigan Avenue would become one-way westbound west of Lincoln Boulevard and connect to a southbound one-way on Seventh Street to Pico Boulevard.
The idea drew some dissent at meetings last year when residents adjacent to the school expressed fear that the one-way streets would cause traffic in the area.
Samohi students spoke at a public meeting in October, explaining that they had been doored, or knocked off their bikes by students opening car doors in front of their path.
A new traffic signal and crosswalk would be added at the corner of Pico Boulevard and Seventh Street. New bike lanes would be added to the area as well. Some trees would have to be removed or relocated to make room for bike lanes.
A traffic study prepared by City Hall showed that no intersections would be significantly impacted by the changes.
If council approves the route, planners are hoping construction will be finished over Samohi’s summer break.