City Council voted unanimously to move forward with plans to convert 16th Street traffic to one-way northbound between Colorado Avenue and Olympic Boulevard.

The one-way conversion would free up space for additional parking and drop-off areas near the Santa Monica College Expo station.

Additionally, council liked the idea of adding pedestrian connections and bikeways to the area.

The plans come out of the early phases of the Memorial Park Neighborhood Plan — which, when approved, will set forth land-use strategies for the area — and discussions with area stakeholders about the neighborhood plan.

The plans approved by council on Tuesday are temporary measures designed to keep the area around the station flowing smoothly until the Memorial Park Neighborhood Plan is adopted.

A one-way northbound 16th Street would allow for front-in, angled parking on the west side of the street, bordering the park.

“Parking includes metered parking as well as short term parking for drop-off and loading,” city officials said in a report. “Transit drop-off and kiss-and-ride zones are provided on the northern half of the east side of the street to serve Metro rail patrons.”

Peter Yu, who is involved with Santa Monica Little League baseball, asked that the sports league have an opportunity to give its voice in the process.

His main concern, he said, was safety. Councilmember Sue Himmelrich asked Yu if he was concerned that the one-way street would contribute to cars driving faster in the area.

“Given that it’s a one-way street and it might become the main one-way access way to the kiss-and-ride portion, of that street, there’s definitely a concern,” he said.

Councilmember Ted Winterer asked city officials about the speed-reducing measures planned for the area.

“We’d be putting in angled parking there which, while it’s not the most sophisticated traffic calming approach, it certainly serves to reduce the width of the right-away and slow down traffic,” he said.

“A concept has been developed for the Memorial Park Plan that’s a little more extensive than this,” city planner Francie Stefan responded.

“That includes bulb-outs mid-block that would create a shorter crossing and also have an additional effect of creating a mitigating effect for anybody who might try to speed through that area.”

City Hall doesn’t yet have funding for those more extensive measures, she said.

“We had the opportunity to proceed with this improvement in coordination with our annual re-paving program,” she said of the plans approved by council, “which is why we separated them.”

The project will be constructed in the spring.

Council is taking a close look at all the public (and private) land surrounding the three Expo stations. On Tuesday, they also approved a project designed to make pick-up and drop-off at the Downtown station easier.

Council just rebooted a plan to develop the Bergamot Station Art Center, which is situated, in part, on public land near the Bergamot Expo station.

dave@smdp.com

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