CITYWIDE ‚Äî Locals, brace yourself for the busy, last weekend of summer.
Tourists and folks from neighboring areas are expected to descend on the city by the sea for Labor Day weekend to walk down the Third Street Promenade, play in the sand and surf and eat churros at the Santa Monica Pier.
The Santa Monica Police Department expects to add a substantial amount of personnel, both sworn and non-sworn, for the long weekend to help mitigate traffic issues and handle radio calls.
“We will staff a little heavier this weekend,” SMPD Lt. Richard Lewis said. “We will have extra beach deployment and [officers] in and around parking lots.”
Last year during Labor Day, the police made 59 arrests ranging from drunk in public, burglary, narcotics, theft, grand theft, drunk driving, rape and possession of burglary tools, Lewis said.
He urged people to call the police if they see anything suspicious.
“Be patient getting into town. Come early and know where you want to park,” Lewis said. “Don‚Äôt leave valuables in your car. Be very conscious and cognizant of people around you and what you do with your property.”
Visitors and locals can beat parking woes by using the city of Santa Monica parking app, said Sam Morrissey, city traffic engineer. Called SM Parking, it can be downloaded for free. The app shows the availability of all off-street and on-street parking, highlighting red, yellow and green colors to indicate spots, and the hours and cost of parking, Morrissey said.
“For the off-street lots, it‚Äôll show you exact occupancy at that time,” Morrissey said.
City Hall is also renting and deploying changeable message signs, or the big electronic signs, to guide people from Lincoln Boulevard and Fourth and Fifth streets to the more inexpensive parking, Morrissey said. Those signs will be up starting Friday.
“We hope to make it a little less confusing and more into getting [motorists] into spaces,” he said.
People can visit www.smgov.net/parking for real time parking availability and parking rates.
The Santa Monica Convention and Visitors‚Äô Bureau is also anticipating a busy weekend.¬† Kelly Nagle, communications manager, encouraged everyone to embrace the local lifestyle and walk or bike around town while they are visiting.
Tourists can go to any of three visitor centers for help and directions. The centers are located at the Pier Shop and Visitor Center, the Santa Monica Visitor Information Cart on the Third Street Promenade across from the Foot Locker and a kiosk in Palisades Park.
Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. will also have its ambassadors out in full force to help people, said Debbie Lee, vice president of the public-private nonprofit that manages and promotes the bustling district on behalf of City Hall.
“You can pretty much satisfy any kind of itinerary, whether it‚Äôs relaxing on the beach or hanging out in a cafe or having a great meal and doing some shopping,” Lee said.
The weather is supposed to be sunny, with the highs in the 70s this weekend, according to the National Weather Service website.
“If the weather is great, we are going to be packed, I promise you,” Lewis said. “If it‚Äôs raining, it won‚Äôt be so bad.”