Editor:

I am writing in response to the Letter to the Editor published on March 13  (“Poor timing”) regarding the construction of the pedestrian walkway on the Santa Monica Pier Bridge. Let me assure you that the bridge will be fully accessible to pedestrians for the L.A. Marathon finish on March 17.

In fact, on marathon day no cars will be allowed on the bridge so that the entire bridge will be available for pedestrian use. City Hall is undertaking the pedestrian walkway reconstruction to provide for better separation between pedestrians and vehicles that access the pier. We are fitting the work between a number of high-profile community events. The contract for this work was approved by the City Council on Feb. 26, 2013 and staff and the contractor moved as quickly as possible to mobilize and begin the project.

The Public Works Department is involved in planning for the L.A. Marathon finish and started a portion of the bridge work on Tuesday, March 12 understanding that the bridge would be utilized this weekend. We are also aware that, for several weeks following the marathon, Spring Break crowds will be visiting Santa Monica in what one pier tenant calls their second busiest season of the year behind summer.

After Spring Break, City Hall is scheduled to begin the Phase 4 reconstruction on a portion of the Santa Monica Pier with estimated completion scheduled for March 2014.

It is with this understanding we started removal of the sidewalk on the bridge and will work diligently this week to accomplish what work we can, then no later than Friday all equipment and material will be removed from the pier bridge.

The bridge will be ready for heavy pedestrian use to accommodate the volume of crowds expected this weekend. City Hall aims to get the work completed as soon as possible, and with the pier tenants’ strong requests to not have construction during Spring Break and the start of Pier Phase 4 Reconstruction shortly after that, this was the only window in a very tight schedule.

Thank you for your concern and be assured that city staff are making construction scheduling decisions thoughtfully to get needed work underway and to complete improvements on time while allowing access to our exceptional community resources.

 

Martin Pastucha

Director, Public Works