In response to Arthur Jeon‚Äôs eloquent April 4 letter, “Pump the brakes on development,” I too am a longtime Santa Monica resident and I am disheartened by the worsening of the quality of life as a result of the over building and development. OK, I‚Äôll be honest ‚Äî I‚Äôm downright angry and resentful.
It‚Äôs astonishing to see the number of empty lots and buildings being torn down for new buildings and condos. I voted in the last election for the “slow growth” candidates and look what good it did. Shame on me for believing we could change anything. Anyone see the new complex on the corner of Seventh Street and Arizona Avenue? It‚Äôs a huge condo monster and surely the hundreds of residents‚Äô cars will spill out onto Lincoln Boulevard where it‚Äôs gridlock most days anyway. Add a few hundred more cars in the morning and evening. Let‚Äôs do it!
How many people do you think you can fit into a small town and still be able to get around with relative ease? Forcing people to use the bus or the upcoming light rail ‚Äî good luck with that pipe dream. People are in love with their cars and will still use them. Has anyone tried to drive down Santa Monica Boulevard toward the ocean on the weekends? The traffic is backed up from Ocean Avenue to at least 11th Street with people trying to get to our precious Third Street Promenade.
I realize some growth is necessary, but it‚Äôs long past the tipping point. I read an article where some city politician said Santa Monica had 40 development projects in the pipeline and it wasn‚Äôt the job of the City Council to say “no” but just a matter of “when.” Really? That shows me the pompous attitude that has led to the ruining of this once unique city. How many standing structures have “for lease” signs and have not been rented in years? They are everywhere. Why build structures that you can‚Äôt fill? Look at the behemoth structure on Lincoln just south of Arizona on the east side. It‚Äôs been mostly empty and “for lease” for years.
I avoid Lincoln ‚Ä¶ as it‚Äôs become a total gridlock street. I can only wait to see what new development project goes in across the street from Bay Cities or down the block when they gut Denny‚Äôs and Norms. Do you think that area will be gridlocked during rush hour as people try to get on the freeway? Hello! No one cares to listen to the citizens of the city. Developers bought and sold this town years ago and we‚Äôre just realizing it now. I receive the cards in the mail with invites to the council meetings about development in my neighborhood. Why bother to attend? It does no good to voice our opinions because they still vote the way they want in support of massive projects. We are citizens who live in this city, work in this city, pay taxes in this city and yet it appears as if we have no say in what goes on that affects the quality of our daily lives.
It doesn‚Äôt take a genius to figure out that more people equals more traffic, pollution and gridlock. From the outside, Santa Monica must have a mystique of glamour to tourists, but to longtime residents the quality of life in my once sleepy hometown has been eviscerated by the steady march of overdevelopment. I‚Äôm sure those who say that everything is great need to get in their car and drive around the city in the morning or evening. Oh, wait, you can‚Äôt because of the gridlock.
So, my question is, what are we going to do about it or is it too late to care?