I support the Hines proposal for the Papermate site in the Bergamot Transit Village. As Ethan Elkind says in his editorial in the Jan. 27 L.A. Times regarding light rail: “But these billions risk being wasted if city leaders do not promote, and residents do not allow, new growth around rail stations and corridors. ‚Ä¶ Focusing development around rail provides multiple benefits. It allows the region to accommodate new residents and natural population growth without building endless subdivisions on open space and worsening traffic and air pollution.”
In addition, California regulations AB 32 and its offspring, SB 375, mandates a reduction in greenhouse gasses, by, amongst other means, reducing vehicle miles traveled. This project does so by its mix of housing and business, its location, density and its radical and very aggressive TDM (traffic demand management).
Santa Monica prides itself on being progressive, forward thinking and environmentally sound, and as such the Land Use & Circulation Element was created. Created to allow limited, smart, and appropriate growth while preserving the residential neighborhoods. The desire was to balance jobs and housing, and that the housing be spread throughout income groups. The project proposed by Hines realizes the aspirations of the LUCE.
Should the project not proceed as proposed, then the default is to adapt the existing structure into “creative office” use. Not in itself a bad use, but it would produce a negative outcome.
There would not be any TDMs, and, consequently, it is likely that there will be just as much traffic as with the proposed project. No housing will be provided, upsetting the jobs-housing balance. There would be no urban village, creating a dead zone adjacent to the station. And, last but not least, the urban raceway would be preserved that is the contemporary Olympic Boulevard.
There has been a great hue and cry regarding the size of this development, but mostly by those it would not directly affect. The lack of a sensitive development would be the negative it already is, worse when occupied. There are many in the community who do appreciate the model of the urban village where density provides the opportunity to live, work and recreate, while having access to excellent public transport and having little need to drive anywhere.