Editor:

The Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights Steering Committee unanimously urges the Planning Commission and the City Council to just say “no” to the proposed Hines Project [development agreement].

The proposed 400,000 square feet of commercial office space will generate an excessive traffic burden in an area of the city with legendary traffic congestion. This project will exacerbate the problem of too much peak hour traffic in the most traffic congested corridor of the city. The employees will be primarily entering and leaving the city at the times and in the directions that ensure that its impacts are the worst. This runs contrary to the LUCE goal of no new peak hour trips. Nothing in the DA will sufficiently offset that fact or make this a traffic overload tolerable for our community.

The presence of the Expo Station should be a source of relief from this burden, not a pretext for worsening it.

We urge the council to negotiate a project that is principally residential. This is very important in a community with a serious jobs/housing imbalance. Such a project should include significant affordable housing, ground-floor commercial services, and generous open space. It should aggressively strive to reduce driving and enhance transit use. It should prioritize marketing residential units to the local workforce and, by doing so, help remedy the impact of our jobs/housing imbalance.

If the project is primarily residential, with ground floor retail and commercial services in a mixed use setting, then it will generate far less traffic, and the direction of that traffic will be mostly leaving the city in the morning and returning in the evening. Residents would be going in the opposite direction of peak hour traffic and would contribute far less to the worst of our traffic congestion. In addition, these new residential units can be marketed to employees at the office parks already there, helping us reduce the traffic that they generate.

 

Patricia Hoffman

Co-chair, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights