Editor:

Like Paula Goldman, (”Breathe, Bill,” Letter to the Editor, Jan. 21) I am a parent of a Santa Monica High School student who is very concerned about the safety of the students getting to and from Samohi. My issue is that the federal grant she refers to that is being used for the “Safe Routes to School” plan at Samohi can only be used to fund bicycle and walking safety additions. Therefore, the currently proposed project has only focused on adding bike lines and changing lights and turns to increase the safety of bikers and walkers and has not adequately evaluated the traffic impact of the project.

In order to add bike lanes to Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street at the high school they have to change these streets to single-lane, one-way streets from the existing two-way streets. In October 2013 after this plan was in place the city planners said that the next step was to complete a traffic study and that they would have that for review well before the presentation at the February 2014 City Council meeting.

I am one of many Samohi parents who are concerned about what the traffic impact will be at this extremely congested intersection at drop-off and pick-up times by essentially reducing the traffic throughout by half. At the Dec. 10 PTSA meeting, the group voted to support the plan pending the traffic study which was supposed to be completed and disseminated by then but wasn’t completed yet. I have been in contact with the transportation planner and she said that the traffic report would be completed by the next PTSA meeting and that she would send me the report as soon as possible before that meeting.

At 4:53 p.m., before the 6 p.m. PTSA meeting on Jan. 21, I received an e-mail from the transportation planner saying that she misinformed me and that she couldn’t release the traffic study to me or anyone as it would be a part of the staff report for the City Council meeting on Feb. 11. It would be made public as a part of the City Council meeting agenda on Feb. 5 or 6.

At the PTSA meeting on Jan. 21, she reported that the results of the traffic study were that there would not be any significant impact on the traffic. How is there no significant traffic impact by reducing heavily congested two-way streets to single-lane, one-way streets? That just doesn’t make sense.

I agree with Paula‘s statement that “there are very few options for protecting students from distracted, rushing drivers.” More traffic gridlock will increase the number of distracted and rushing drivers and make it less safe for our children.

I am all for improving the safety of our kids getting to and from school but just adding bike lanes without doing adequate and transparent traffic analysis is not the right way to move forward.

The Safe Routes to School program should not only address bikers and walkers but should also include improving traffic flow and increasing bus ridership to school. I have been paying adult fare for my son to take the bus to and from Samohi as there is no real student Big Blue Bus fare. Despite following up with the Big Blue Bus I have not gotten a response as to why the daily student fare that was in existence was dropped from the prices approved in May of 2010.

 

Karen Melick

Santa Monica

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