City Hall is in the process of developing a Downtown Specific Plan that will dictate development in the heart of Santa Monica. There was a workshop last week that let residents voice their opinions about the direction the district should take.

So, this week’s Q-Line question asked:
What would you like to see Downtown look like and why?

Here are your responses:

“I think it would be marvelous to have a plan that incorporates the old post office. Maybe put some stores like Target and middle-income and low-income stores with a Spanish flair. That would give a little zip to this lovely town by the ocean.”

“You need some green space. The old Henshey’s property would have been perfect for a central park Downtown. No more low-income, redistributionist housing, no new structures over two stories, no parking meters anywhere Downtown. All former two-lane streets to be reestablished for easier driving. Sand blasting of all asinine bike path markings, AKA utopian, progressive, egotist green crap. Stop building the pointless light rail terminus at Fourth and Colorado and have a Target store.”

“Get rid of the skid row by the sea and all the breadlines that bring in more and more of this human refuse and send them back to Downtown L.A. or wherever they have been shipped from or somehow traveled from. This city, with its misguided charity, has become a Mecca for bums, drug addicts, alcoholics, loafers, crazies and criminals. No wonder the good citizens have left or are leaving in droves. Pretty soon you won’t have to wonder about the beautification of Downtown. The bums don’t care where they flop. That’s step one. Secondly, make it citizen friendly and return the mall to the days of yore, clean, safe and stores that people need and want to shop in. Forget this high-end stuff. Whose city is it anyway?”

“If we want to create sustainable communities, we need density and for people to move around via walking, bicycling and using public transportation. Downtown should contain all the necessary retail and business services of the city and be concentrated in medium/high-rise buildings.”

“I would like Downtown to become more pedestrian oriented, something like Disneyland or the L.A. County Fair. There would be no public parking Downtown. Public parking would be along Lincoln Boulevard and along the freeway. There would be stores that sell large, heavy, or bulky items near the parking (Target, Trader Joe’s, Centinela Feed). There would be transportation (quaint, brightly-colored minibuses?) ferrying people from public parking to strategic stops Downtown. It would take time, and I would begin slowly, reducing parking and improving transportation. To start, I would take the roofs of parking structures with beautiful views and use them for something different than parking, maybe food trucks and picnic tables amidst community gardens. As the parking structures became more dilapidated, I would not replace them. Minimal parking for residents’ personal cars and for deliveries to businesses could remain. I would narrow Ocean Avenue into a two-lane street. Ocean Avenue restaurants and cafes could expand onto the sidewalks and be protected by a planted buffer from the cars on the newly narrowed road. Traffic would be slowed, and drivers could enjoy the views of Palisades Park and the ocean, or watch people in the restaurants through the planted buffer on the other side of the road. I would immediately improve bus service to and from the edges of Downtown. Fifteen minutes is a long time to wait for a bus! I would route a bus along Lincoln Boulevard between Montana Avenue and Pico Boulevard. The big buses would be phased out from the Downtown and instead drop people off at stops from which they could take a minibus, which would be free, like the shuttles at LAX. The Downtown experience would become more pleasant.”

“I would like to see them raze Downtown completely. Tear down every building and dig up every street and sidewalk. Then salt the earth so nothing ever grows there again. It worked for the Romans at Carthage; no reason it can’t work again.”

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