I went to a workshop last night at the Civic Auditorium to review the Downtown Specific Plan and hear public comment. The presentation from the city was all about building heights and density and benefits the public would get from various projects. It was the usual dog-and-pony show.

Traffic was the big gorilla in the room nobody talked about. Bottom line, everyone’s biggest complaint is not just the buildings, but the traffic they generate. The Planning Commission is really planning backwards. How can they even think about approving one more project until they fix the traffic? Face it, the roads are at capacity now. How can city leaders be blind to the miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic going east every day on Olympic and Pico boulevards and the freeway? Fix the traffic first, then think about building, not the other way around. If the traffic can’t be fixed, put a moratorium on new construction. They did that in San Francisco and every marginal building in town was spruced up and given new life.

The way it was presented it seemed like every new mega-structure would result in less and less traffic. Density somehow would be our savior. The little beach town we used to love doesn’t have a chance.

These workshops are always very frustrating because the results are always so disappointing. The city presents, the people speak, the city writes it down, ignores it and does exactly what the developers want. There is such a disconnect between the Planning Commission, the City Council and what the people of this city want. It is very sad to witness the process.


Richard Orton

Ocean Park

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