NEW USE? The future of the embattled Santa Monica Airport may be as a park if a new group has anything to say about it. (Brandon Wise

A new group has come together that wants to transform Santa Monica Airport into a park.


So, this week’s Q-Line question asked:

Would you like to see the airport turned into a park and why?


Here are your responses:


“As a long-time resident of Santa Monica, and even though I’m an ex-landlord, I think it’s very important to keep that airport open. What if there’s a major crisis? So as much as I’d like to have parks, I think it’s really important that we keep the Santa Monica Airport open. I think it’s really important for safety reasons. What if LAX gives out? It’s really important that we have a regular airport.”


“I think that there should be no park of any kind. I think the Santa Monica Airport is an asset to the community and should continue as is. I do agree that some of the larger jet takings and landings should be controlled, but the airport itself has a long history in Santa Monica and should remain as a vital asset to the community.”


“Before we start to propose any more parks for Santa Monica, we better make an assessment of Tongva Park, which had its soft opening on Tuesday. In walking through the park very quickly, just out of curiosity, I noticed that the homeless are beginning their toe-hold in the park with their shopping carts and their luggage. The question is how quickly the homeless will overrun the park, since it’s very close to OPCC, and how the city will tolerate or not tolerate the overrunning of the park by the homeless? The park that would be proposed for the airport would actually be an outlet for the homeless coming in from Skid Row and downtown L.A. coming in on the Expo Line. The Expo Line is going to be a pneumatic tube for the homeless coming from Skid Row into Santa Monica, and basically a park over at the airport would simply be a detour for the homeless to come down Bundy to the park. Let’s make an assessment in a few months or a year to see how Tongva Park actually develops into a homeless camp. It may very well turn out to look like Christine Reed Park. We also have a new feature at Tongva Park, which could attract even more homeless, which are the streams of water, which could turn out to be a free Laundromat for the homeless washing their clothes.”


“No, the airport’s been there longer than the houses so I think it should be left alone.”


“In regards to the airport becoming a park, my fear is that it will become a park and then, parcel by parcel, it will be turned into development, dense housing and more congestion, etc. It would be good if the park were dedicated as a park and could never be used as housing that makes our city more crowded.”


“No I would not like a park to replace Santa Monica Airport. However, I would like to see the airport used as it was designed, for piston-powered aircraft, not corporate jets. Somehow the city of Santa Monica doesn’t know how to operate an airport that makes a profit. Incompetence is my conclusion. Get an airport manager who knows how to make money and let him do it.”


“Definitely a park. Long overdue. It was a park long before it was an airport. Houses were there before there was an airport. Let’s put it back the way it was, the way it was meant to be. The park is for residents. The airport is not for residents. Pilots be damned. Let’s give the property back to the residents and let’s give them their park.”


“I would love to see the airport turned into a park. For far too long it has been a dangerous, noisy, polluting bad neighbor. A park would be a wonderful solution, a wonderful substitute for that bad neighbor and I’d be happy with the land being used for anything but an airport, but obviously a park would be a tremendous benefit for all the people in Santa Monica, not just a few fat cats who play with their jets above our heads.”


“I’ve never flown out of the Santa Monica Airport and, barring a lottery win, I never will. But if it was a park I would take my kids there every single day.”


“I would like to see the airport turned into a park for a few reasons. Most importantly is Santa Monica’s pressing need for playing fields. I have witnessed the allocation game that must be played by city officials each year, invariably yielding youth sports leagues less practice and playing time than they need. A park would be much cleaner and much safer than an airport. Although I love aviation, this airport currently flies too many jets, given its close proximity to residences. An airport this close to homes would never be allowed to be built today, according to current FAA requirements. Consequently, the noise and air pollution attributable to SM Airport is assaulting to the nearby neighborhoods, and the risk for tragic crash consequences is high. Another important reason is that the airport loses money for Santa Monica. The city subsidizes the operating budget each year, to the tune of over $3 million a year, according to the city’s fiscal year 2011-12 operating budget. Most people are not aware of this fact. Why does a city that prides itself on its environmental commitment subsidize an operation that mostly benefits non-Santa Monica citizens, while polluting our environment?”


“Yes. The residents of Santa Monica own the airport, but it’s a $2 billion asset that for decades has benefited only a few, and they mostly don’t live in Santa Monica. There is great need for park space. Look at a map; on the Westside nearly all the big green splotches are golf courses, most of which are privately owned. Santa Monica is desperate for more parks for both recreational and environmental reasons. The airport offers the chance to turn a lot of publicly owned land into a park for the use of everyone.”


“I’m worried about it because it would serve as a way to airlift people out of the area in the event of a disaster, such as a large earthquake, storm or terrorist attack. I’m against the closure of SMO and turning it into a park; it’s too practical for L.A. and the Westside.”


“The fresh breeze coming from the ocean hits the upslope of the land where SM Airport now stands, providing a cool spot for welcoming people wanting to relax, yet avoid the throngs who pack the beaches on weekends and summer days. The land should be used as a park so more people can relax and escape the building-and-asphalt-covered urban landscape we Angelenos call home. The current air and noise pollution from airport use benefits very few people compared with the better use of the land as a park for the community. In fact, the pollution from lead-containing avgas is dangerous as a health hazard for children as well as adults. And, wouldn’t it be delightful to not hear the constant roaring of jet engines and the whining of ascending planes while we are outside on land the public owns?”


“Anything that would shut down the airport in 2015 after the misguided 1984 agreement expires would be a welcome plus for our city. Many small airports across the country have had flights of private planes which have crashed into houses, with injuries and/or fatalities. If the airport stays open, it will happen here. It’s not just a question of ‘if,’ but of ‘when.’ In last week’s Q-Line (about the Expo Light Rail), one person worried about accidents and commented, ‘Mark my words, people will die and the blood will be on City Hall’s hands.’ The exact same thing is true (in spades!) with regard to the airport. If the City Council doesn’t act to close the airport at the earliest available opportunity, the blood of the victims of a plane that leaves SMO, then crashes into a home, will be on the hands of our council members.”


“I would like to see the Santa Monica Airport turned into a park. Airplanes fly low over thousands of public school students, incurring unnecessary risk, impairing the students’ ability to hear their teachers, and exposing them to leaded fuel and other toxins. I took an AYSO coach-training class at JAMS recently, and the trainer had to stop speaking and wait for the planes to pass many times. Furthermore, the airport costs the Santa Monica taxpayers millions of dollars every year, as the airport operates at a net loss for the city. A park would transform Santa Monica and the entire Westside of Los Angeles and improve our environment … and much of it could be paid for by just stopping millions in airport subsidies for the relatively few people who utilize the airport. The land could literally sit vacant while we raise the money, at a net gain for taxpayers.”


“I would love to see the airport become a park. Why? A park is beautiful. More people can use a park and benefit from a park than they can from an airport.”


“These people have got to be kidding. I am with them on the noise factor for the jets, but the FAA will never let them close the airport. Come on, a park? No City Hall bureaucrat would ever let his developer buddies miss out on a chance to reap the gold from the would-be biggest development in the history of Santa Monica.”


“The Santa Monica Airport has poisoned the children of Mar Vista and West L.A. for far too long. It’s time we re-write this wrong by making it a park.”


“A park at the airport site would be a proper solution to the decades of impact on the Santa Monica community and the adjoining West Los Angeles communities. It would result in the immediate increase of property values under the original flight path of the airport. We would make a suggestion to compensate the Tongva Indians for the centuries of being dispersed. We would suggest building some housing on the airport site for the Tongva Indians and consider building an Indian casino that the Tongva Indians could operate close to Bundy.”


“I would love to see the airport turned into a park. It’s a fabulous idea. The airport has gotten too big with too many loud jets. It doesn’t serve all the people in the community. … I would love to see a great big park with bike trails, fountains, a sustainable garden, and Santa Monica being the green city it wants to be. The airport doesn’t fit into the plan anymore. The airport used to be cute and small. It isn’t anymore.”


“Yes, yes, and oh yes! I’ve lived in the flight path of the airport for 40 years. The thought of hearing an entire telephone conversation, hearing the TV, hearing the doorbell would be amazing. To not be woken up early every weekend morning or smelling the fuel fumes would be a godsend. To be able to go to a green, beautiful, manicured park in the midst of an industrial area would be delightful. Do I think Santa Monica could use another open green space in the middle of overbuilding, overcrowding and underappreciated Santa Monica? Yes!”




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