OCEAN AVE — Prepare for another detour.

A raised, landscaped median will soon be installed along Ocean Avenue as part of a required safety enhancement of the Civic Center Village condo/apartment project, city officials said this week.

A map showing the new median proposed for Ocean Avenue. (Map courtesy Andrew Maximous/City of Santa Monica)

The median will extend from the intersection of the new Olympic Drive to Vicente Terrace and is intended to increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Once installed, drivers will have to change their habits as access to certain driveways, including those leading into Loews and Le Merigot hotels, will be slightly altered.

Construction is scheduled to begin on Jan. 21 and will last approximately three to four weeks. During that time, expect lane closures in the area, city officials said.

“(U)nsignalized turns from side streets onto or from major streets are one of the more dangerous traffic maneuvers,” said Sam Morrissey, traffic engineer for City Hall. “From vehicles suddenly stopping in a through lane to vehicles making turns without an adequate gap in traffic, these types of maneuvers have inherent safety concerns and can increase the risks of accidents. The construction of the median will eliminate unsignalized turns to or from Ocean Avenue, which will be a safety enhancement for both vehicles and bikes.”

The median was identified as a need in the 2005 Civic Center Specific Plan “to reduce the scale of the street and to allow for distinctive planting that reinforces the identity of the Civic Center.”

Upon completion of the median, left turns into and out of the streets and driveways along both sides of Ocean Avenue will no longer be possible.

Access to the streets and driveways from northbound Ocean Avenue will be maintained via the new signal at Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive. This new signal will provide a protected U-turn in the northbound direction, so that northbound traffic may turn southbound on Ocean Avenue to access streets and driveways on the west side of Ocean Avenue.

Southbound traffic will be able to make a left turn or U-turn at the southern end of the median at Vicente Terrace to travel northbound on Ocean Avenue and access streets and driveways on the east side of Ocean Avenue.

Pedestrians will have two safe locations to cross Ocean Avenue, city officials said. The first crosswalk will be located at 1740 Ocean Ave., in front of the Le Merigot Hotel, and the second at Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive.

To learn more about the median attend a public meeting on Monday, Jan. 13 at the Civic Center, East Wing, located at 1855 Main St., from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.



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