An early rendering of the proposed office/retail/housing development at the old Paper Mate site at Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street. (Image courtesy Hines)

The City Council last week approved the controversial Bergamot Transit Village despite considerable opposition from a number of local residents. There is now a movement afoot to create a referendum to give the public a chance to vote the project down.



A rendering of a courtyard planned for Hines’ Bergamot Transit Village at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street. (Courtesy Hines)

So, this week’s Q-Line question asks:


Would you vote to nix the development and why?


Here are your responses:


“I’m calling to say I would nix development at the Bergamot Transit Village for three reasons: overdevelopment, traffic impact and water usage.”


“I want to vote very much against the Bergamot Transit Village and all the traffic it will cause.”


“Perhaps six-story, unsightly parking structures is the new look for Santa Monica, in which case I encourage oversized development to keep on rocking. It takes a lot of money to run a city into the ground.”


“Ever since Santa Monica was christened Silicon Beach, the city has become more and more exploited in the most outrageously venial ways imaginable and becoming more and more unlivable as a result. The Alice in Wonderland thinking behind traffic mitigation behind the Hines project is the city’s tipping point. The project must be fully and emphatically rejected. … If you drop the S I L I from Silicon Beach and add JOB after CON this is now Con Job Beach.”


“Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put back together again. The same holds true for Santa Monica. The Bergamot Transit Village will put traffic at a complete standstill, asking neighborhoods to absorb more traffic and parking problems. Residents have seen enough of how four individuals on City Council could seal the fate of this city. The referendum is about people caring for and protecting residents first.”


“We would vote to stop the development because we are crushed by traffic. The city management over the last 25 years has decreased traffic lanes drastically. Then they allowed development that greatly increased traffic. It is not logical planning, but that is what they have done.”


“I am disgusted by the obstructionist view of these NIMBYs in Santa Monica who are nothing but a bunch of antiquated old-timers who think that they can control the future of this city. Santa Monica does not belong to you. Santa Monica belongs to the residents of the future. Young people like myself are not afraid of the traffic. We know how to deal with it. We aren’t stuck in this 1960s view of Los Angeles where the freeways were clear and you could go from Downtown Los Angeles to the beach in 20 minutes. That isn’t the reality any longer, mainly because these NIMBYs chose to have children and further overpopulate the world. Deal with your decision to live on the coast, deal with your decision to have children and add to the population, deal with your decision to own two cars instead of one, deal with your decision to never get out of your steal cage and walk, bike or take the bus, deal with the fact that you have voted against measures to create more public transit. Just deal with it or move to the country where you never have to worry about traffic again. Leave the city dwelling to us.”


“Nix it. Actually, toss this iteration, come back with one office building, much more green space, larger, fewer rental units, modestly appointed and moderately priced. Much less parking, rely on rail. I understand the company wants to max their return, but this won’t happen. Scale it back; traffic is driving us nuts.”


“This development is too tall, too dense, and too ugly! Residents, both present and future, deserve development that includes much more open space, light and air than what is being proposed and in the pipeline. There is no community benefit that will benefit us and future residents more.”


“I dread the excessive increase in noise, dust, traffic, pollution and overall chaos that will be caused by the project if it goes through. And where is the water going to come from in this time of drought? It’ll be an ongoing man-made disaster! Obviously I say nix it please!”


“I think the Bergamot Transit Village is a step in the right direction for the future of Santa Monica. It combines housing for various income levels with the office space and retail to provide future residents with much-needed jobs. Sure, not all who live there will work there, but over time I would bet most will. Traffic will never get better, no matter what measures are put in place. Future generations realize this and have adapted. They take buses, ride bikes or walk. They choose to live near their workplace and do not live in this fantasy world of having a resource-sucking green lawn with a pool in the backyard. That dream is not theirs. They would rather live in modern buildings with shared community space, activity right outside their front door and jobs and restaurants within walking distance. More young people are not getting their driver’s license at 16. Why? Because it just doesn’t matter to them like it did for their parents. This is the new reality and Bergamot is a representation of the future. I applaud the City Council for taking the bold step forward.”


“The Bergamot Transit Village represents the power and influence large developers have over our current City Council. This project is not in accordance with LUCE, which specifically outlines land use and urban design requirements. If the Bergamot Transit Village is allowed to be developed, as is currently proposed, it will set a precedent for what is and what will be possible for future developments in Santa Monica. Bottom line: projects like this will have a net negative impact on the city and all of its residents. More importantly, it will allow for future developments that will negatively impact how the city operates moving forward.”


“I would definitely vote to nix the Bergamot Transit Village Center development agreement. Why? The Environmental Impact Report predicted 7,000 new daily car trips (which is probably a gross under-estimation), with 22 percent coming through my neighborhood. We are already gridlocked during the afternoon-evening rush hours. The four City Council members who voted to approve this project apparently have a different definition of protecting neighborhoods and ensuring a high quality of life for all Santa Monicans (goals of the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element of the city’s General Plan) than the rest of the residents do.”


“I do not want to give the public, and especially the special interests, a right to vote to destroy our local economy. Google, Riot Games, Sony; if we continue to lose all of these companies to neighboring cities, who is going to pick up the tab for all of the services Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights members want? Unfortunately, our traffic will not decrease as a result, but our local employment will. It is irresponsible for some council members to vote for such unrealistic and unsustainable schemes as all housing. Time to get real. We are going to have traffic regardless. I would prefer traffic with tax revenue instead of traffic with no income. We need additional office space to accommodate businesses who want to employ residents.”


“This will add too many cars, people, congestion to an already congested area. The residential areas are already getting crowded with cars from non-residents. Safety is a concern by bringing in more crowding.”


“I would vote against the Bergamot development in an instant. It is all wrong for the site for so many reasons: high increased density, too much traffic and it’s across the street from yet another traffic magnet. It’s all wrong but the City Council is so deep in the pockets of the developers that it doesn’t matter to them. They’ll do whatever will please the developers so as to keep the developer money coming to their re-election coffers! They have no shame. We need to vote them out (and get rid of the Planning Department and the Architectural Review Board while we’re at it).”


“The best available option for Santa Monica is to approve and build the project approved by the City Council. If that project is not built, connections to Expo will be far more difficult. Also, the developer can legally build a project on that site with more than twice the traffic impact of the approved project. Because this would be a LUCE Tier 1 project, it cannot be prevented except by building this project.”


“I’m signing the referendum petition and I would vote no. The City Council thinks it can impose one huge project upon another on this city, and it just isn’t possible. Too many projects will destroy the very character that makes this such a desirable place to live and work. Stop the building. Defeat Councilmembers O’Connor, O’Day, Davis and Holbrook.”


“Living in the Pico Neighborhood, I’d never vote for it. Traffic is already untenable, and there are tons of projects pending both on Pico as well as Olympic, in Santa Monica or just over the border in west L.A..”


“Bergamot Village? This isn’t a village, it’s the Titanic! 7,000 new car trips will sink our city in a morass of traffic and smog.”


“This place would be more of a disaster if we allowed the special interest to vote on everything they disagreed with. People in this city seem to forget we have a concept of private property in this country. The public doesn’t own this land, a private party does and they have a right to develop it. However, we do not need more housing in this city and need more jobs so I’m opposed to requiring housing. Despite being against growth, why does Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights and their puppets on the council always try and expand the population of our city through pushing more and more housing, which creates more and more traffic?”


Editor’s note: There was an overwhelming number of responses to this question, which is great. We are thankful for the input. Unfortunately we are unable to print them all, but we will point out that the vast majority were opposed to the Bergamot Transit Village because of the traffic generated by the project.

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