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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles focused on a report released by City Hall’s Planning and Community Development Department that updates City Council on the progress and impacts of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) which was enacted in 2010.

Commuters rejoice, traffic is better now than it was in 2007, at least according to a study released by City Hall.

The document — which seeks to monitor a major city document, the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), enacted in 2010 — acknowledges that car traffic in Santa Monica remains “a serious concern” but says peak hour afternoon traffic dropped about 18.6 percent between 2007 and 2013.

“While many residents and visitors perceive the traffic in the city to be worse than it was prior to 2010, traffic studies demonstrate that the amount of PM Peak Hour traffic has actually decreased,” the report from Planning Director David Martin said.

Afternoon rush hour traffic fell by 1.89 percent between 2011 and 2013, the report said.

“While this statistic is supported by the results of various traffic counts and studies, the reality experienced by a large segment of the community is far different,” the report said. “This might be explained by the fact that traffic counts and studies focus on the AM and PM peak commuting periods … which historically have been the heaviest congestion periods during the day. If traffic has increased during the non-peak hours, this statistic would not be captured in the City’s traffic counts and studies.”

City officials point out that Santa Monica is surrounded by “regional forces over which it has little direct control” but that it has “taken aggressive measures” to manage traffic and provide other transit options.

Recent construction projects, like the incoming Expo Light Rail tracks and station, have temporarily impacted drivers, the report said. Construction of the Colorado Esplanade and the replacement of the California Incline will slow traffic later this year.

The LUCE goal, of no new afternoon rush hour trips between 2010 and 2030, is holding steady despite new development and jobs, city officials say in the report.

Traffic on all 10 major corridors studied by City Hall fell during afternoon rush hour between 2007 and 2013 but rose on some streets, like Lincoln, Wilshire, Santa Monica, Olympic, and Pico boulevards between 2011 and 2013.

“A slight increase in vehicle counts during the 2011 evaluation period can be attributed to the improving economy and other external factors,” city officials said. “The total 2013 counts show, by and large, relatively stable numbers from 2011 levels.”

Morning rush hour traffic improved consistently on all major corridors, according to the study, with the exception of Ocean Park Boulevard, which saw a jump between 2011 and 2013.

According to the same study, vehicle greenhouse gas emissions are down 12 percent between 2008 and 2013 and vehicle miles traveled are down from 10.8 daily miles to 10.2 daily miles.

The report cited several city initiatives as reasons for the decline and said City Hall’s $20 million 5-phase traffic signal synchronization project is 90 percent complete.

City Hall hasn’t provided an updated traffic study since 2013, so it remains unclear how traffic has been affected, statistically, since then.

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