Editor’s note: This is part of 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.
Alternative forms of transportation are on the rise in Santa Monica, according to a recent report from the Planning Department.
There was a 67 percent increase in bike usage during afternoon rush hour between 2011 and 2013, the report, penned by Planning Director David Martin, said.
There was a 20 percent boost in walkers over the same time and a slight bump in people who are carpooling to work.
There were 7,806 bicycles counted at intersection during a 2013 study compared to 4,656 in 2011. Among walkers, the count rose from 36,257 to 43,497.
“A comprehensive crosswalk inventory led to the improvement of 405 individual crosswalks at 130 intersection locations,” Martin said in the report. “New pedestrian signals were tested and eight high-visibility flashing lights were installed at select pedestrian crossings.”
City Hall has added 45 miles worth of sharrows and bike lanes since 2011.
The soon-to-be built Colorado Esplanade will connect Downtown and the Santa Monica Pier with the incoming Expo Light Rail station for pedestrians and cyclists.
Breeze, Santa Monica’s incoming bikeshare, will open this year, the report said.
“The full service Bike Center at Colorado Avenue and 2nd Street has 316 members who made approximately 14,000 round-trip commutes by bicycle in 2013,” the report said.
Overall, residents commuting by bike rose from 2.3 percent to 3.7 percent between 2010 and 2013.
The number of employees using active modes of transit, walking or biking, doubled, jumping from five to 10 percent, since 2010.
Carpooling is up as well. In 2010, 22 percent of employees carpooled or took transit, according to the study, compared to a quarter of all employees this year.
Recently, City Hall has struggled to keep one large employer, Agensys, from breaking its agreement to cut back on its employees’ driving to work. For two years in a row, Agensys, which works to develop new cancer therapies, has allowed more commuters to drive their cars to work than is permitted under their development agreement signed with City Hall in 2010. Agensys employs 210 workers, according to City Hall’s most recent list of principal employers, and is working to get back into compliance.
Parking has expanded in recent years, according to the report from Martin.
Parking Structure 6 was rebuilt and contains 744 spaces for vehicles.
There were nearly 100 blocks designated a preferential parking zones at the request of residents in the last five years.
“Real time information displays have been installed to show the number of available spaces at entrances to beach parking lots,” the report said. “Overhead changeable message boards were recently located at City gateways for parking and detour guidance during special events and high-demand days.”