The debate about development is still raging. How high? How much parking? How much density? All of these questions are irrelevant. Traffic is destroying Santa Monica, and the City has its head in the sand when it comes to this truth.
It took me seven minutes to go two small blocks to get across Lincoln on Ocean Park. 23rd street at 3 p.m. is already a parking lot. Olympic? It took me 30 minutes to go one block at 5 p.m.
Interstate10 is a parking lot after 2:15 until 7:30 or 8 p.m. You have no option for driving east — Sunset, Wilshire, Santa Monica, Olympic and Pico are all jammed. I have to drive down to another street south of the City to go anywhere east after 2:30 p.m. And these neighborhoods now have signs posted: “Stop Mar Vista Traffic Armageddon.”
Hello? Is anyone listening?
I used to love going to downtown Santa Monica. I would brag about how wonderful it was to live in a place where you could drive five minutes, go downtown, get a parking spot and shop. It was how life should be. A wonderful living experience in one of the most beautiful cites in the world. Not any longer!
A few weeks ago, we had to decide between going to Hollywood or Santa Monica to the movies on a Saturday night. We opted for Santa Monica since the theater is only five minutes from my house. Well, the trip to movies took 40 minutes from my door to the theater. Traffic was that bad! Next time, we’ll go to Hollywood.
How can the City consider more development for even five minutes? Don’t they live here? How do the City officials get around? Are they blind to the gridlock? Or do they just not care? Or are there “kickbacks” that are so abundant that they justify it?
How can the City approve any more new buildings that would just bring in several thousand more cars? The issue is not to develop or not; the issue is, simply, can we accommodate more cars? If the answer is no — then all of the beautiful planned new developments are meaningless. It is that simple. It is not about development — it is about the traffic.
It is time for every person in Santa Monica to stand up and shout: “No more traffic!” If we cannot sustain anymore traffic, then the City has filled its development cup of possibilities. Stop.