Dear Santa Monica Council members:
Before the sidewalk gates are installed, I would like to propose turning Colorado Avenue into a pedestrian- and bicyclist-only thoroughfare from Cloverfield to 4th Street or from 17th to 4th streets. (Envision a variation of the Third Street Promenade.)
Installing gates along the sidewalks to prevent pedestrians from walking along the train track median sounds like pedestrians have to be caged and won’t prevent cyclists from illegally riding on the sidewalks to avoid cycling along the seriously narrow Colorado. The gates might only corral the pedestrians onto the already narrow, unimproved sidewalks but do not protect or prevent cyclists from using the same prohibited, dangerous train track area. I am not convinced the pedestrian gates are a pedestrian safety feature. They seem more like an immediate reaction to the recent train/truck collision in the aftermath of the council’s eschewing train crossing gates.
Why not limit auto traffic on Colorado, where the train shares the street surface? The train tracks have already reduced Colorado from two lanes in each direction to one lane each way. The one lane is further narrowed by street parking and makes it inherently dangerous for both autos and cyclists to share the portion of Colorado where the train tracks are at street level.
Transforming that stretch of east-west road to pedestrian- and cyclist-only could benefit the businesses by bringing more foot traffic to that area, offer the opportunity to add green space and be a calm, safe alternative for east-west pedestrian, bicycle and train travel. This project would undoubtedly be a challenge to organize, but it would be worthwhile for the long-neglected pedestrians as well as cyclists and future train passengers.