Last week, the Northern Trust Open, the 4th longest running PGA golf tournament in the country, took place at the picturesque Riviera Country Club and ended in a dramatic finish on Sunday. Crowd favorite Bubba Watson won by a single stroke and took home a rather whopping $1,224,000 for his efforts.

With a $6.1 million total purse and 60,000 patrons attending over the four days, records were shattered and the event was justifiably deemed a huge success. But perhaps not for a record number of Santa Monica residents. Why?

You see, Santa Monica’s lot #4 South was the staging area for 55 huge tour buses which left the lot starting at 4:30 a.m. Waking hordes of residents, every five minutes buses proceeded to roll through local neighborhoods.  Remaining or re-arriving buses often would idle in the lot with their noisy engines running. Even worse, frequently they would back up sounding those infernal beeping noises that could drive a sane person raving mad.

The Northern Trust Open, which began in 1926, is a highly glamorous event and is televised nationwide. It brings considerable revenue to Santa Monica in the way of parking fees, hotel stays, restaurant dining and shopping sprees.  But it begs the question at what cost to the residents’ quality of life. (Or a minimum, their sleep.)

The city gave strict instructions to the bus drivers leaving lot #4 to use Hollister Avenue, which is half-way between Ocean Park and Pico Boulevards. It’s a charming, quiet street with parking on both sides. Or at least it used to be quiet. It’s also so narrow that it’s potentially dangerous with normal traffic, not to mention when traveled by abnormally large buses.

Hollister is populated with condominiums, apartments and single family homes, some of which have children who could be playing outside. When one of these dinosaur buses rumbles along Hollister, if you were parking your car you’d be extremely careful not to open your door into traffic or it could get picked off.

At the east end of Hollister is a signal at Neilson Way.  The green light on Hollister is so short, however, that only one bus could get through at a time. The result was a line of buses stuck in traffic, emitting endless noise and foul fumes. (Other than all that, using Hollister was a great idea!)

In 2009, I first wrote about beach traffic being re-routed down Hollister, which has been going on since the early 1980’s.  In fact, former Police Chief Tim Jackman kindly agreed to inspect the situation. He agreed that the Bicknell Lot exiting traffic with a right turn only sign “made no sense.”  By the way, many cars exiting Bicknell, simply make a dangerous U-turn right through the crosswalk. This is front of the Ocean House with seniors on walkers and in wheelchairs. (No potential problem there, right?)

Justifying the re-routing, recently a study was issued by the city’s traffic engineer, which, to me, read like so much “bureaucratic speak.” When I contemplated writing about it again I was actually warned by a city official, who shall remain unnamed, that I “ought not open that can of worms.”

As for last week’s fiasco, the noise and pollution wasn’t confined to just Hollister. A reader of mine who lives on Ocean Avenue south of Pico, was awakened in the wee hours by the bus parade. Many were parked and idling for minutes on end while others backed up.  (With that dreadful accompanying noise.)

Much appreciated and to his credit, City Manager, Rick Cole, responded to my email promptly and noted with assurance that “It will not happen again.” Frankly, I’m hoping he will write an Op-Ed for the Daily Press on what I’m calling the “hell on Hollister” and maybe changing the exit at the Bicknell lot back to the way it was. In the meantime, adding insult to injury, Hollister is currently being used as a corridor for more shuttle traffic, this for the Spirit Awards. (Yikes!)

Given all of the above, I’m reminded of an infamous event the city permitted in 2014, the Vegan Oktoberfest. It was a terrific idea but was implemented incompetently. It was staged in the parking lot south of Ocean Park Boulevard but, instead of being placed near the beach it was constructed directly across from residents. For sixteen very long hours we were subjected to amplified music blaring and cleanup crews using power equipment. (I felt just like Manuel Noriega, though admittedly you may have to use Google to get that joke.)

Many weeks after the Oktoberfest fiasco, apologetic city officials addressed a packed room of angry residents at the Shores. They guaranteed it, too  “would never happen again.” Forgive me, but, for a change, I’d like to see these things not happen in the first place.

Jack is at, and