Band members of the TAIKOPROJECT playing the drums at the Twilight on the Pier concert, performing on the West End Stage. The Twilight concerts took place at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. Sept. 25, 2019

The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday approved a $2 million wayfinding system around the Expo Line and other entrances to the city, a reduced budget for the Santa Monica Pier’s summer concert series and drafted a one-year extension on an exemption to the city’s plastic ban.

New wayfinding system

The city plans to install street signs surrounding Santa Monica’s three Expo Line stations to connect residents and visitors to transportation corridors and attractions such as Main Street, Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade.

The city will also install electric signs at 20 locations near major entrances to the city and around downtown that will display real-time information about parking availability. The signs will also display custom messages during special events, planned closures and unexpected incidents.

The wayfinding system will cost $2 million, according to a city report on the item.

Twilight on the Pier

Costs for this year’s Twilight on the Pier concert series were well under budget, Pier executive director Negin Singh told the council Tuesday.

The Pier reimagined the concerts after the 2017 series drew as many as 30,000 people per event, creating dangerous overcrowding. Public safety costs for the event, including police, fire and cleanup services, totaled more than $1 million.

Pier officials made several changes to the series to reduce attendance, such as holding the concerts to earlier in the week and later in the summer. This year, the Pier spent about $216,000 on public safety, far below the $400,000 budget and an 80% reduction from 2017.

The total cost for the concert series, including production and public safety, was $770,295, Singh said. City funding subsidized $415,949, or 54%, comprised of the $200,000 grant plus $215,949 of public safety costs paid by the City. The Pier generated $362,800 in funding from corporate sponsors and beverage sales, covering 46% of production costs.

The Pier is asking the council to approve a $200,000 grant for the 2020 concert series and a budget allocation of up to $300,000 for public safety costs.

Biodegradable cups and cup lids

The council approved a one-year extension of an exemption to the city’s ban on single-use plastics for prepared food and drinks. The exemption, which was first put into place when the council passed the ordinance last year, allows restaurants and cafes to offer non-marine biodegradable cups and cup lids because such products are not yet available on the market.

City staff said new products are emerging because manufacturers recognize the demand for marine degradable cups that can withstand the temperatures of hot liquids, but businesses say putting hot liquids in some of the products currently in development would be unsafe.

In anticipation of market changes, staff is looking for alternative solutions to single use products, including establishing a fee for disposable cups and requiring customers to use reusable cups.

“In an effort to hasten the transition to reusable products, staff is developing rebates for businesses to purchase reusable food service wares to replace their disposables,” staff said in a report on the one-year extension.

Enforcement of the plastic ban began in July and the city has since received 12 complaints about lack of compliance. The city has asked four businesses to comply with the ordinance or receive a citation.

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1 Comment

  1. Message to visitors of Santa Monica:

    Don’t have too good of a time or we will take steps to reduce your visits.
    The pier merchants must love this, right?
    At no time did I ever feel in danger at the old concerts. Never. Violence from the wine and cheese crowd never even crossed my mind, but I did notice the police were sure afraid of them. Cops on horses, bikes, ATVs, SUVs, on foot- not joking. It was by far the highest police presence I’ve ever seen at any concert venue in Southern California. They sure figured out an easy way to make overtime, didn’t they?

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