Santa Monica’s Main Street businesses are suffering greatly from COVID shutdowns and all agree something must be done—after all, the City is losing much needed revenue while restaurants risk going out of business altogether. Proponents settled on reconfiguring the pavement to establish a new open air piazza, but then they made a bad choice about how to get there.

Instead of closing the street to traffic and creating an eighty-four foot wide strip to configure into socially distanced seating, lounging and shopping areas, they chose to carve thirty-four feet out of the center for cement barriers, traffic and bike lanes. This choice didn’t leave enough room to build the features they wanted while leaving enough room to reduce community transmission for the deadly COVID-19 virus.

When the street re-opens, social distancing will be sacrificed for what Al Fresco’s proponents promise will be an invigorated business district. But the plan won’t work if they can’t make it safe because the customers won’t come.

You can easily see they can’t make it safe without screening off areas with ‘six foot high cleanable barriers’ deployed around the new dining areas. They’ll need difficult to enforce sidewalk markings to keep all parties at a safe six feet from each other because there’s no room to do it otherwise. None of the proponents have even offered a sketched solution because they know it will be an obvious failure once it is drawn and all can see it. There’s not a peep nor a peak form any involved about how barriers will complicate the plan to its failure point.

With $190,000 spent on road stripe painting, there’s no money left for anything else. I hope those in charge can somehow enforce virus safety in spite of their bad choice.

Tim Tunks,

Santa Monica