When Council meets on Tuesday, it will feature several weighty request from Councilmembers plus yet more work on the City’s housing element.
At the request of Councilmembers Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick and Oscar de la Torre, the City has been tasked with reporting back to Council in 60 days on a cost and timeline estimate for the implementation of a pilot program augmenting the city’s Vision Zero plan.
Statistics show that road vehicles are the leading cause of death for children aged 5-14 in Los Angeles County and as such Santa Monica has adopted a plan, known as Vision Zero, in an attempt to reduce severe automobile-induced injuries and fatalities.
The plan includes safety-enhancing signal improvements at select intersections, banning “right on red” at all pedestrian “scramble” diagonal crossings in Downtown Santa Monica, reprogramming traffic signals to operate on “pedestrian recall” (a timing function that causes a walk phase to activate automatically every cycle) and utilize a “leading pedestrian interval” (which gives pedestrians a few seconds head start when entering an intersection with a corresponding green signal in the same direction of travel) at 10 priority intersections together with more effective utilization of data on frequency of pedestrian use.
In addition — and once again at the request of Torosis, Zwick and de la Torre — the City has been asked to research and reach out to authorized street vendors regarding the proposed changes to sidewalk vending policies within the City. This information gathering will also include a minimum 20-day period of public comment prior to making any changes to Sidewalk Vending Administrative Regulations or placing proposed changes on the Council agenda.
City staff will also be asked to seek opinion regarding several items of importance, including vending cart compliance, enforcement practices, enhanced signage, expanded opportunities and zones for permissible vending, together with methods of allocating designated spaces to vend.
Another item set for lengthy discussion in Tuesday evening’s meeting will be the State Housing Element Law. Santa Monica adopted a housing element last year after a controversial process that allowed more than 4,000 housing units to enter the development pipeline virtually unopposed. In order to retain control over additional development, the City has to implement various policy changes by predetermined deadlines and by October 15 of this year, several programs pertaining to rezoning for housing must be complete.
Council will discuss a variety of proposed amendments implementing Housing Element programs and processing timelines, including application submittal completeness determination, code compliance review for both projects with 150 units or less and projects larger than 150 units and the timeline to receive final determination.
Finally, at the request of Mayor Gleam Davis, the City Council will deliberate on the subject of discussion items themselves, reinforcing the notion that “16 Items” are to provide policy direction only and that no resolutions or ordinances should be developed or drafted until a majority of Council gives direction to the City Manager and/or the City Attorney.