Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Median Installation on Ocean Avenue


A raised, landscaped median will soon be installed along Ocean Avenue, extending from the intersection of the new Olympic Drive to Vicente Terrace. The median is a required safety enhancement of the Civic Center Village Residential Project Development, and is a key part of the implementation of the 2005 Civic Center Specific Plan to improve the walkability of the street and increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Once installed, this new median will mean permanent access changes along Ocean Avenue. Construction will begin on January 21, 2014, and will last approximately 3-4 weeks. During that time, expect lane closures in the area.

This safety enhancement was envisioned in the original Civic Center Specific Plan, adopted in 1993 and updated in 2005. Prompted by the purchase of 11.3 acres of former RAND property across from City Hall, the City of Santa Monica adopted the comprehensive update which describes the ”introduction of a landscaped median of approximately 10 feet in width, south of Olympic Drive, to reduce the scale of the street, and to allow for distinctive planting that reinforces the identity of the Civic Center.” Both prior to and after the original adoption in 1993, all phases of the plan have included numerous workshops and periods of public input.

On May 13, 2008, the Civic Center Village Residential Project Development Agreement was approved. The agreement included a requirement that the developer would construct the raised median. The city regularly installs raised medians in order to improve pedestrian safety, particularly along major streets and boulevards.

Upon completion of the median, left turns into and out of the streets and driveways along both sides of Ocean Avenue will no longer be possible. Access to the streets and driveways from northbound Ocean Avenue will be maintained via the new signal at Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive. This new signal will provide a protected U-turn in the northbound direction, so that northbound traffic may turn southbound on Ocean Avenue to access streets and driveways on the west side of Ocean Avenue. Southbound traffic will be able to make a left turn or U-turn at the southern end of the median at Vicente Terrace in order to travel northbound on Ocean Avenue and access streets and driveways on the east side of Ocean Avenue.

Pedestrians will have two safe locations to cross Ocean Avenue. The first crosswalk will be located at 1740 Ocean Avenue, in front of the Le Merigot Hotel and the second at Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive.

To learn more about this new safety enhancement for the Civic Center area and the accompanying access changes/construction impacts, please come to a public meeting on Monday, January 13, 2014 at the Civic Center, East Wing, located at 1855 Main Street, from 7-8 p.m. City staff will make a short presentation and answer questions on the project. For more information please visit


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